Deep dish pizza

When I make pizza, I tend to be that person that puts a ridiculous amount of sauce, cheese, vegetables, etc, on top, and then suddenly my pizza is way too loaded with everything.

Not that I mind horribly.

But, I thought it’d be fun to make a deep dish pizza for once, where I can literally fill the crust with all my favorite toppings & have no limit!

It was a good life choice. Mmm. Still happy about this one.

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Deep dish pizza
Homemade pizza crust
2 small cans tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp minced onion
1/2 tsp black pepper
Other toppings – black olives, mushrooms, spinach
Mozzarella cheese (optional)

  1. Make pizza crust & set aside to rise.
  2. Saute vegetables with a little olive oil and italian seasoning.
  3. Mix together all remaining ingredients except cheese.
  4. Press pizza crust into 13×9 inch pan. Bake crust for 5 minutes at 450 F.
  5. Pour tomato/topping mixture into crust. Sprinkle cheese on top if desired. Bake another 15-25 minutes.
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New & improved potato pizza

So, awhile ago I made a vegan version of my favorite Toppers pizza.

It was pretty yummy, but I’ve learned a lot since then! Introducing, the new & improved potato pizza. =)

This recipe is certainly not quick & easy, but I promise you the delicious end result is totally worth it! Stick with me, and you will understand what I mean. Mmmm.

Feel free to buy vegan cheese or pizza crust to speed this up, as making everything by hand does take a bit of time. You could also make some of these things ahead of time! Whatever works best for you.

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Potato topping
2 medium potatoes, cooked in the microwave
Olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp Italian seasoning
3/4 tsp dried minced onion
Salt & pepper to taste

2 green onions, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 500 F.
  2. Cut cooked potatoes into small cubes.
  3. Combine potatoes with olive oil and seasonings.
  4. On a prepared pizza crust, layer coconut milk cheese, followed by this potato topping. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melty and crust is a golden brown. Top with chopped green onions and eggplant bacon. Serve with vegan sour cream.

Eggplant “bacon” (adapted from Post Punk Kitchen)
1 medium eggplant
2 tbsp honey or agave or maple syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
2 tsp smoked paprika (or just regular paprika will suffice)
pinch black pepper

  1. Prepare eggplant for baking by salting it to remove moisture & increase crispiness — cut it into slices, put slices in colander over sink and salt generously. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Mix sauce ingredients and pour in a small pan.
  3. Rinse eggplant with cold water and press with towels to get out any extra moisture.
  4. Layer eggplant in pan filled with sauce and let sit for several minutes to absorb flavor.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  6. Spray cookie sheet with lots of olive oil. Layer marinated eggplant slices on sheet.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes, flipping over halfway through. You want them to be super crispy. It’s okay if a few spots get burnt, they will still taste quite good!

Vegan sour cream (adapted from food.com)
1 package of silken tofu
3 tbsp olive oil
3-5 tsp lemon juice
1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Pinch of sugar or honey (optional)

  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth. Start with the minimum amounts of lemon juice & ACV, then add more slowly if desired.

Cauliflower pizza crust + vegan cheese

Lately I have been determined to make the most delicious yet most healthy pizza. While I’m not 100% satisfied with my efforts so far, I think I am very close to perfection! Whatever that means. =)

One aspect of the pizza I’ve been playing with is the crust. If you’re in the food blogosphere, I’m sure you’ve heard how pumped everyone is about cauliflower crust. And you know me, I’m in love with cauliflower, so of course I had to give this a try!

I discovered there are two main types of cauliflower crust – those that have eggs & cheese and those that use nuts (aka vegan crusts). While nuts are wonderful for you, and I have no problem with them, they are ridiculously expensive. And given that I’ve been trying to cut back on my expenses lately, I don’t really like to buy nuts very often.

But I needed some sort of flour-like substance to add to my crust. I thought for awhile, and finally decided to cheat… I used flour. I know, the whole point of a cauliflower crust for many people is to have a gluten free option. But, for me, I was simply trying to make a healthier crust, and less flour is better than all flour!

