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.


  • 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


  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!

Week 41: Banh Mi

The Banh Mi sandwich is really the only good argument for colonialism.

Calvin Trillin

As a vegan it’s hard to find sandwiches in shops. Take away the meat, cheese, dairy and egg, and there’s little leftover to create a filling sandwich. My partner introduced me to one of his favorite sandwiches–the Banh Mi. We couldn’t find a shop that had a veggie version, so I decided to make my own.

There’s no definitive way to make a Bahn Mi. They typically include these three elements–pickled vegetables (carrots and radish or daikon), “filling” (AKA meat, or for vegans, cauliflower, tofu or tempeh), and a generous amount of aioli (mayo, hot sauce, and sweetener). It’s typically served on a baguette, which was introduced to the Vietnamese culture by their French colonizers.

We tried this recipe from Minimalist Baker which uses cauliflower as the “meat” with pickled carrots and radishes and a super tasty vegan version of the traditional mayo sauce. I’ve made it several times with toasted French baguettes and also my homemade no knead bread. Both versions are delicious.

Another version comes from My Darling Vegan, which uses tofu along with the traditional pickled veggies and mayo sauce. We decided to combine the best of both recipes to create this week’s pizza.


  • pizza dough of choice (I used a basic pizza dough made with bread flour. This would be interesting on a socca base, which I am planning to make next week.)

Pickled Veggies

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, leave skin on and cut into a similar size
  • 8 jalapeño slices
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (I used brown coconut sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Marinated Tofu

  • 4 oz. firm or extra firm tofu (this is 1/2 a block)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos (Braggs, tamari, or soy sauce also works)
  • 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (avocado oil works too)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (optional)

Spicy Vegan Aioli

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha

Instructions for making the three toppings

The dough and pickled veggies can both be made the day before and stored in the fridge. Take your dough out and let it come to room temperature about 2 hours before you plan to use it. The pickled veggies can rest in the fridge until you need them. The aioli can also be made the day before and stored in the fridge in a sealed container. I love this aioli recipe. It’s the real reason I love Banh Mi. Warm pizza crust melts the aioli around the tofu and veggies and it’s a mess to eat, but oh so delicious.

A note about pressing tofu: when using firm or extra firm tofu, as you will want to do for this recipe, it’s a good practice to press your tofu for 30-60 minutes before slicing and using it. Since this recipe calls for just half the package, I cut it in half, wrap the half I want to use loosely in about 3 layers of paper towels and place it between two small plates. The idea is to press the excess liquid out, so place a can of something like beans on top of the plate and lightly press. Over the course of time, 30-60 minutes, the water will come out and your paper towels will become soaked. I typically rewrap my tofu and press it twice. If you are short on time you can skip this step, but patience will be rewarded with better tasting tofu.

Pickled Veggies

  1. Add vinegar, half the hot water, salt, and sugar to a glass Ball jar and shake it to combine. Add the carrot, cucumbers, and jalapeño slices. Pour the rest of the hot water over the mixture so that the liquid submerges the vegetables. Cover with a lid. Either let sit on countertop for an hour to cool then place in the fridge for a few hours to overnight or if you are making this mix as you cook, place it in the fridge immediately.

Tip: If you don’t have rice vinegar, you can use the liquid that comes with your jarred jalapeño slices.

Tofu Marinade

  1. In a wide bottomed bowl, add the coconut aminos, chili garlic sauce, oil, maple syrup, garlic and ginger. Whisk to combine.
  2. Place the tofu slices in the bowl and flip them so that they are coated on both sides. Set aside for 30 minutes so the tofu soaks up the marinade.


  • Add vegan mayo, maple syrup, and sriracha to a small bowl. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust the flavor to your preference of sweet or heat. Sriracha isn’t spicy, but it can be hot, which is something I love about the recipe. If you don’t just add a little at a time.


As a test, I divided my dough in half and made the pizza base two ways. I heated half on my pizza stone in the oven at 425° for 11 minutes. We found that dough to be too crispy. It’s hard to bake pizza naked, without any toppings, and have it come out right. With the other dough ball, I fried it in a non-stick pan, 4 minutes on the first side, 3 minutes on the second side, then added the toppings. It was a bit more like a flat pita bread sandwich, but it was good. I’d recommend crisping your dough on the stovetop rather than baking it for this particular pizza. The bonus there is you don’t have to wait 45 minutes to heat your oven.

