Yes, it’s true–I have never been able to give up pizza. Back in the day, when I feared cheese for a whole other reason, I planned fastidiously my trips to Ann Arbor’s NYPD–the only place in Michigan to get a real slice of pizza. Fast forward several years… I no longer fear cheese, but I also no longer eat it. Having gone plant-based nearly two years ago, I now know that cheese (dairy in general) was my trigger for migraines. Admittedly, my first pizza sans cheese was done with some skepticism, but since I’ve thrown myself into the art of possibilities and made some amazingly delicious discoveries I would not with the restriction of cheese.
It’s no secret that I will use Daiya mozzarella style shreds on a pie from time to time–and they are good as a replacement when you NEED that gooey, cheesiness and are plant-based. But more often than not, I skip the Daiya on my pizzas and indulge in the breadth and depth of flavors from the crust, sauce and veggies that adorn my slice (bad pun, I admit).
Crust: It better be good or why bother. I like the simplicity and flavor of this one found at Savvy Vegetarian. I half the recipe and use all whole wheat flour (adding an extra 1/4-1/2 cup water to do so). It makes two pizzas for me when using a 12 inch cast iron pan, which fits my needs perfectly. Adjust as you need to depending on how thick you like a crust (mine is average) and how many peoples you might be feeding (I cut into 4 thick slices for 3-4 meals).
Sauce: My family will all tell you the key to any pizza is the sauce. While we may not always agree on spice, sweetness, amount, etc… we all agree on this point. I have struggled with sauces… I do like Newman’s Own marinara in a pinch. I’m also known to skip it and use thinly sliced tomatoes with generous sprinkles of basil, garlic, and salt–but it isn’t my preference. I recently made a sauce that I was quite pleased with, and it went something like this:
1 12 ounce jar of tomatoes
1 teaspoon each of garlic, onion, basil
1 tablespoon each of parsley and sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
Combine all in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a small sauce pan and allow to simmer on the stove for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until desired thickness. Refrigerate and use within a week. (Made enough for 2 pizzas for me.)
Toppings: Here you can get as creative or as simple as you want. I’ve been known to use left over baked potato, broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, peppers, onions, garlic, leeks, beans, kale (yes, kale!), spinach, carrot, olives, the list goes on. Of course, not all at once–that would be madness. I like to pick a few ingredients to compliment each other. Last week, I used potato, grilled mushrooms, zucchini, scallions, and some spicy vegan sausage made from a Happy Herbivorecookbook recipe I adore. I’ve also found order matters… for example, I use things like potatoes and squash closer to the crust and heartier veggies on top. Greens used on top, like kale and spinach, become very crispy and add a nice texture but be careful not to burn them.
This weeks choice pictured in the photos includes, grated yellow squash, broccoli, scallions, mushrooms, vegan sausage, and kale.