Sometimes a little comfort food can go a long way.Benjamin Bratt
Let’s be real. This has been a tough year and sometimes you just need to make some comfort food. As a vegan who eats a primarily pretty healthy diet, you might think I don’t have as many food indulgences, but oh contraire, I have many! For me, switching to a vegan diet opened up a world of tasty food that I’d never experienced before.
Here in California, we had almost 5 weeks of thick blankets of smoke covering almost the entire state. During that time I only went outside once to take out the garbage. We were blessed with 13 days of clear air, then new fires ignited. Once again, we are on day 3 of yellowish haze blanketing our skies.
Unfortunately during the smoke spells, we can’t use our oven (or our window box AC!). But, during the last clear day, I was able to make a quick pizza. I chose one of my favorites, which has become a new comfort food for me–veggie pizza with mozzarella and marinated tempeh. It may sound healthy (and it is) but it’s also gooey, rich, and indulgent too.
A good pizza starts with the crust. For most of this year I have used the same recipe and tried different flour ratios (all-purpose, bread, pizza, 00, spelt, gluten-free, oat, buckwheat, and whole wheat flours), types of oil (olive, avocado, sunflower), sugar (coconut, honey), and salt (Himalayan fine and course, fine and coarse sea salt, and smoked sea salt flakes).
For this week’s dough, I used equal parts all-purpose and whole wheat flours. Next time I would use 2/3 all-purpose and 1/3 whole wheat or spelt flour. The recipe is on the card above or here.
You can use any veggies you like. My “go to” pizza ingredients are garlic, onions, and tomatoes. I think my Italian friends would approve. I love broccoli on pizza, as well as jarred jalapeño slices, kale (yes, kale!), and avocado, which goes on after the pizza is cooked. This week I had some celery left over from making soup stock, so I decided to include it. It adds a nice crunch and texture to the meal.
Recently I’ve found that I love the combination of marinated tempeh and melted mozzarella. There’s just something about the flavor and texture combo that works really well on pizza. Tempeh also adds protein, which is not always easy to do on a vegan pizza.
- 2-3 tablespoons coconut or soy aminos (like Braggs)
- 1 tablespoon miso paste (I prefer the flavor of white miso paste)
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- Slice the tempeh into bite sized pieces. I slice about 1/2 inch thick then cut the strips into halves or thirds. The photo above shows the actual amount I used, which is a little less than 1/2 of a block of store bought tempeh.
- Make the marinade. Adjust the amount of aminos, miso paste, and maple syrup to your liking. When I am cooking, the above are a guideline and then I adjust based on flavor and thickness of the marinade.
- Place tempeh into the marinade and coat all sides. Let sit for 10 minutes (or longer) while you prepare the vegetables.
- When it’s time to cook the tempeh, heat your pan well. I have an eco-friendly pan that has a nontoxic nonstick coating, so I don’t need to use oil to coat the pan. If your pan isn’t nonstick, use a spray of oil.
- Place tempeh pieces on the pan in a single layer. Cook 2 minutes on each side. Once done, remove from pan and place on a paper towel on top of a baker’s cooling rack, if you have one. This will keep them from getting soggy.
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
- 1/4 medium onion, diced
- about 8 jalapeño slices, drained, squeezed of liquid
- 12 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half and lightly salted
- small handful vegan mozzarella
- 3 stalks kale, derimmed (stalk removed), washed, lightly massaged, then torn or cut into pieces
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- handful broccoli florets, cut small
- olive or avocado oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Using the same pan you used to pan fry the tempeh, heat a glug of olive or avocado oil.
- Add onion, stir and heat for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and stir.
- Add a dash of sea salt, stir.
- Add the broccoli florets and kale, stirring frequently for 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes. Let mix cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Roll out your dough. Dough should be room temperature for at least two hours before trying to roll it out.
- Sprinkle crust with mozzarella.
- Add veggie mix directly from the pan, spreading evenly across the pizza, leaving a 1 inch rim around the crust.
- Place tempeh pieces evenly around the crust.
- Bake in a 450° oven for 14 minutes. (Open time and temperature will depend on your oven’s true temperature, the thickness of the crust, and what you are baking it on.)
- Let cool 5 minutes before slicing. Optionally top with ripe avocado. (Everything’s better with ripe avocado!). Enjoy!