Monday, 17 November 2014

Pizza’s the food that sure to please….

these Ninjas are into pepperoni and cheese. Honestly, I can’t think of pizza without thinking of Ninja Turtles.

 But I do love me some pizza. I used to be an extra cheese kind of gal. I once wrote a poem about things I hate which included the lines:

Pizza without enough cheese.

When I can’t find my keys.

Anything that makes me sneeze.

But these days being a health conscious vegan I don’t want all that greasy hormone and pus filled concoction on my food. Even when I was extra cheesy kind of gal I used to blot my pizza furiously as it was soaked in grease. Blech.

What I want these days in pizza is *flavour* and *texture* and *taste*. Now I can have it all.

I was lucky enough to have been gifted with a £10 book token as a leaving pressie when we moved to Wales and I have hoarded it, waiting for the right thing to spend it on. Well, I found it. Vegan Pizza by Julie Hasson. Whoa Mama, this is the cookbook of my dreams.

It is mostly a whole food cookbook which makes it healthy but decedent. Some recipes have the option of using shredded soy cheese for extra cheesiness, but we don’t tend to buy soy cheese as it is expensive and highly processed. She also includes several cheese sauce recipes that can be used including a smoky white cheese sauce I cannot wait to try. Yes please.

She provides several recipes for “meat crumbles”--burger, pepperoni, sausage and taco but they use quinoa which is super healthy but super expensive and is no longer in our budget and  TVP which we won’t buy. TVP may be cheap, it may be low fat but it is highly processed, defatted soy flour which uses hexane in the processing and we are just not keen on that. BUT, I have had great success using finely diced mushrooms and spices to make sausages so I imagine her imaginative spice combinations will be perfect with mushrooms instead of TVP.

 On to the pizzas.

 There are so many imaginative combinations I did not to know where to begin. I decided to start with Muffuletta Pizza.

Oh my stars and garters, it was delicious. Have you ever had a muffuletta sandwich? Mmmmmm, all those flavours and textures. I used an old favourite recipe from Dreena Burton’s Cookbook Eat, Drink and Be Vegan that we used to love to make in ciabata bread back when my tummy could still tolerate wheat. Those were the days. I have missed the tangy filling and now have a way to eat it again. Why did I think it could only be made into a Panini?

My filling was a combination of chopped red pepper, oil packed roasted red and yellow pepper, sun dried tomatoes, finely diced carrots, mushrooms, olives and a dressing of red wine vinegar, crushed garlic and Dijon mustard and fennel seeds, oregano and marjoram.

I used my regular gluten free crust, but the cookbook has several crust recipes (including a gluten free one and a spelt one) to try.

 Here is the finished pizza.

This photo does not nearly do the pizza justice so here is a closer look.

I used the cookbook recipe for the garlic pizza sauce and it was so yum. A simple, but flavourful sauce. I topped it with a dusting of home made vegan parmesan cheese and it was scrummy.

Plus we had the bonus of having about a cup full of the muffuletta topping leftover which made a very nice lunch on Sunday mixed with cooked rice. Bonus!

I am planning to try a new pizza each weekend so stay tuned for recipes. Ones I have my eye on for the future include:

Ÿ  Spinach, onion, mushroom and pepperoni (using mushrooms instead of TVP) pizza

Ÿ  Mushroom broccoli and sun dried tomato pizza

Ÿ  Pineapple and jalapeno pizza with smoky sweet marinated mushrooms (instead of soy curls)

Ÿ  Smoky wild mushroom and potato pizza

Ÿ  Sweet potato and kale pizza

Ÿ  Tomato, cucumber pizza (you bake the crust then spread on dill and parsley vegan sour cream and top with cuke and toms)

Ÿ  Cheeseburger pizza with burger crumbles (using mushrooms instead of TVP)  and cashew cheddar cheese and topped with pickles

Ÿ  Peanut BBQ pizza (sauce made from mixing peanut butter and BBQ sauce topped with sweet corn, green pepper and onion)

Ÿ  Taco pizza

Plus did I mention there were recipes for dessert pizza????

Ÿ  Coconut caramel pizza

Ÿ  Chocolate hazelnut pizza

Ÿ  Raspberry crumble pizza

Yes please.

I think this cookbook will give me endless ideas and get pizza back into our lives on a regular basis. It would be a great cookbook for anyone who likes pizza, vegan or not.

Get cookin’.

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