Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what kind of pizza is for lunch.— Orson Welles
This week we wanted to try something radically new. We’re also sheltering in place so making just one quick trip to the grocery store each week. That limits our supply of fresh veggies and other ingredients. I ran across this recipe by The Savory Vegan and was excited to have most of the ingredients on hand.
The twist to this recipe is using vegan cream cheese as a base layer. It was surprisingly flavorful and we’re excited to try this recipe again with different veggie combinations. I stocked up on frozen broccoli when I saw crazy long lines at our local grocery store. Broccoli, corn, and edamame always seem to unfreeze well and keep their flavor, texture, and consistency.
I had a much harder time two weeks ago with using frozen butternut squash. If you have a secret to unfreezing it and making it taste good, let me know.
I had thought frozen foods would be the way to go during this Coronavirus pandemic. They are convenient, but I learned this week that other Coronaviruses have been found to live for up to 2 years in a freezer. That doesn’t mean you can’t use them, but you want to be safe. I found this video about how to clean your groceries helpful and informative.
I know many people don’t have the ingredients they’d like to have right now. Pizza is a great way to use what you’ve got and swap out what you don’t have. You don’t have to have it all and it can still taste really good. I hope you are well and happy and resting during this crazy time. On to the recipe…
We used our last store bought cornmeal crust for this pizza. It’s thick and doughy, with a crust similar to pie, flakey, delicious, and a bit decadent. I haven’t yet tried to recreate it at home because I’m not sure I could. Maybe by the end of the year!
Feel free to to use any dough you have. A simple 15 minute all purpose flour or bread dough works fine.
We used Kite Hill’s Chive flavor almond milk cream cheese. It’s delicious on its own and even more flavorful with a few things added. The Savory Vegan recipe calls for using the entire container, which is 8 oz. I found we only needed half of that to have a generous amount to schmear on our pizza.
The recipe also calls for vegetable broth. I used half of a bouillon cube and dissolved it in 1/2 a cup of hot water. That was more than enough for this recipe.
Delish schmear Ingredients
4 oz. vegan cream cheese (use Kite Hill Chive flavor if you can find it)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1-2 tablespoons vegetable broth
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, adding 1 tablespoon of vegetable broth at a time to thin the mixture until a smooth sauce forms. Set the mixture aside until your veggies are cooked. When you are ready, you’ll schmear your pizza base to your heart’s content, leaving a little crust showing all around the edge.
Veggies to the Rescue
My new Italian penpal Enrico checked out our blog and commented that our pizzas are very different than traditional Italian pizzas. He’s right! We plan to do a traditional pizza later this week and have great love and respect for the amazing pizzas of Italy. Traditional pizzas are harder to recreate in a home oven, though not impossible and we’ll be trying some later this year.
For now, with the Coronavirus scare, we are trying to add a generous helping of veggies to each pizza. Food is medicine and I’d much rather munch veggies than more vitamins.
Our favorite veggie to put on pizza is broccoli. It’s versatile, flavorful, and adds a nice burst of color.
Heat a glug of olive oil in a hot frying pan. (I use about 1.5 tablespoons of oil and heat my pan on medium heat for 5 minutes before I add the oil.)
Give the oil a minute to heat in the pan then add:
1-2 shallots, thinly sliced (Shallots are more expensive than onions but they really do add a different flavor.)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 sweet, yellow, or red onion diced (we had a yellow onion on hand, but red or sweet would be my preference)
dash red pepper flakes
Sauté for 3-4 minutes until the onions look translucent.
Add broccoli and sauté for another 3-4 minutes. We used about 1.5 cups of frozen broccoli that was already cut into florets. We steamed it in a stainless steel steamer basket for 4 minutes before adding to the frying pan. If you are using fresh broccoli, you can skip this step and sauté for about 5 minutes.
Assembly and Baking
I like to schmear my base after the veggies have cooked to give the veggies a minute to rest before leaping from the frying pan onto the pizza. I also think it’s a better to put the schmear on just before the veggie layer so it doesn’t get soggy.
Layer your veggie mix over your pizza, spreading the mix as evenly as possible.
Bake in a 425° oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. (Hard to do, I know! We’re actually super happy to have to take photos before we eat it or we’d burn our mouths. Pizza is that good!).
If you make this pizza or any variation of a pizza recipe we’ve offered, we’d love to know. Tag us @52veganpizzas on Twitter. We hope you and your loved ones are eating well during this stressful time and having some fun too. Virtual hugs from our house to yours.