Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Vegetable Supreme Pizza with Cashew Cheese

I've been craving pizza like nobody's business lately.  There are numerous places in San Francisco that serve vegan pizza such as zpizza, Patxi's, and Source.  Even the Whole Foods down the street from me serves vegan pizza!  That said, I opted to make one at home.  Since I'm completely useless when it comes to making pizza dough from scratch, I went with store-bought refrigerated dough from Whole Foods.  Easy peasy.

Cheese-wise, I absolutely love nut-based varieties for all cheesy dishes, including pizza.  So, you know what that meant:  time to soak some cashews!  This type of vegan cheese won't melt, but it's a wonderful spread to replace the cheese (and even the sauce) on any pizza.  If you've ever made cheesy kale chips before, you'll notice that this is practically the same sauce.  This cheese is extremely versatile, not to mention flavorful and healthy.

Makes 1 medium pizza or 2 personal pizzas (pictured)

1 package of ready-made pizza dough (I used Whole Foods refrigerated whole wheat dough)

1 cup of raw cashews (soaked in water overnight, or for at least an hour, and rinsed)
1 medium bell pepper (any color, except green), roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 cup baby spinach (or a generous handful)
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped (marinated or not)
1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven according to the the package instructions for the pizza dough.
  2. Stretch or roll out the dough to your desired shape and place on a baking sheet.
  3. To make the cheese, blend the cashews, bell pepper, garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  4. Spread the cheese evenly over the pizza dough.
  5. Layer on the vegetable toppings in any order that you'd like.
  6. Bake according to the package instructions. (18-20 minutes or so until the crust is browned)
Right out of the oven, I drizzled the pizza with some roasted red pepper sauce.  It's totally optional, but it did add some extra flavor, creaminess, and color. 

So, how did this compare to a traditional pizza?  I'd say that it was just as satisfying, if not more.  I didn't miss the texture of melted, stretchy cheese at all.  And with the sliced tomatoes in the mix, I also didn't miss the pizza sauce.  This is definitely something I'll be making again and again.  Who needs pizza delivery when you can make your own at home?  Not me.

Enjoy!  :)