Today was pizza day at work, and my pizza was a hit! I’m so happy about this!
“Pizza day” is when a few co-workers and I bring frozen pizzas that we cook in a “Pizza Pizzaz” machine for lunch. We started this last year before I became a nutritarian, and since then I have spent a fair bit of time thinking about how to still participate in this event.
A few times I brought an Amy’s No Cheese Roasted Vegetable Pizza and it was very popular, but I got a bit bored bringing the same thing each week, plus it was kind of expensive for a very small pizza. One time I brought in a Daiya pizza, but it had a gluten free crust that I found unappealing. Plus vegan cheese, though better than dairy cheese, is still not really very nutritarian since it is a processed food.
Over the weekend I experimented with making my own vegan mozzarella out of cashews and tapioca starch, to somewhat mixed results. So when it came time for pizza day I decided I would just try to make the best possible no-cheese, all veggie pizza I could and see what happened. This is what I made:
I used a store-bought whole wheat crust (see below). I spread some jarred spaghetti sauce on it. Then I topped it with mushrooms, green peppers, artichoke hearts, olives and fresh basil leaves. I pre-cooked the mushrooms and green peppers, and browned the artichoke hearts just to try to remove the tinny taste (they were from a can). I sprinkled all of them with oregano when I was cooking them to add a little more Italian flavor. Since the crust is pre-baked it only takes a few minutes to cook, so you really do have to cook the toppings ahead of time.
Everyone loved it and said they did not even miss the cheese. I feel the olives were key – they added a bit of richness that seemed to be missing in a previous version with only veggies and sauce.
The crust I used was this:
This particular brand comes three to a package so it is a pretty good value. It is a very thin crust, but not so thin that it couldn’t stand up to my many toppings.
What I love about this is that I can vary the toppings from week to week — I’m not locked in to the limited selection of vegan pizzas carried by my local grocery store. I was thinking that in a future week I might try using pesto instead of tomato sauce, and then topping it with slices of fresh tomato along with other veggies. I was also thinking you could make a “white” pizza by using a bean puree. Or how about a taco pizza with re-fried beans and salsa as the sauce? Actually that would be a fun appetizer for a party ….. Lots of possibilities!