E2 Week: BBQ Pizza

I will say that someone thinking they want to try the Engine 2 Diet should carefully examine if they like bell peppers. Because I’m pretty sure bell peppers figure into every single meal, in varying amounts. I’m not super fond of them myself, but on this pizza they were fantastic. I think the trick is to make those really fine slices, so the flavor isn’t so intense.

I learned two things from making this pizza: 1) mixing tomato paste with BBQ sauce makes the best pizza sauce EVER. EVER. I think I’m going to make all of my pizza sauces tomato paste based. 2) You can totally make pizza crust out of sweet potatoes. That’s right, sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Pizza Crust (enough for 1 large pizza):

  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 4 T applesauce
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 T unmilk

Mix all of the wet ingredient except the unmilk in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Then, add the salt, baking powder, flour and cornmeal, and stir until barely combined. Now, douse it with the unmilk, adding more if it seems too dry.

This is the trickier part–getting it spread out into dough. I’m still not sure my technique is awesome, but here’s what I did: I put a sheet of parchment paper over my pizza pan (you can use a cookie sheet, don’t worry), plopped the dough in the middle, then placed another sheet of parchment paper over that. Then, using my hands, I spread the dough around until it was flat and reached the edges of my pan. However, this did result in some areas being not as thick as others. I think in the future I’ll strategically place the dough so that I can get a more uniform crust. Also, if you can, flip it over. The bottom parchment was very wrinkly, where the top was smooth. So–smooth out both sides.

Then, parbake the crust in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. It shouldn’t be all the way cooked, but should peel easily off of the parchment when finished.Here was my mistake number 2: I think I should have greased the pan, and peeled off both sheets of parchment before putting the toppings on. I left the bottom sheet of parchment paper on, and the crust came out slightly damp, and not as firm on the bottom as I would have liked. Either that, or I could have placed the crust on the bottom of the oven (in the pan, of course) like Vegan with a Vengeance recommends. So, that part is up to you.

The best part is that you end up with a very healthy crust with no added oil, but with some delicious fat from the flax seeds. And it tasted perfect with the BBQ sauce topping. I might use something like actual potato if I didn’t want a sweet crust for my pizza, or even a rutabaga. I’ll let you know about those experiments as they progress!

Baked Beans & Pineapple Greens

Ever feel like eating greens, but don’t want black-eyed peas? That’s me. Do you crave BBQ? Yeah, me too. I LOVE BAKED BEANS. Let’s just get that way out into the front. I used anasazi beans to make these, and I just cheated by cooking them with packaged BBQ sauce and onion flakes. Hey, I’m busy sometimes. And it tasted great.

The pineapple greens are from Appetite for Reduction. I’m on the fence about them–they smelled like magical deliciousness. But they tasted a little on the bitter side–but it might be because I used the “mixed greens” bag from Trader Joe’s, not just collards. I’ll try it again, but yikes! The bitterness!

On the other side of the plate you see the awesome and easy Happy Herbivore cornbread. That is my go-to cornbread, I don’t think I’ll ever, ever make anything else. It’s magical.

 

Don’t Keep This…Under Wraps…

 

When I bust out the puns, you know I’ve been reading a lot of Cake Wrecks.

This BBQ wrap is so much win. I don’t actually know what that phrase means, and I don’t actually like the term “wrap” for what is obviously a burrito, but I digress. The BBQ Chop Wrap from Happy Herbivore will change your life. I could eat this thing practically every day and not get bored with it. For one, BBQ sauce, ya’ll. But without all the UGH heaviness that usually comes from eating BBQ’ed food. You know? It’s all light and airy and full of beans and magic.

MAKE THIS FOOD.

 

What Would Memorial Day Weekend Be Without BBQ?

So before I became a vegan, but after I stopped being vegetarian, I fell in love with a Southern-style BBQ sandwich known as the “Pig n’ Slaw.” But since I will no longer be enjoying pig with my slaw, I needed a veganized version of that sandwich. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the Seitan Burnt-Ends Slaw Sandwich. It is real, and it is UNBELIEVABLE.

Seitan Burnt-Ends Slaw Sandwich (serves 8):

That’s it! Now, heat up your cast iron skillet with some cooking spray over medium-high heat. Take your seitan and cut it into bite-sized strips. Place the seitan in the skillet. If your pan is on the smallish side, you may need to cook the seitan in two batches. If the seitan is sticking really bad, spray it again, or deglaze the pan with veggie broth or tomato juice. When the seitan is nicely browned, turn off the heat and pour as much sauce as you like into the pan. I like my BBQ really saucy, but if you just like a thin, non-messy coating, go right ahead. Now just pile on the coleslaw to make a delicious sandwich!

This was so incredibly easy for something that turned out amazing. I’ve had really good luck with this seitan cooking technique, it takes away some of the rubberiness of the wheat meat. I could eat this every day, but I shouldn’t–I really shouldn’t.

I made a berry cobbler for dessert, but it didn’t turn out like I would have liked–a little doughy and not as sweet as it should be. I’ll work on it some more and pass the recipe along then. But for now, I leave you with a sweet photo!

Epic Polenta Stuffing Fail

Let me start by saying that today has not been the best day. Nothing horrible happened, mind you, it was just one of those cotton-in-my-head days where nothing gets done but naps and cooking. I suppose that sounds awesome, but for me it means a missed opportunity to clean the house, or do something fun (other than cooking, which I do love), or get some well needed vitamin D. Also, this may be my shameful secret, but I absolutely hate to nap. I hate it. When I wake up from any length of nap, I feel groggy and weird and I don’t feel right the entire rest of the day. This may be why I had such a hard time with a newborn, I felt like this for two months solid.

Anywho, I was looking forward to one of my favorite Appetite for Reduction dinners, Tamarind BBQ Tempeh and Polenta Stuffing. Last time I made the stuffing, it was perfect–little crispy browned squares, succulent sautéed veggies, the exact right amount of spices. It made me want to cry in its deliciousness. Cut to tonight–mushy, mushy polenta, undercooked veggies, bland as all get out. Boo! I think the problem was that I made my own polenta, and I made too much of it. And I didn’t cook it until it was SUPER FIRM. Next time, I am just buying that stupid $1 tube at the store and having a delicious dinner. So there!

The BBQ tempeh was still good, though I need to remember to cut the squares smaller, so I get less bitter flavor. Or I should just steam them first, but I am lazy. I so look forward to my Sunday dinners, and this was just…sad. Boo.