Regardless, after doing some contemplating, I’ve decided I want to try this crust again, but with a few changes. Let me know if you try them out before I do!

  • Replace flour with oat flour. This one hit me after making the crust. Duh! Oat flour is the cheapest thing and way better for you than white or wheat flour. All you do is grind up some oats until they form a powder. They can be used 1:1 for other flours, though in baking, you have to be more careful about density and liquid absorption. UPDATE: This works great!
  • Double the amount of cauliflower and lessen the amount of flour. The original recipe seemed to include mostly flour once I had cooked down the cauliflower. Next time I want to maximize the amount of cauliflower in the crust. I tried this & it didn’t turn out that great. Better to stick with the original proportions. =)

Now, on to vegan cheese. This is something I’ve also been experimenting with in various forms. I’m not going to tell you about my last few experiments (they were pretty scary) but this time I think I mostly figured it out!

There’s a wonderful recipe floating around the web for coconut milk cheese, and that is what I tried this time. I had some issues with the cheese turning out a little lumpy, but otherwise the flavor was great. I’m guessing this was a problem of either- not boiling the milk long enough in the beginning or not mixing in the cornstarch completely. Regardless, I think it is easily corrected and I amended the instructions to help avoid this problem for others. =)

Here are some ideas I’m thinking of experimenting with in my next batch of vegan cheese:

  • Use blended cauliflower instead of coconut milk. I found this recipe which used cauliflower in cheese-making with success, so I’m thinking that would be a fun alternative! This was another idea that didn’t turn out that well. Coconut milk makes much better cheese!
  • Use miso instead of adding salt. As I mentioned in this post, miso is a great way to add salty flavor in a more natural, healthful way. I’m curious how it would taste in this recipe! UPDATE: Miso tastes great in cheese! It’s also yummy in homemade pizza sauce!

Alright, well, that was an incredibly long blog post! Let’s get on to the food, shall we? 😉

Yup, I made fruit pizza again. =)

Yup, I made fruit pizza again. =)

Cauliflower pizza crust (adapted from The Detoxinista)
1 bag frozen cauliflower (1 lb), thawed
3 eggs (flax or egg replacer)
1/2 – 1 cup wheat flour (or try oat flour– see comments above)
3/4 tsp onion powder
1 tsp italian seasoning

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Pulse the thawed cauliflower in a food processor until a rice like texture. (If you forgot to plan ahead, you can steam the cauliflower first, drain off as much liquid as possible, and then add to food processor)
  3. Transfer cauliflower to a dish towel. Wrap up the cauliflower tight and squeeze to let all the moisture drain out.
  4. Dump the drained cauliflower in a large bowl and add eggs and spices. Slowly add flour, stirring all the while, until consistency is pizza dough like.
  5. Spray a pizza pan with olive oil (preferably one with holes in the bottom).
  6. Spread the dough out on the pan as thin as you want. Make sure there are no holes in the crust.
  7. Bake the crust at 400F for 30-45 minutes, until it turns a light golden brown.
  8. Add some homemade pizza sauce and toppings of choice. Bake another 5-10 minutes.

**Note: You want to be able to handle the dough without it sticking to everything. Keep adding flour until that is true. If you add too much, it will start to become powdery. If this is the case, add another vegan egg.

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Vegan coconut milk cheese (adapted from Sweet Roots)
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp agar agar powder (you can find this in your local Asian food store)
1/2 tsp vinegar of choice (white, balsamic, etc.) OR lemon juice
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional, but adds a nice cheesiness)

  1. Boil coconut milk until no longer separated (really make sure this is the case before adding other ingredients!). Then add vinegar, agar flakes, and salt. Bring to a fast boil for just a moment.
  2. Mix cornstarch with a small amount of water to create a paste.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, including cornstarch paste, one at a time while whisking. Cook another 5-10 minutes.
  4. Remove from pan and put in a greased glass dish or parchment paper lined pan.
  5. Put in fridge & let cool for at least two hours.

