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!

Southwest Pizza

After long debates with myself about calling this “Mexi-corn Pizza” I decided that was a) too racist, and b) too…corny to be posted on the blog. So, Southwest Pizza it is! Which is really more honest, anyway, since this doesn’t exactly resemble Mexican food in any fundamental way. Except for the cilantro and corn. And avocado.

This was one of those meals where I thought, “vegans get to eat this? And it’s healthy?” but it totally is. It’s weird when something feels sinfully good, but is also incredibly good for you. I suppose that’s what veganism is all about.

Southwest Pizza (makes 1 large pizza):

  • 1/2 recipe of pizza dough from Vegan with a Vengeance, or any kind of premade or other recipe dough you like.
  • 1 jar salsa (use as much as you like. I’d recommend getting something that seems saucy, as opposed to fresh salsa. I like Trader Joe’s.)
  • 1 small summer squash, sliced VERY thin
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 of a small onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 package of Trader Joe’s fake ground beef (it’s awesome) or any brand you like. You need about 1/2 cup of total fake meat.
  • 1/3 cup daiya pepperjack flavor (you can omit this, but it is delicious!)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • cilantro for garnish. And flavor!
  • hot sauce (I recommend Tapatio for this)

Now, roll out your dough. Have I given instructions about how to make pizza before? Yes! The real difference between this pizza and the link is that you order the toppings different: salsa, onions, garlic, squash, corn, then beef. Bake until the squash is done, being careful not to overcook the crust (so if you need to turn down the temp a little, that’s fine). Add the daiya, and cook for 3 to 5 more minutes, until it’s nice and melted. Let the pizza cool and add the cilantro, avocado, and hot sauce.

Other toppings that would taste great: black olives, green onions (sprinkled on with the cilantro), green peppers, and diced green chilies.

My husband gave this pizza a rating of: “It made both my stomach and mouth happy.” Good enough for me!

 

Alfredo Pesto Pizza

There isn’t nearly enough vegan food out there with artichoke hearts. I adore artichokes…who doesn’t? My husband wanted pizza this week, so I came up with this Alfredo Pesto PIzza using a bit of left over ingredients we had from other meals this week.

Alfredo Pesto Pizza (makes 1 large pizza):

  • One half recipe for pizza dough from Vegan with a Vengeance (or any kind you like–or premade–whatever works!)
  • One half recipe of alfredo sauce from the Happy Herbivore
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup garlic cloves (I’m not joking)
  • 1 small sweet onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 (15 oz?) can of artichoke hearts (in water–not the marinated in oil kind)
  • 1/2 cup white/navy beans
  • 2 T daiya mozzarella or cheddar (optional)

First, make your pizza dough. If you bought the premade kind–lucky you!

Second, make the alfredo sauce, adding the basil leaves when you puree everything. Don’t bother to cook the sauce at all after this step, just pop it in the fridge to wait.

Now, take all those garlic cloves and your onion and bake in a 350 degree oven until they are nice and soft. You’ll want to spray them with cooking spray, and use the veggie broth to deglaze your pan. When they are roasted, let them cool and then roughly chop up the garlic. At this point you can also cut the artichoke hearts into quarters, so they’re more manageable for the pizza.

Assuming you rolled out the pizza dough and have it on your pan/stone, you can now assemble! Obviously put on the sauce first, then do the beans, then the artichoke hearts, then garlic, and top with the onions. That seemed to be the easiest way to get everything on evenly. Don’t put on the daiya yet!

Heat the oven to 500 degrees (crazy, right?) and put your pizza in there. Check for doneness at 15 minutes, it will probably need another 3 minutes after that. If you’re putting the fake cheese on, do it in those last three minutes. That will give it plenty of time to melt, but no time to get weird.

You can also top this (after it comes out of the oven) with some chopped roasted cashews. I love cashews and basil together–they are magical!

 

Thanks, Papa Murphy’s!

The last 24 hours of my life have made me feel like a miserable failure. First, we attempted to watch the horrific “comedy” Dinner for Schmucks, which, thank God, we were sensible enough to turn off about half an hour in. This morning, we went to Home Depot to get supplies to fix our broken stroller, and replace our kitchen faucet, which has been slowly decomposing for about a month.

After getting home, I realize that I’ve bought the wrong size nuts to fix the stroller, and our old faucet will not come off. When we decide to give up and hook everything back up, it has no water pressure. It is punishing us. And now we have to have a plumber come out tomorrow and fix it.

