Friday, September 20, 2013

VeganMoFo 11: Sweet and Spicy Maple Tempeh Cashew Cheese Pizza

I really wish I was good at making pizza dough from scratch.  I probably haven't practiced enough.  It's definitely something on my 'things to master' list. :)  In the meantime, I'm relying on store-bought pizza crusts for my semi-homemade pizza creations.  Trader Joe's sells an awesome pre-baked garlic and olive oil flat bread pizza crust.  All you do is add your toppings, bake it for 10 minutes, and voilà! That's what I used here and I thought the pizza turned out great.  The sweet part comes from the smokey maple tempeh and the spicy part comes from, you guessed it, sriracha sauce!  So quick, so easy, and so good. I should also mention that I used store-bought Pomi pizza sauce.  I repeat: So quick, so easy, and so good.  :)

Makes 1 pizza

Cashew Cheese
1 cup of raw cashews (soaked in water for at least an hour-- this is optional, but it will make the cheese creamier)
1/4 cup water
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 to 1.5 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves of garlic
  1. After soaking the cashews, drain and rinse them well.
  2. Blend the cashews, water, lemon juice, salt, and garlic in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Maple Tempeh
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 8 oz. package of tempeh
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Using your hands, crumble the tempeh into the skillet and sauté for 1 minute.
  3. Add the soy sauce, maple syrup, liquid smoke, and nutritional yeast. Sauté for another minute or so.  (not too long because the tempeh will brown some more in the oven)
1 store-bought or homemade pizza crust
1-2 tablespoons of sriracha sauce (depending on how much heat you like!)
1 cup store-bought or homemade pizza sauce
Toppings:  sliced bell peppers, mushrooms, artichokes, olives, etc. (I only used mini bell peppers)
Fresh basil, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.  Place the pizza crust on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the pizza sauce and sriracha sauce together in a small bowl. Spread the sauce evenly on the pizza crust.
  3. Using a spoon, drop dollops of cashew cream over the sauce.
  4. Spread the tempeh crumbles and toppings evenly over the sauce and cheese.
  5. Bake according to the package instructions (about 8-10 minutes, or 10-15 minutes if using a homemade crust)
  6. Garnish the pizza with fresh basil before slicing.

I really love sweet and spicy combinations.  But if you don't, you can season your tempeh any way you'd like or leave out the sriracha sauce.  I also loved the creamy cashew cheese. Even though it's a little different from the traditional stretchy cheese that one expects from pizza, it's very flavorful and filling.

Someday, I'll finally perfect my homemade pizza dough skills (fingers crossed), but in the meantime, I'm more than happy to get by with creations like this that are so quick, so easy, and so good.  (3rd time's a charm)