When it comes to pizza time at a party, a dinner out, a staff luncheon, what do all you vegans out there do? I usually abstain or, occasionally, suck it up and eat a slice or two. At home, I just don’t have pizza. I’m not crazy about vegan cheese, either store-bought or homemade. The taste is not terrific and it’s too much fuss and bother to make “cheeze”. Then I read Sam Turnbull’s cookbook, Fuss-Free Vegan. She has a recipe called Life-Changing Mozzarella that she uses for pizza cheese and I thought I’d give it a try. The first pizza I made using this cheese was so-so, so the next time I made the cheese, I made some adjustments to the ingredients (I kind of combined her Life-Changing Mozzarella and her Nacho Cheese Love) and came out with a winner!
The first pizza I made with this cheese was kind of traditional with a tomato sauce base, and I went for a Mediterranean style with basil, spinach, black olives. As I said above, it was okay. Then I decided to try again, adjusting the cheese recipe and omitting the tomato sauce base. This pizza was dee-licious!
Here’s how I made it:
(it takes about 90 minutes to make this pizza from start to finish using premade/store-bought pizza shells)
2 store-bought pizza shells of your choice (I used a store-made, thin-crust pizza shell from Save-On-Foods) – placed on pizza pans
1/2 cup cashews, soaked
1 cup water
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
3 tbsp tapioca starch*
2 tbsp sauerkraut (or 2 tbsp brine from a jar of green olives) – I used sauerkraut
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp paprika
3/4 to 1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Combine and blend all ingredients in a blender until very smooth. Pour into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring often, then constantly for 3-5 minutes until thickened and smooth. Heat and stir for another 3-5 minutes at a slightly lower heat to make sure the tapioca starch is cooked.
Pour and spread the cheese on the pizza shells – you will use the entire recipe on two pizza.
2 tomatoes, skin removed*, diced (I used some beautiful organic plum tomatoes I bought in Keremeos when I was passing through last week).
1/2 an onion, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 head cauliflower, separated into large florets then sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces or strips
1/2 fresh poblano pepper, cut into slightly smaller than bite-sized pieces
2 large cloves garlic, sliced
2/3 of a block of smoked tofu (I actually used smoked siracha tofu on this pizza), sliced and diced into bite-sized pieces
3 stalks of curly kale (or any kind of kale you prefer), washed and dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
coarse sea salt or Himalayan salt
Sprinkle the diced tomatoes onto the two pizza shells, evenly distributing them between the two shells.
Place the onion, cauliflower, bell pepper, poblano pepper and garlic into a large bowl. Pour in about a tbsp of oil. Toss the vegetables in the oil until evenly coated. Spread the vegetables out on a baking sheet and roast in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the kale. Put the torn kale into a bowl, drizzle on a bit of oil, and sprinkle on some salt. Massage the oil and salt into the kale until the kale is soft and just starting to release some of it’s juice.
Pull the roast veg out of the over and add the smoked tofu to the pan, evenly spaced. Put the pan back into the oven and roast for another 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the roast veg and tofu on the pizza shells, evenly distributing between the 2 shells and over each pizza.
Put the pizza pans in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until bottoms of shells begin to brown. Pull the pans out of the oven, sprinkle on the kale and put back in the oven for 5 minutes.
Let the pizzas rest and cool for 5 minutes, then slide out onto a cutting board and cut into slices.
*tapioca starch is readily available in a grocery store
*The best way to skin a tomato is to pour boiling water over it, let it sit for a couple of minutes, douse in cold water and peel. The skin usually slips right off.