You heard right…PIZZA! I became Vegan about 16 years ago and I can still remember my last non-vegan meal…delicious, heavenly, there-is-nothing-quite like-it pizza! At the time I was basically vegetarian and ate a little bit of fish. I had spent the better part of the year before waning myself off of meat…first pork and beef, then chicken, then fish. I came to the conclusion that veganism was the next step for me. Mind you, I was still in college and like most college students, living off of pocket change. Pocket change was good when your diet consisted of beer and ’25 cent hamburger thursdays’ at a local McDonald’s. Yes, 25 cent hamburgers…with $5, I could eat for the week.
It wasn’t a difficult decision for me to quit meat, but I the realization that eating only veggies was more expensive than eating meat was (and still is) shocking. So, as a financially challenged college student, trying to eat healthier was going to be difficult at best. However, I have never been scared of a challenge and jumping in creek without a paddle (as many of my friends know) seems to be my forte.
Decision made…time for my last meal. Beef, pork, chicken, fish…all easy for me to give up. Cheese, oooh, that gooey, salty, so deliciously diverse wonder dairy product. Now that is a lot to ask for. But to be vegan…no dairy products…no cheese…sadness… sweet, sweet sadness. I planned my last meal. It was a Thursday night, I ordered a veggie pizza on whole wheat crust from Gumby’s Pizza. Let me tell you, I can still recall sitting on my couch, pizza on the coffee table, and slowly, lovingly eating a whole pie. Cheese was the bomb.
OK, back to the present. Over the years, I have tried several recipes for pizza. There is no vegan cheese that will replace the meltability of dairy cheese (Did I just say ‘meltability’ – Merriam Webster, you can add that, no charge). Many have tried…Follow Your Heart, Teese and new kid on the block Daiya…but it will never be the same. Plus, in order to replicate the high fat content of dairy cheese the vegan knock offs tend to be very oily once heated/melted. The closest you can get is taste and texture, where I feel our Ste Martaen line has excelled.
With that being said, I’ll get to the point and share this recipe with you. In this recipe we’ll use a creamy soy cheese and a 3 pepper & vegan sausage tomato sauce. This homemade soy cheese is a blended/whipped cheese that I feel works best for vegan pizza because it stays moist and packs flavor. So first or second, follow the Creamy Soy Cheese link and get that together (make one recipe).
Now (or first), put your sauce together. You can buy pre-made sauce from the store, I guess but you’ll be much happier if you make our 3 Pepper & Vegan Sausage tomato sauce. Follow the link, you won’t be disappointed (make one recipe). Let’s get started…
Cheese is done & the sauce is simmering: pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees…Let’s assemble this Pizza!
VEGAN PIZZA w/ Creamy Soy Cheese & 3 Pepper Sausage Tomato Sauce
For the crust, I use the god-send of all pre-made crusts.
I get this 20″ flatbread from Al Khayyam grocery and bakery on the North side of Chicago (They don’t have a website, so I linked their Yelp profile). I call it flatbread, but it is really like a hybrid between Middle Eastern pita and Greek flatbread. All I know, they bake it fresh daily and it makes the perfect pizza crust. I think it is was better than the pre-made crusts you can get anywhere and way easier than trying to make dough yourself (although I am determined to master it one day). If you are not in the Chicago area, it’s worth the trip to get some. But, I would suggest researching your local Middle Eastern bakeries to see if they produce something similar…you will not be disappointed. Now, if push comes to shove and you can’t find something similar, buy some pre-made dough…the pizza will still be dynamic!
To the crust, add a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with granulated garlic powder. Rub the entire crust to thoroughly cover with oil and garlic.
Next, add about 3 ladles of sauce (that’s about 12 ounces) to coat generously. Remember, this is your pizza, you can always add more or less. I divide the 3 Pepper sauce recipe evenly between two 20″ crusts.
That’s looking good. Now heavily dollop the Soy Cheese all over the pizza.
A lot of dollop’ll do ya!! Now, use a rubber spatula or the back of a wooden spoon to spread the cheese evenly around the pizza.
Your show now. Top with whatever your heart contents. Today, I’m going simple…some diced plum tomatoes and pickled jalapeno slices.
Now, place on a pizza stone (for you pizza aficionados) or on a large baking sheet (like me). Bake as follows:
- 5 min – soft crust
- 7 min – soft inner crust, crispy outer crust (my favorite)
- 10 min – crispy crust
Remove from oven and place on your hard stone or ceramic counter top or on a large baking board.
Now slice 4 times into 8 slices and EAT!!! By now, everyone is hovering around so feed your family and enjoy!
Your first bite will be a welcome reward for all you work. And the family will love you that much more…
Buon Appetito!!! Enjoy your Vegan Pizza!!!
Nahum St. Martin