  1. Heat your frying pan with a little oil to coat the bottom. Place the tofu strips in the pan and heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on how thick your slices are. They will get crispy and brown when they are ready. It’s fine to flip them to check.
  2. If you are like me and have only one frying pan, when the tofu strips are done, place them on a paper towel on a baking rack to keep them crisp. Rinse out your frying pan, heat it over medium-high heat and use it to fry your pizza dough.
  3. Let dough cool 2-3 minutes while you drain your pickled veggies.
  4. Slather crust with a generous amount of aioli.
  5. Layer with tofu strips and pickled veggies.

After thinking of myself as “not a sandwich person” for decades of my life, it was refreshing to find the Banh Mi. I love the flavor combination of this dish. The trio of toppings works well on a variety of breads and can be made gluten-free by using gf flour, soy-free by using cauliflower instead of tofu or tempeh. This is a versatile recipe, so play around with it and enjoy.

Week 40: Spinach Artichoke Yumminess

Popeye was right about spinach: dark green, leafy vegetables are the healthiest food on the planet. As whole foods go, they offer the most nutrition per calorie.

Michael Greger

The last time I had spinach artichoke dip, was about a dozen years ago. I made it to take to a friend’s holiday party. I wanted it to be really special. I researched recipes and bought the ingredients, excited to share this dish with friend. It was the hit of the party. People gathered around with blue corn chips and slices of toasted French bread, ready to dip in.

I’ve seen recipes for vegan spinach artichoke dip and pizzas and thought a marriage of the two would be a yummy dish. Wow. This is heaven on a plate. Rich, creamy, flavorful, and also healthy, with fresh and frozen spinach, artichokes, garlic and onions, and spices. I thought of making it a deep dish pizza, but reconsidered and made it a flat crust.

For the dough, I used this recipe for cornmeal olive oil dough. I made it two days in advance and let the dough rest in the fridge. It’s a wet dough, perfect for deep dish decadence. With a little flour to coat it, it worked well for this pizza. The dough is pillowy and flavorful, a bit like focaccia.

This is a very adaptable recipe. You can use fresh or frozen spinach. I had some frozen spinach in the fridge, so I thawed it in a bowl of warm water, picked out the stems, and squeezed the life out of it! You want your spinach to be dry. Wet spinach, especially frozen and thawed, is slimy. No one likes slimy spinach, especially Popeye!

I used 1/3 frozen spinach and 2/3 fresh. I like fresh better so I doubt I will buy frozen again, as it’s failed in every recipe so far. I used both fresh garlic and garlic powder. I sprinkled in some nutritional yeast and also used miso. Both noosh and miso add umami flavor, which gives food an earthy taste. If you have either or both of these ingredients, use them. If you don’t you can use other spices to pepper your dip (pun intended!).

Final dishes are a reflection of the ingredients you use. Find a vegan cream cheese, mayo, and cheese that you like and use those. I love Violife and Kite Hill cream cheeses, Follow Your Heart Vegenaise, and Violife or Miyoko’s vegan cheeses, especially the hard Violife parmesan, which I used in this recipe. It’s a matter of personal taste, so find what works for your palate and budget. If you are up for it, you can make your own.


  • 3 cups spinach, fresh or frozen
  • 1 small jar artichoke hearts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo
  • 4 ounces vegan cream cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • olive oil
  • vegan parmesan (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 450° for 45 minutes before baking your pizza.
  2. Add miso paste and garlic powder to the vegan mayo. Set aside.
  3. Heat a glug of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add artichoke hearts and spinach. Stir to combine.
  5. Add salt and pepper and red pepper flakes.
  6. Scoop vegan mayo mix into the pan. Stir to combine.
  7. Add vegan cream cheese. I tore off bits and placed them in the pan, as you can see in the photo.
  8. Remove from heat.
  9. Roll out your dough. Bake dough for 3 minutes. Open and close oven door quickly so you don’t lose more heat than you need to.
  10. After a 3 minute “blind bake,” remove crust from oven and spread mixture over the top, leaving a 1 inch rim all around the pizza.
  11. Bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the crust and your oven. When you smell it, it’s done.
  12. If you are using a brick of hard vegan parmesan, slice about 15 small strips off the block and place them on top of the pizza immediately after it comes out of the oven. It will melt right in!
  13. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.
  14. Enjoy! This is a filling pizza. It would be great with beer!

Week 39: Oh Sweetie

Those pizzas I ate were for medicinal purposes.

Amy Neftzger
Gluten-free sweet potato crust pizzaWe

On vacation in Mexico two years ago, which seems like ages ago now! I had a sweet potato crust pizza at Mi Vegano Favorito in San Jose del Cabo. It was everything you want a pizza to be. Tasty crust that’s just the right thickness to hold all the veggie and melted vegan cheese goodness. It was so good that I’m still talking about it and trying to recreate it, two years later.

