Something I dreaded giving up when I became vegan was pizza. Little did I know, vegan pizza would be waaaay better than any other pizza I’d ever had.
Growing up, it seems like pizza made it’s way onto the dinner table at least once a week–sometimes mom didn’t feel like cooking so we’d call Pizza Hut or there were the inevitable Birthday Parties at Show Biz Pizza (now Chuck E. Cheese’s), you remember those parties right?
Although pizza originated in Naples, Italy, it has become a staple in many American’s diets. Or shall I say a Naples Staple. Heh Heh. Who doesn’t love toasted bread, slathered in tomato sauce and any toppings you want? I know I do.
I know what you’re thinking. How can a cheese-less pizza be any good? Trust me, I get it, but that was long before I discovered nut cheeses. Okay, I know what you’re thinking again, nuts and cheese? They don’t add up, right? Wrong. No, they won’t fool any cheese aficionado, but they’re excellent in their own right. They are usually made with a cashew base (although brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds all work too). Nut cheeses are tasty, tangy, and versatile, making them the perfect topping for pizza.
I made this pizza a few days ago when one of my major, all-consuming pizza cravings hit (I have them quite often). I rarely have the desire to make bread or pizza dough from scratch, so I contemplated buying pre-made pizza dough from a local grocery store, but the Ezekial tortillas I already had in the cupboard won the battle over my laziness (and poor college budget).
I started by roasting a couple handfuls of tomatoes and then ate a bunch right off the pan. Whoopsie.
Piled on some fresh veggies, snacking on them as I sliced.
Popped the pizza in the oven and almost ate it right off of the pan but managed to successfully snap a few photos first. Phew.
Veggie Pizza with Cashew Cheese
For the roasted tomatoes:
1/2 cup tomatoes, sliced (I used cherry)
1/4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
pepper to taste
For the cashew cheese (yield: 1/2-3/4 cup)
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least an hour
2 tbsp roasted tomatoes
1-2 cloves garlic ( I used 2 but I love garlic)
1/4 cup packed fresh basil or parsley
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp water (more if needed)
1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste
For the pIzza:
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
handful of spinach, or greens of choice
1/4-1/2 cup roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato sauce (optional)
Whole Wheat Tortilla, or feel free to use whatever you want!
1. Place 1/2 cup raw cashews in a bowl with water and soak for at least 1 hour. Rinse and drain. Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Chop tomatoes and place in a bowl and mix with vinegar, EVOO, and season with pepper. Spread out on prepared pan and roast for about 15 minutes or until turning brown and soft. Remove and reduce heat to 350F.
2. In a food processor add garlic clove(s), basil, roasted tomatoes and drained and rinsed cashews. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Now add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more lemon juice or oil if preferred.
3. Spread sauce on tortilla followed by a generous amount of roasted tomatoes and remaining veggies. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes at 350F or until crisp and golden brown (watch closely). Serve immediately. Store any leftover cheese sauce in an air-tight container in the fridge. It should keep for a week or longer.
Enjoy and happy Friday everyone! Hope you have some fun weekend plans. My plans? Homework! It’s been awhile since I’ve had to say that!