Friday, February 17, 2012

Vegetarian Pizza

Friday night at our house is pizza night. It all started as a way to bribe my youngest to eat dinner, yes I am not above bribing my children. My youngest is by far my most picky child and was complaining a lot about eating dinner. You know, he kept saying I don't want this, I don't want that. So we struck a deal, if you eat your dinner through out the week without complaining, we can have pizza on Friday nights. It was a plus for me also because it gave me a much needed night off of cooking. At least when I wasn't on PINK, now I cook all the time but cooking for 1 on Friday night is much easier than cooking for 5.

Well, today I got a sweet email from Tricia asking me to please come up with a PINK friendly pizza and I thought since today is pizza day in our house there was no better day to figure out how to have pizza while on PINK. What I came up with isn't exactly like pizza mostly because of the cheese. I made a "cheese sauce" that tasted really good but not like cheese and the texture was nothing like cheese so to call it cheese sauce, really is a misnomer, it really isn't cheese like at all but it did taste good and would be excellent as a dip for raw vegetables. I am working on making a vegan feta cheese that should be ready tomorrow so I will let you know if that helps make it more like pizza. From what I have read, it is really hard to make a vegan cheese that melts like cheese. If you know how, let me know.

First the crust. I can't take credit for this recipe, I found it on another blog called The Spunky Coconut, isn't that a cute name? She posted a recipe for a grain free/dairy free tortilla. I thought that this might be a possibility so I decided to try it. The only thing I did differently is to use all baking soda instead of part soda and part powder because I was out of soda and I didn't bake between parchment paper, instead I used my Silpat baking mat and used my fingers to push form the dough into rounds, it is a little sticky. I also baked my crusts for 15 minutes at 375 degrees so they were a little crunchier like a pizza crust would be.

Almond Quinoa Chia Pizza Crust 
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. of chia seeds
1/4 cup quinoa flakes
1 cup almond flour
2tbsp. arrowroot powder
1 1/2 baking soda

1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup almond milk
3/4 cup water


Grind the quinoa flakes and chia seed into a powder using a small blender such as a spice grinder or a magic bullet etc.

To the quinoa and chia seed mixture, add the almond meal, arrowroot and baking soda. Stir to combine.

Add the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, almond milk and water to the dry mixture. Mix until fully combined.

Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and spread them on your non-stick baking mat into pizza rounds or whatever shape you want.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Let cool before you try to remove from the baking mat.

Vegan Cheese Sauce
1 medium red bell pepper
1/4 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp garlic
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp. arrowroot powder

Method (I got busy cooking and forgot to take most of the pictures along the way, so sorry)

Start by roasting your red bell pepper under a broiler for about 15 minutes, turning every few minutes until it is blackened on all sides.

When it has blackened take it out of the oven and put into a bowl and cover with a plate to cool. It will steam as it cools and the skin will easily peel off. Peel of the skin and take out the seeds from inside the pepper.

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Put the sauce mixture into a pan and cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until it has thickened.

Pizza Assembly

I used a bit of homemade marinara sauce that I had made previously and smeared it onto the crust.

I then topped with assorted vegetables. I felt that with the nuts and almond milk in the recipe that I had my protein covered but if you feel like adding chicken or Canadian bacon feel free.

Dribble the cheese sauce on top and bake for about 10 minutes at 375 so that the vegetables soften.

Cut and Enjoy!

Note: I wanted to let you know that some of the ingredients are kind of expensive, (ie: quinoa flakes and arrowroot powder) at least to me, I am cheap! I have a pretty stick $700 dollar a month grocery budget that feeds a family of 5, three meals a day and snacks, that is with the exception of pizza Friday. I rationalized the purchase of these two ingredient by telling myself that I could use them for lots of recipes. I just wanted to warn you.

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