I think of dieting, then I eat pizza.Lara Stone
This week my partner and I made the pizza together, starting with the dough. Pizza making is a fun date night activity (so is vegan sushi rolling!), so if you are looking for something fun to do with your honey this weekend… you just might end up with a heart shaped pizza.
Right now fresh basil is still available in our local grocery store, but that will be changing soon. While we can still get it, we wanted to make one more basil pesto pizza. This time we added 2 parts basil to one part arugula to create the pesto. We added a few slices of vegan parmesan and our favorite veggies to create a filling meal.
To start, make the pesto. You can make it a day ahead and store it covered in the fridge. I prefer to make it fresh and use any leftovers the next day.
For the leaf mix, you can use all basil or a mix of basil and other leaves. Basil is more expensive than other leaves and using a 2:1 mix of basil to other leaves or even 1:1 works well without diminishing the flavor. Today I used 2 parts basil to one part arugula. I’ve used spinach and dino kale in the past. Both worked well. I probably like kale the best, followed by spinach, then arugula. But, it’s nice to mix it up and use what you have on hand.
For the nuts, you can use cashews, walnuts, or pine nuts. I haven’t tried it with almonds or pecans, but have seen recipes that use these instead. Pine nuts are a classic pesto taste, but have more calories than other nuts.
If you have a ripe avocado, you can add half of it or the whole thing. It adds an extra layer of creaminess and is delicious, as are all things made with avocado. If you do use an avocado and you have avocado oil, you can use that in place of the olive oil, if you prefer.
- 2 cups fresh basil, washed and dried
- 1 cup arugula leaves, washed and dried
- 1/3 cup raw walnuts
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Make sure your leaves are thoroughly washed and dried. I use a salad spinner and then dry them on a paper towel. This takes just one extra minute but creates a better pesto texture.
- Place leaves in your food processor and pulse a few times.
- Add the other ingredients, except the olive oil.
- Whizz on low speed to combine. With the machine running on low, drizzle in the olive oil.
- Taste the pesto and adjust the flavor to match your preferences. Sometimes I add more nut yeast, sometimes extra garlic, salt, or lemon juice.
- Dough of choice~We used 00 flour and made our own. Most store brands are perfectly good if you prefer not to make it. A simple dough takes about 20 minutes from start to finish and is a bit cheaper to make yourself. I hear Trader Joe’s has a good dough if you don’t feel like making it.
- Pesto~ If using the recipe above, we used 2/3 of it for this pizza and used 1/3 to make a mini pizza the next day.
- Dozen cherry tomatoes, sliced in half, sprinkled with salt and pepper
- 1/2 green pepper, diced
- few slices of vegan cheese or small handful shredded cheese~ We used Violife parmesan and I sliced about 5 slices with a vegetable peeler.
- Handful arugula, washed and dried.
- Heat your oven to 450° for 45 minutes before baking your pizza.
- Let dough come to room temperature for 2 hours before baking.
- Prepare your veggies.
- Roll out the dough. You just might get an unexpected heart.
- Spread pesto over your dough, leaving a 1 inch crust.
- Add slices of cheese.
- Top with tomatoes and green peppers or whatever veggies you prefer to use.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes until you smell that it’s done.
- Let cool for 5 minutes. Slice. Top with arugula. Serve, and enjoy!