Friday, August 1, 2008

Pizza, pizza!

Funny enough, I never really loved pizza when I wasn't vegan. But now that I am, I perceive that I miss it. So, I've been on a quest to find a great vegan pizza crust recipe and good replacement for shredded cheese. I am happy to report that this week I found immense success!

Yummy (and quick and easy) Pizza Crust:

1 1/4 cup flour (I mix half unbleached all-purpose and half whole wheat)
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon quick-rise yeast (which is about one of those little 90 cent packets you buy at the grocery)
1 teaspoon salt
2 T of oil (I use organic canola)
1-3 T of your favorite dried herbs (I use rosemary, basil, and a little crushed red pepper flake)

Preheat oven 425 degrees.

Mix the yeast with the lukewarm water in a medium sized bowl (all ingredients will eventually go into this single bowl - easy clean up!) until the yeast is dissolved. Let it stand for 3-5 minutes.

Add the salt and oil to the yeast and whisk until mixed.

Add the flour, and mix. Knead the dough a few times to thoroughly mix all ingredients. Form it in a nice little ball and set it on a floured surface.

Roll it out on said lightly floured flat surface with a floured rolling pin (really quite thin if you want the pizza to cook quick). Put it in the oven for 8 minutes.

Take it out, flip it over (I use a spatula so it doesn't rip) and spray a little olive oil on it.

Add toppings, and cook for 15 more minutes (may range from 10 to 20 depending on toppings, keep an eye so your cheese doesn't burn).

If you roll the crust out thin enough the pizza is big enough for two people.

Pizza Topping Idea 1: Italian faux-meaty goodness

1 c of seitan (I use homemade and crumble it, you can use Boca crumbles or some ground beef sub)
1 c rice shreds (amazing melted on pizza!)
2/3 c marinara of your choice (I used some organic spicy basil deal)
1 c sliced/diced veggies of your choice (I use sweet onion, mushroom, and green pepper)

If using homemade seitan start cooking that in a large nonstick skillet over medium high with a little oil coating it first for about 20 minutes (takes a long time to get seitan really cooked through and crunchy). If using store bough seitan you can put crumbles in pan in tandem with veggies in the next step.

Add sliced veggies and sauté over medium to med-low heat until desired softness occurs. Add marinara (and I added some dried oregano and 1 clove or pressed garlic at this point for fun) and heat through, stirring often.

Smear pan of goodness all over pizza crust. Cover with rice shreds. And cook at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Let stand 5 minutes before cutting or eating. It’s hard to resist, but worth the safety of the roof of your mouth!

Pizza Topping Idea 2: Yummy cheesey spread stuff and roasted veggies

1. Slice and roast (at 400 degrees) your favorite veggies lightly sprayed with olive oil (I usually do some combination of peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, and onion - lots of onion!) They will need to roast for probably 20-30 minutes depending on how mushy and soft you like 'em.

2. While your veggies are roasting, blend together 1/2 box Mori Nu Firm Silken Tufu, handful or two of fresh spinach, 5-10 sun dried tomatoes (chopped), 1/2 c favorite nut (I use raw cashews), 12-20 fresh basil leaves (depends on how much you love basil), 1-2 T of oil (if sundried tomatoes were packed in oil, lower the amount), 1/4 c of Nutritional Yeast, 2-4 cloves of garlic).
3. let veggies cool slightly and then chop them up and mix them up.
4. Spread your cheesey-mix from the blender over the par-cooked pizza crust, top with roasted veggie mix up, and dollop any left over cheesey-mix throughout.
5. Bake for another 15 minutes.

Let it cool a bit! The piles of cheesey-goodness will burn off the first three layers of the roof of your precious mouth if you are not very careful. Of course, perhaps you long for that throw-back to your middle of the night pizza parlor burn which case, dig right in!

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