What I’m saying is, no cooking today. And thank you, Papa Murphy’s, for being one of the few places in town that doesn’t think I’m crazy for ordering a cheeseless pizza. And for being excited about us ordering vegan.

Sweet Potato Pizza

Did you know you can use sweet potatoes as sauce? You can, and you should.

I accidentally invented this, because I was too lazy to make pizza sauce. I ran out of the big batch I had in the freezer, and just wanted something simple for dinner. I’d already planned to put sliced sweet potato on the pizza, and then a genius idea came into my head: just use it as the sauce!

I layered on the teese (good grief, that stuff is amazing), caramelized onions, garlic, fake bacon (facon), and sprinkled on a little parsley for color. Dinner is served.

Here are the steps you’ll need to make it–

Sweet Potato Pizza Sauce:

  • 1 sweet potato (of average size–about as big as two fists)
  • 1 tsp earth balance (or something buttery tasting)
  • 1/4 cup unmilk
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • dash of rubbed sage, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg

Wrap your sweet potato in foil and bake in an oven (or toaster oven) for an hour at 425 degrees. When it’s done the potato should be very soft and the peel should come right off. Mash the potato with the spices, nutritional yeast, and earth balance. Gradually add the unmilk until you have it at a saucy consistency (thinner than mashed potatoes, but not runny like a liquid). If you accidentally add too much unmilk, add a little more nutritional yeast until you get it to where you want it to be.

Now, make your caramelized onions. You can follow the link above, or you can make them this even easier way:

  • 2 regular vidalia onions, sliced into half-moons
  • 4 cloves of garlic

Put all of the onion and garlic in your cast iron (or other, boo) skillet and heat at low. Put in a few tablespoons of water, and cover closely with foil. Now, periodically check on them for 15 minutes, adding water as needed so they don’t burn. At 15 mins, spray with a little cooking spray, and continue to cook until the onions brown, once again adding water as needed. They are slightly less flavorful when you cook them this way, but since there are lots of other ingredients going on the pizza, they don’t necessarily need to stand out as much. Anyway, take your pick of recipes.

Assemble the pizza:

  • 1/2 recipe of pizza dough from Vegan with a Vengeance
  • Your sweet potato sauce
  • 1/3 cup of mozzarella-style teese
  • 2 T of bacon bits from the Happy Herbivore
  • 2 T fresh parsley, minced
  • Caramelized onions and garlic

Stretch your pizza dough as much as you can, in the best circle you can get it. Put the dough on your pizza pan, making sure to apply cooking spray and cornmeal to the pan. Spread your sweet potato sauce in a smooth even layer–it shouldn’t be super thick or super thin. Next, add on the teese, then the onions and garlic. Place in a pre-heated 500 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove the pizza and place on the very bottom of the oven for 2-3 minutes, until the bottom crust gets a little crispy. Now, remove the pizza from the oven and sprinkle on the bacon bits. Return to the oven and let them crisp, keeping a close eye that they don’t burn. When the pizza is finished, take it out of the oven and sprinkle with your minced parsley.

I put salt and pepper on my slices before I ate them, which was really terrific. My husband put hot sauce on his (of course) and he loved that, too. God bless teese, I think I may love it more than daiya. I feel weird saying that.

*Update!* You should totally put a little BBQ sauce on this. You can thank me later.

Pizza! Pizza!

Here is the pizza that an incorrect recipe built. But it was so great! My husband, in general, wants to eat pizza every night, usually from Papa Murphy’s. Vegan tip: You can totally eat Papa Murphy’s normal pizza, just ask for no cheese. That s*** is vegan! However, I would rather make pizza at home, because I am crazy, and possibly because I am a control freak.

Anyway, you know something great is going on in your house when it actually smells like a pizzeria. And Vegan with a Vengeance taught me how to make the perfect pizza sauce, where before I was just slapping pasta sauce on a pizza and wondering why it tasted wrong. Pizza sauce must be simple to be good. Also, garlic. Lots and lots of garlic helps everything come together.

But this here is just your normal veggie pizza: olives, onions, white beans, garlic, mushrooms & daiya mozzarella cheese. I love daiya! They are by far my favorite fake cheese, though, to be fair, I haven’t tried a whole lot of fake cheese, because it’s so…fake. And because lots of it seems to still contain some trace milk ingredients. Hello? What is the point in that? Let’s rise up against veggie slices! Are you with me?

Anyway, long story short (er–sort of), make pizza at home!