Even though I wasn’t a big cheese-eater before going vegan, I did appreciate cheese integrated on specific foods, read: pizza and lasagna. These two just aren’t the same without it.
Frustrated thinking that I’m never going to enjoy pizza the same way again, I took the challenge to develop my own vegan take on pizza and today I proudly share the results. You can argue it’s never going to be as tasty without real cheese but this version comes pretty close and definitely satisfies my craving. It’s crunchy on the crust, juicy in the middle and 100% plant-based!
Tip: The cheesy touch on this recipe is provided by a creamy pesto that I’m using as a cheese replacement. I enhanced its flavor by adding some nutritional yeast (quite interesting ingredient right here). It is deactivated yeast in the form of flakes or powder; has a nutty, cheesy taste, reason why it’s used as a cheese replacement by vegans. What’s fascinating is that nutritional yeast provides a complete protein containing all 9 amino acids the body can’t produce which is tricky to find when you follow a plant-based diet.
Feel free to use the same pesto for other sandwich combinations, pasta or salad meals.
Source: Wiki – Nutritional Yeast
Thrilled to be joining the Meatless Monday recipe-sharing community once more with this idea.
Are you going meatless today? What’s cooking on your end?
Ingredients (enough for 2 pizzas):
For the pizza dough:
270g (Spelt) flour
70g semolina (flour)
1 teaspoon salt
7g yeast (one little package)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
200ml warm water
For the pesto:
5 garlic cloves
70g cashews (or walnuts or your favorite nut or combination)
2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves
1 handful fresh basil leaves
14 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper to taste
+ Your favorite pizza toppings: I’m using some red onion, tomatoes and mushrooms this time.
1. Let’s start by preparing the pizza dough. In a deep bowl combine the flour, semolina and salt. Separately, mix the yeast, maple syrup, olive oil and warm water. Make a whole in the middle of the flour mix and throw in the wet ingredients. Start mixing and eventually kneading with your hands until you get a smooth dough. Cover with a clean towel and let rest for 1 hour.
2. While the dough is resting, let’s work on the pesto.Easy as just putting everything in a food processor until you get a creamy texture. Make sure to taste a little bit to determine if you need to add more salt or pepper.
3. After the hour has passed, knead the dough some more and divide into two parts (you can either refrigerate it covered with some plastic wrap for later use or roll it immediately).
Roll the dough over a floured surface and transfer to a baking tray lined with wax paper (it’s easier to add toppings, etc. once the pizza dough is already on the baking tray).
Cover the dough with a thick layer of pesto and add your favorite toppings. Since I’m not using any tomato sauce for this pizza, I made sure to add some tomato slices as a replacement.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C and bake for 15 minutes.