Spinach walnut pesto pizza

Remember awhile back when I posted a recipe for my perfect pizza crust? I lied. I found a new recipe that I very much prefer. My favorite type of crust is thin crust, but I haven’t been able to find a great recipe. They all turn out medium in size, which is okay, but not exactly what I’ve been craving.

Enter, a recipe for pizza crust without yeast! Of course! Yeast makes the dough rise higher, so if you don’t add yeast, the dough will be much thinner! I’m sure there are serious pizza crust makers out there who are very upset with me for suggesting that you don’t need yeast, but I think this pizza crust was way more delicious than my usual. Feel free to experiment yourself depending on whether you like thinner or thicker crusts.

In terms of the spinach walnut pesto, I created it for several reasons – I’m not a huge fan of basil, I am trying to be a bit more vegan and leave out the parmesan, and pine nuts are far too expensive for my tastes.

This line of thinking is what led me to spinach walnut pesto! It turned out delicious and pretty beautiful too.

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Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Spinach walnut pesto (adapted from SparkRecipes)
4 cups spinach
3/4 cup walnuts
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

  1. Add all ingredients to food processor and blend until smooth.

Perfect thin pizza crust (adapted from Vegan Sandra)
2 cups flour of choice (I used half whole wheat & half white)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cold water

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. Mix all ingredients except water in a large bowl. Slowly add the water until dough is just slightly sticky.
  3. Flour countertop, hands, and dough and knead for a few minutes to make sure all ingredients are mixed well.
  4. Spread out dough and top as desired (e.g. with pesto and sauteed veggies).
  5. Cook in oven for 8-12 minutes.

Pineapple & banana pizza

So, I haven’t posted in awhile. This is primarily because I’ve been having a few boring recipes or massive failures. But hey, it’s all a learning experience right?

(I also got McDonalds one day. Whoops.)

Anyway, so today is a really simple recipe that I made because I wanted something that couldn’t fail and was quick. I was very hungry after class today. =)

I did cheat and buy a pizza crust because I didn’t want to wait for dough to rise. Which is expensive, so not my favorite thing to do. But that’s what happens when you go shopping hungry!

Anyway, if you want a recipe for delicious pizza dough, check out this other pizza I made. Homemade is always healthier and often more delicious. (I was a little bummed by how much sodium was in the dough I bought, actually.)

The main thing I wanted to share with you is my recipe for delicious tomato sauce!

Did you know that fancy restaurants don’t have pasta sauce AND pizza sauce? They just have a basic tomato base that they add ingredients to. They only main difference between these two sauces is the thickness and the seasonings. Typically pasta sauce has more seasonings because it stands alone, and pizza sauce is thicker to stay on the pizza. But, you can do whatever you want.

If you’ve ever looked at the sodium content of pizza sauce or pasta sauce, it’s kinda scary! So much salt isn’t necessary for deliciousness. If you don’t want to take fresh tomatoes and simmer for hours however, there’s a super easy way to make tomato sauce.

Just buy tomato paste! Depending on what kind of pizza sauce or pasta sauce you buy, it may have 10-20 times the amount of sodium of tomato paste!!! That’s crazy town banana pants.

All you have to do to make delicious sauce is mix tomato paste with a splash of olive oil, lots of delicious seasonings, and a bit of water until it thins out to your desired thickness. I’ve included a recipe below but I really just add things, taste, repeat. =)

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Okay, so this recipe for pizza may sound weird, but you have to trust me that fruit on pizza tastes so good. I had this pizza multiple times at this little city in France I lived in last semester, and it was soooo good. I just had to duplicate it at home, and eat the whole thing. =)

Simple pizza sauce (adapted from allrecipes.com)
1 6oz can tomato paste
2/3 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning

  1. Mix all ingredients except water.
  2. Add water slowly, a little at a time. Stop once you reach desired consistency. Add more water or extra oil if you like a thinner sauce.

Pineapple & banana pizza
Fresh mozzarella
1 banana, sliced
1 can pineapple
Homemade tomato sauce
Homemade pizza crust

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Saute pineapple for a minute or two, just to get some of the moisture out.
  3. Top pizza crust with sauce, fruit, and cheese.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes.