Back in week 3 when we were just starting out our pizza journey, I tried two different sweet potato crusts. Neither worked well enough to present to you on the blog. I wanted to try one more time before this yearlong pizza journey is through to see if I could find a recipe that works.

I found this recipe on From My Bowl and for the first time my sweet potato crust came out pretty good. I’m grateful it worked because sweet potatoes are a lot healthier than flour, so it’s nice to have the option of a non-flour, gluten-free crust. I didn’t have tapioca flour so used cornstarch instead. I added oregano to the dry mix and otherwise followed the recipe faithfully. I even used my kitchen scale.

I love sweet potatoes. They are high in vitamins A, C, B6, potassium and manganese. They have 4 grams of protein a serving and are almost fat free. Plus, they are very filling. My favorite are the hannah white variety, which is what I used above. Purple sweet potatoes are also fun to use and jazz up the look of your dishes.

As always, you can use any veggies you like. Because this was a dish I first tried in Mexico, I tried to recreate the flavors of that dish by using similar veggies. Here’s the original for some inspiration. I love that this pizza has a rustic crust with a hint of red sauce, light melted cheese, and a mound of healthy veggies. If you visit San Jose del Cabo, you have to try it (and bring me back a slice!).


  • Sweet potato crust (see recipe link above)
  • handful vegan mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 broccoli stem, florets cut into bite size pieces, use the stem if you like, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 5 slices of zucchini or cucumber, diced
  • handful cherry tomatoes, sliced in half and sprinkled with salt
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • guacamole or avocado to serve

Per instructions on the sweet potato crust recipe, I baked the crust for 10 minutes in a hot oven before putting on any sauce or toppings. It dried it out quite a lot, as you can see from the photo on the far left. Next time I will bake it with a scant amount of sauce or brush it with olive oil first before baking to keep it moist.

As you can see, I use only a small amount of sauce. I used a jarred marinara. Sadly, I threw the rest away. I sometime buy the type of tomato paste that looks like tomato toothpaste just so I don’t end up discarding an almost whole jar of marinara. But, the spices and flavors of marinara are really good, so it’s up to you.

See above that I have put the veggies on before the cheese? That’s because I was waffling on whether or not to use cheese at all. I knew I wanted to serve this with guacamole so thought I might go cheeseless. In the end, I put about 1/2 cup of mozzarella on top and it didn’t quite melt correctly. If you are using cheese, put it on over your sauce and under the veggies.


  1. Bake your sweet potato crust for 8-10 minutes in a 425° oven. I recommend you bake it with either a brush of olive oil or 1/2 cup marinara to keep it from drying out.
  2. Remove from oven. Top with cheese first if using, then your veggies. You can pan fry your veggies first. I often do this so that I can toss them with olive or avocado oil and spices. Also, if you are using any hearty veggies like the stalk part of broccoli, they need more time to cook, so then pan frying before baking is the way to go.
  3. Bake for an additional 10-12 minutes. This makes approximately 20 minutes total.
  4. Slice, serve with guacamole (and maybe some margaritas!). Enjoy!

Week 38: Pizza de los Muertos

The dead cannot cry out for pizza. It is a duty of the living to do so for them.

Lois McMaster Bujold (quote loosely translated)

We’re looking forward to celebrating Dia de los Muertos this weekend. Tomorrow is Halloween and a full moon. It’s also the second full moon in the month, so it’s a blue moon too. Normally we would be out celebrating, but with Covid, we are snuggling up at home and cooking, baking, and decorating.

We wanted to bring some of the Day of the Dead festiveness to our pizza blog in preparation for this weekend’s feast. Mexican inspired food is always so good. To make the dough, I used 1/3 “masa harina” and 2/3 bread flour. I would have preferred to use all-purpose flour, but alas, our local stores have again sold out. Next time I will try this recipe that uses whole wheat pastry flour with masa harina.

If you are wondering what masa harina is, it’s dried corn dough used as flour. You add water and salt to it, and sometimes oil, to create tortillas. “Masa harina” translates to masa (dough) harina (flour). I’ve used it with water and salt to make thin tortillas I fry in a pan. I’ve also mixed it with all purpose and whole wheat flours to make more of a doughy consistency, perfect for pizza.

Masa harina is gluten free, so if you are avoiding gluten, this could be a great addition to your pantry.


