Cheesy Veggie Pizza (vegan)

RECIPE:
Vegan Cheesy Veggie Pizza

FROM:
Crust – www.mrkate.com
Pesto - www.ultimatedanielfast.com
“Melty Cheese” - www.food.com

This was my first attempt at making a vegan pizza. There’s plenty of room for improvement, but for my first shot – not bad. I used a variety of sources for the crust, pesto and “cheese” recipes (see sources above), then added my own veggies. If you have a proven recipe for healthy, whole wheat vegan pizza crust, sauce, pesto and/or “cheese,” please share with a comment below! I would love to give it a try.

First of all, if you’re not already familiar with www.mrkate.com, go check it out. Kate’s site is full of great style, recipes, diy and more. And it’s cuter than cute (luv the ‘stache).

These are the ingredients you’ll need for Kate’s “Vegan Yeast-less Pizza Dough Recipe”:
1½ cups flour (whole wheat or spelt)*
 ½ cup cornmeal (optional – use 2 cups of flour if not using cornmeal)
2 tsp. baking powder
rosemary or other herbs (optional)
¼ tsp. salt (optional)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup water 

*NOTES
I used whole wheat pastry flour instead. Maybe that’s where I went wrong? Not sure. I also sifted it first. I did opt to use the cornmeal. Next time, I’ll try it without. It kind of tasted a little to cornbread-ish to me.

First, preheat the oven to 350°. I like to heat up my baking stone, so I put it in the oven when I turn it on.

I sifted my flour first. In the photo above (on the right), you’ll see what you’re left with in the sifter (bran). I thought I didn’t want that in my recipe, but then I read this post and was enlightened. Turns out I should have added the bran back into the flour after sifting it. Sounds strange, but she claims it works.



Add remaining dry ingredients to flour and stir. For my herbs, I used a teaspoon of thyme and a teaspoon of tarragon. My ingredients photo shows sage too, but I left it out (when I opened the container, it looked/smelled funny, so I pitched it.)

Spray the inside of a separate bowl with non-stick spray. Pour in the dry ingredient mix, then add the oil and water. Stir and/or knead by hand until it becomes dough and forms a ball.

If using a pan, grease the pan and press your dough into your ideal pizza shape. (Kate’s note: thin crust works best when there is no yeast since it is more dense. It cooks faster, too.)

I used a stone (which was warming in the oven), so I rolled my dough out on my dough disc.



What is a dough disc, you ask?
Let me just say that it is THE handiest thing for rolling out any type of dough. It’s a large plastic disc with a removable, washable fabric cover. It makes rolling out your dough a cinch. Seriously. It works like a dream. No sticking, no mess. I tossed a little cornmeal on my disc before plopping down the dough. When finished, there wasn’t one piece of dough stuck to the disc. I brushed off the remaining cornmeal and put it right back in the cupboard. No need to wash each time you use it. You can get one here.

NOTE:  I think I rolled mine a little too thin. Next time I’ll go a little thicker so it can hold up to all the toppings I pile on.



I used a flexible plastic cutting mat dusted with cornmeal to lift the dough off the disc and transfer it to the baking stone, then rolled the edges.

Bake dough for 5 to 10 minutes (depending on the thickness and your oven).



While dough was baking, I made the Pesto and Vegan “Melty Cheese.” If you are short on time and/or you want to use store-bought pesto and vegan cheese, by all means go right ahead. You’ll save time and have less clean-up!

I discovered the pesto recipe while I was doing The Daniel Fast. This site was a big help in finding legit Daniel Fast recipes.

PESTO
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 cups packed fresh spinach or 2 cups frozen spinach (thawed & drained)
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
¼ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup pine nuts or walnuts
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp. salt

Place ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Makes ¾ cup.

VEGAN “MELTY CHEESE”
(Originally titled “Melty Nutritional Yeast Cheese” from “The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook.”) If you’re not familiar with nutritional yeast flakes, click here to read more. This recipe makes far more than you’ll need for one large pizza. But I think it should keep in the fridge for a few days. If you do a web search for “nutritional yeast cheese,” you’ll find all kinds of versions and uses.

½ cup nutritional yeast flakes
¼ cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp. flour (I used whole wheat)
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. garlic powder 
2 cups water
½ cup oil (I used a little less than ½ cup extra virgin olive oil)
1 tsp. mustard (I used dijon) 


Mix dry ingredients in small to medium sauce pan. Slowly whisk in water.

Cook over medium heat, whisking until it thickens and bubbles. (It felt like I was whisking forever, but just as I was about to give up, it quickly thickened and began to bubble. So hang in there.)

Cook for 30 seconds, then remove from heat. Whip in oil and mustard.

It will thicken as it cools, but will thin when heated or when water is added. Add as much as 1 cup of water at the end (or as needed) to make a thick, smooth sauce that pours easily. (I didn’t add any water at the end.)



My toppings:
pesto
tomato sauce
sliced tomatoes
sliced mushrooms
diced green pepper
I also added quartered artichoke hearts after I took the picture above.
“melty cheese” (add this during last few minutes of baking) 

Place pizza under the broiler at the end for just a couple of minutes so that everything gets toasty and golden.





If you want a vegan substitute for grated parmesan, place ¼ to ½ cup cashews in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Perfect for sprinkling on top of pizza, pasta, etc. It keeps well (covered) in the fridge for weeks.

My kitchen was a MESS after this project. There is a lot of time involved, but the payoff was worth it. Next time, I’ll test a thicker crust with no cornmeal and I’ll try out some other veggie options.

So, what’s your favorite healthy vegan pizza recipe?
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