Butternut squash & apple pizza

I have an addiction to pizza.

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There’s just so many ways to make pizza, so many toppings, so many combinations. It’s such an easy & delicious meal that I just can’t help myself. Not that I’m trying to stop it anyway. =)

And this pizza is the epitome of autumn. It’s so pretty colored with the squash and the apples. Butternut squash is probably one of my favorite things, and blue cheese is up there too, so clearly this pizza & me were made to be together.

As a side note, I always use the same basic pizza crust recipe because it’s wonderful & awesome. But, I think it’s quite fun to adapt the spices I add to the dough based on the recipe. Today I took out the other spices & just added rosemary to complement the squash. I think it turned out nicely!

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Perfect pizza crust recipe (adapted from the book ‘Pizza’ by Carla Bardi)
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2 cup bread flour
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp rosemary

  1. Thoroughly mix active dry yeast with 1/2 cup warm water until yeast has dissolved. Set aside until frothy, about 10 minutes (or just as you prepare the other ingredients, if you’re impatient like me).
  2. Combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl. When yeast/water mixture is ready, add that too.
  3. Proceed to add more warm water as necessary to make a slightly sticky dough.
  4. Dust counter with flour. Get flour all over your hands too.
  5. Take the dough out and knead it for awhile (8 minutes ish).
  6. When you’re done, pour some olive oil in the bowl and put it back in there. Cover it with a towel and say good night. Let it hang out for as long as possible (an hour would be great, but 20 minutes will do).

Butternut squash & apple pizza (adapted from Savvy Eats)
2 apples, cubed
1 small butternut squash, peeled & cubed
4 ounces goat cheese
4 ounces gorgonzola cheese
Olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. In a large pot, toss the apples and butternut squash with 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Cover and heat over low for 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring often, for about 15-20 minutes. Apples & squash should be slightly browned by this time. Remove from the stockpot.
  3. Spread out the dough in a pizza pan, then brush lightly with olive oil.
  4. Distribute the squash & apples evenly over the crust. Crumble the gorgonzola & goat cheese over the pizza.
  5. Bake at 450F for 12-15 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted and the edges of the crust are firm.

Potato pizza

My dear friends,

Words cannot describe how delicious this pizza is.

For those who know me well, I am addicted to potato pizza from Toppers. It is so, so good. But the greasiness pouring off of it also leads me to a small feeling of regret. Just a small one.

Regardless, after a week of experimenting with fun recipes and failing miserably, I decided to return to something I knew I would love. But with a healthy, less guilty twist!

Enter, the homemade potato pizza.

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*drool*

Perfect pizza crust recipe (adapted from the book ‘Pizza’ by Carla Bardi)
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2 cup bread flour
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp onion powder

  1. Thoroughly mix active dry yeast with 1/2 cup warm water until yeast has dissolved. Set aside until frothy, about 10 minutes (or just as you prepare the other ingredients, if you’re impatient like me).
  2. Combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl. When yeast/water mixture is ready, add that too.
  3. Proceed to add more warm water as necessary to make a slightly sticky dough.
  4. Dust counter with flour. Get flour all over your hands too.
  5. Take the dough out and knead it for awhile (8 minutes ish).
  6. When you’re done, pour some olive oil in the bowl and put it back in there. Cover it with a towel and say good night. Let it hang out for as long as possible (an hour would be great, but 20 minutes will do).

Potato pizza (adapted from here)
2 medium potatoes, cooked in the microwave or oven
1 tablespoon butter (I used Earth Balance)
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
6 veggie bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used Go Veggie)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz sour cream (I used Tofutti)

  1. Cut potatoes into 1/2-in. cubes.
  2. In a bowl, combine butter, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add potatoes and toss.
  3. Top pizza crust with potato mixture, bacon, onions and cheeses.
  4. Bake at 500° for 10 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.
  5. Dip in lots of sour cream!