Ahh pizza. How I love you so! I grew up on the East Coast where there is a plethora of pizzerias that are all insanely delicious. My absolute favorite is a sicilian pie from a place my parents have been going to since they were in high school. Topped with gooey, mozzarella cheese and sprinkled with some red pepper flakes. Perfection! But since going dairy free, the pizza withdrawals have been rough. Like real rough. Yeah you can load up some dough with a nice layer of tomato sauce, your favorite veggies and call it a day. You’ll have yourself something that is tasty and resembles pizza, but you’re taste buds will notice there is one thing that is definitely missing. CHEESE!
So here I give you my version of a “cheese” pizza. Topped with pine nuts, onions, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, sprinkled with a healthy vegan parmesan, and a delicious “cheese” sauce made from cashews. Whoever figured out that cashews work as a dairy subsitute is a crazy genius!
Excuse my messy pizza stone. It has been well loved.
My Favorite Vegan Pizza
(Makes 6-8 Slices)
Crust + Topping Ingredients:
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 package mushrooms, sliced
6 sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
whole wheat or gluten free pizza dough (we love Rustic Crust ready-made, and Trader Joe’s whole wheat, but of course you can use another brand or make your own!)
1 cup cashews, soaked
1/4 cup water
2 tomatoes chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2-3 cloves of garlic
Vegan Parmesan Ingredients:
1 cup raw almonds
3 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak for 2-3 hours to help aid in digestion.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
3. Slice onions and place in skillet over low-medium heat. Since onions have a high water content, they really do not need to be cooked with any oil. I like to let them start cooking and then add a splash of water if they start to stick. Once they have started to soften and brown, mix in the pine nuts and reduce heat to low.
4. Rinse and drain mushrooms. Slice and place in skillet over low-medium heat. I also don’t feel the need to add any oil to the mushrooms, so just cover the pan and continue to stir and the mushrooms will start to soften and brown. Reduce heat to low.
5. Place sun-dried tomatoes onto cutting board and julienne.
6. Place soaked cashews, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic and water in the blender. Blend until smooth. Pour sauce from blender into separate bowl.
7. Prepare vegan parmesan by placing almonds, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and salt into the food processor and blending to form a fine meal like consistency. Then place into a separate container in the fridge to keep fresh.
8. Sprinkle flour or corn meal on pizza stone if needed and place dough on stone. However, if you are using a ready-made pizza dough, this step is not needed. We like to use Rustic Crust brand.
9. Using a ladle or big spoon, spread sauce evenly over dough until you’ve put your desired amount. (You will have extra, which you can store in the fridge for later use. This sauce is also great over pasta).
10. Using a utensil, or your hands, top your pizza with onions and pine nuts. Then add mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes.
11. Place pizza in the oven for approximately 10-12 minutes. This will change depending on which dough you use. Some may be a couple minutes less, some may be more.
12. Once your pizza has finished cooking, take it out of the oven and let it cool. Top with some pieces of fresh basil, red pepper flakes if you like spicy, and some delicious vegan parmesan cheese!
*This recipe is completely neutropenic by eliminating the fresh basil (or cooking it with the pizza rather than putting it on after) as well as cooking the sauce in a sauce pot to heat before spreading on pizza.
This pizza is absolutely delicious on its own, but after creating this amazing vegan parmesan recipe, I can't have the pizza without it! Especially because I know I am getting a little extra dose of healthy with all of the nutritional yeast.
Nutritional Yeast or "nooch" is a total super food. It is gluten free, rich in folic acid, fiber, protein, and is high in B vitamin's which are essential for the production of red blood cells and a healthy nervous system. This extra boost of B is also super important to those of us vegans and vegetarians, because our plant based foods are not as rich in these vitamins. Nooch contains approximately (depending on the brand) 5 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein for every two tablespoons and has a nutty, cheesy flavor that is absolutely perfect in any and all recipes that call for a cheese substitute.
I hope you all enjoy my favorite vegan pizza and that it satisfies all of your "cheese" pizza cravings!