Week 42: Spinach, Mushroom Heaven

All I can say is the bubbling pizza tasted as spectacular as it looked, and I didn’t even fool with fixin’ a salad to go with it.

James Villas, Hungry for Happiness

We loved the spinach artichoke dip inspired pizza we made for week 40 so much that we wanted to so something similar this week. Both my partner and I found the vegan spinach dip far tastier than it’s dairy counterpart. I wanted to recreate that “mouth feel” this week, but sneak in more greens and veggies.

Until a few years ago I actively disliked mushrooms and avoided them on anything except the occasional pizza. In recent years I have read about the numerous health benefits of mushrooms and have come to appreciate their deep, earthy, umami flavor.

Along with broccoli and pineapple, mushrooms are one of my favorite pizza toppings. They take on the flavor of the oils and spices they are cooked with and taste delicious on top of melted cheese. This pizza looks and tastes decadent, but there’s only 4 oz. of vegan cream cheese (made of nuts, so added protein) and a small handful of vegan mozzarella. I added toasted pine nuts for added crunch and protein.

Thank you Bianca for the inspiration.

Ingredients

  • your choice of pizza dough
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup vegan mozzarella, shredded (Violife is my fav.)
Spinach, Kale Cheese Mixture
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach leaves, washed
  • few stalks of dino kale, washed, stems removed, and loosely chopped
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4-6 oz. vegan cream cheese (I use Violife or Kite Hill.)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 teaspoons white miso paste (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons vegetable broth (optional)
Pan Fried Mushrooms
  • large handful of mushrooms (you can use any you like, I used simple white, button mushrooms), clean with a wet paper towel (do not run mushrooms under water or they get mushy), sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat your oven to 450° for 45 minutes before baking your pizza.
  2. Roll out your dough to desired size and thickness, bearing in mind this pizza will have a lot of heavy toppings, so it should not be a thin crust pizza.
  3. To make the spinach/kale cheese mix, you can go the quick, easy route or add one or both of these steps. First, dip your spinach and kale in hot, salty water for 1 minute to wilt the greens, the remove with a slotted spoon and squeeze out the excess water. This is not absolutely necessary, but I have made this mix many times and this extra step adds a brightness and flavor to the greens. Second, if you have a food processor, combine all of the spinach/kale cheese mix ingredients in your food processor. Mix on low for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides. Add additional vegetable broth if you need, to thin the mix. It should be fairly thick and creamy, not liquidy. If you don’t have a food processor or don’t want to clean it (trust me, I understand!), you can mix all the ingredients in a bowl. If you use the miso (and I highly recommend you do, the flavor is amazing), dissolve it in vegetable broth or water first before adding to the mix. Miso is a paste and needs liquid to dissolve.
  4. Spread the spinach/kale cheese mix on your pizza and bake for 11-14 minutes, depending on your oven temperature and the size and thickness of your pizza.
  5. While your pizza is in the oven, heat a frying pan over medium-high heat and toast your pine nuts for a few minutes without any oil. They will become golden and look toasted. Don’t abandon them! Stir regularly to avoid burning. When done, place on a plate.
  6. Using the same frying pan over medium-high heat, add a glug of olive or avocado oil. Fry your mushrooms for 6-8 minutes until they are browned. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you prefer not to use oil, you can use vegetable broth to fry your mushrooms instead.
  7. When your pizza comes out of the oven, slide it onto a bakers cooling rack, if you have one. Immediately top with the mushroom mix. Allow to cool a few minutes. Top with the pine nuts, slice, serve, and enjoy!

We both loved this pizza. As the chef, I appreciate the simplicity of making the spinach cheese mix, putting it in the oven, and then making the mushroom and pine nut toppings while it’s baking. If you are short on time, you could make the spinach cheese mix a day ahead and store it in the fridge. Also, no one will tell if you don’t toast the pine nuts!

If you make this or any other vegan pizza, we’d love to know @52veganpizzas. Enjoy!

Published by 52veganpizzas

We're a couple living in the Bay Area who are committed to a pie a week in 2020. Join us!

3 thoughts on “Week 42: Spinach, Mushroom Heaven

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