Lil’ Z is learning about time. She makes plans for “Friday”, “this week”, and ”next week”, but her favorite time reference is “a looong tiiime” as in “Not eat pizza in a looong tiiime”. Not everyone loves vegan pizza as much as Lil’ Z but she has no other frame of reference, so her squeals of excitement are warranted. But for the rest of us who survived college-induced poverty by subsisting on free offers of pizza, a vegan pizza is not quite the same. Yes, there have been brave strides in the field of vegan cheeses that actually melt, soy pepperoni toppings, and gluten-free pizza crust, but we live in Oman. I don’t know if I’ll live here long enough to see Daiya cheese in the refridgerated section at Lulu Hypermarket, and I won’t hold my breath. What our family needs is a satisfying, hearty vegan pizza built on whole foods–not imported products–that fills our bellies with a heavy dose of veggies and protein to balance out the whole wheat pizza crust. This dish is in our weekly rotation and hopefully it will join yours too. Please note: This is not a glamourous, foldable pizza. This is a two-hand, heavy-laden, messy operation, so handle accordingly.
2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 cup of warm water
1 tbsp. of instant yeast
1 tbsp. of olive oil
1 tbsp. of honey or agave
pinch/sprinkle of fine sea salt (optional)
1/2 cup of tomato paste
Standard frying pan full of the toppings of your choice: spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, broccoli, garlic, red onion, sliced olives, etc.
Sprinkle of seasonings of your choice: thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, etc.
cashew cheese (optional- see recipe below)
1. Dissolve instant yeast in warm water and let sit for 10 minutes
2. Add flour and sea salt (optional) to large mixing bowl
3. Add honey/agave and olive oil to water with yeast
4. Add the above to the flour, mix with large spoon, then knead with your hands
5. Form a large ball of kneaded pizza dough and sit to cover for about 10 minutes
6. Preheat oven to 375 F or 190 C
6. Saute the toppings of your choice (except sliced olives) with the seasonings of your choice and sprinkle of sea salt
7. Press dough into a large greased pan
8. Add tomato paste (leaving at least a 1/2 inch border free of tomato paste)
9. Add toppings and sliced olives
10. Bake in oven for at least 30 minutes or until edges of crust start to brown.
To take it your finished pizza to the next level, smear each slice with cashew cheese.
Cashew Cheese Ingredients
2 cups of soaked, raw cashews
1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
1/4 cup of soy sauce, tamari, or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
2 tbsp. of olive oil
3-5 cloves of garlic (optional)
juice from 1/2 lemon (optional)
water to thin (optional)
1. Add soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, and garlic (optional) to food processor
2. Add oil liquids to taste
3. Process to achieve desired consistency