  • dough of choice, I recommend using part masa harina, but it’s up to you
  • handful cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • about 10 jalapeño slices
  • 1/4 cup corn kernels (I use frozen, placed in hot water to thaw)
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 organic red pepper, diced
  • few broccoli florets
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • handful vegan cheese shredded (I used jack cheese from Violife)
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce of choice or tomato paste thinned with water, add salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • spices of choice- I used cumin powder and chili powder
  • squeeze of quality sriracha


  1. Heat oven to 425° for 45 minutes before baking your pizza.
  2. Roll out your dough to desired size. I place a ball of dough between two sheets of parchment paper and use a rolling pin. This method works for me.
  3. NOTE: You do not have to heat your veggies in advance, but I typically do so that I can heat them, coat them with a bit of oil, and season veggies in the pan.
  4. Heat a glug of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. I used avocado oil.
  5. Add onions and stir for 2 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and stir, 30 seconds.
  6. Add peppers, broccoli, corn, and tomatoes. Season with chosen spices and sriracha. Stir and heat for 2 minutes. Take pan off the heat.


  1. I roll out my dough and keep it on one piece of parchment paper. This makes it easier to get into and out of a hot oven.
  2. Spoon a thin amount of marinara sauce over your dough.
  3. Sprinkle with vegan cheese.
  4. Top with veggies.
  5. Bake for 12-14 minutes in a hot oven.
  6. Slice, top with avocado or guacamole, and enjoy!
Yum! Pizza to share with you living friends or those you love who have passed over.

We hope you enjoy this pizza. We are looking forward to honoring our loved ones who have passed over this weekend. Dia de los Muertos is a lovely way to celebrate the life of those you love. And if your loved ones loved pizza, why not make some to share?

Week 37: Aloha Spirit

I burned my Hawaiian pizza today. Should’ve cooked it on aloha temperature.


I love pineapple on pizza. It adds a tart sweetness that complements melted mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and jalapeños. To make a vegan pizza true to the ‘Hawaiian’ pizza name, I needed to find something to replace the traditional ham flavor. I found a recipe for bacon flavored coconut flakes and decided to adapt it to flaked almonds to add some protein to this meal.

Over the course of this year, my partner and I have tried at least fifty different pizza variations. Hawaiian is one of my favorites (and not just because I miss living on Maui. There is no actual connection to the islands. Hawaiian pizza was invented by a Greek immigrant to Ontario, Canada. You can read more about the story here.)

To make this pizza unique, I tried a new dough recipe from the book Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day. I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated by this book at first. The authors are highly accomplished bakers. I bought a $10 digital kitchen scale to ensure that my measurements are accurate and decided to give one of their recipes a try.

I made the Cornmeal and Olive Oil Dough that the authors initially created for deep-dish pizza. The authors generously share their recipe here. The deep-dish style looks yummy and we plan to try it soon. To use this dough as a regular, flat pizza dough, I needed to add a 1/2 cup of flour and knead it slightly.

Above you can see my preferred method of flattening the pizza disk. I put a ball between two pieces of parchment paper and roll it out with a wooden rolling pin. I’ve worked on my technique so that I can get the pizza very thin. For this pizza, I would recommend a thicker dough. So either don’t roll it out as thin or try the deep-dish style in the link above.

This week’s quote is appropriate because I ‘blind baked’ the pizza, meaning I baked it naked, with no toppings, for 3 minutes before pulling it back out of the oven to top it. For some pizzas, that is the way to go. This week, it wasn’t! Lesson learned. I rolled the crust too thin to blind bake it and the final result was burnt.

For this week’s pizza, I recommend a medium or thicker crust to hold all of the yummy toppings.


  • 1/2 can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • handful cherry tomatoes, halved and lightly salted
  • handful jalapeño slices, patted dry
  • handful shredded vegan mozzarella
  • 1/4 medium red onion, sliced thin
  • cinnamon
  • salt
  • red pepper flakes
  • dough of choice
  • sauce of choice- red sauce, light BBQ sauce, and tomato paste thinned with water and sprinkled with herbs all work well as a base sauce, so adjust to your taste


  • avocado (optional, if I can add a perfectly ripe avocado, I always do!)
  • splash lime juice and dash salt (optional for avocado/homemade guacamole)

Optional- smoky, bacon flavored almond flakes

  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke (this is what gives it a smokey, bacony flavor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch black pepper

Instructions for almond flakes

  1. Heat oven to 350°.
  2. Mix all the liquids and spices in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the almond flakes and toss to coat.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to place flakes on a piece of parchment paper in a single layer.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes so they don’t burn.

Note: Do this at least 30 min before you want to bake your pizza so that your oven can get up to 450° to properly crisp your pizza crust. You can make the almonds a few days in advance and store them in the fridge or freezer.


  1. Crank your oven up to 450°.
  2. Drain your pineapple slices, if using from a can. The juice is great in smoothies or can be frozen and used later. Place them on a paper towel to dry them out a bit.
  3. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on your pineapple. This is an optional step, but I have found it’s a nice flavor enhancer for the pineapple.
  4. Roll out your dough. Slather on some sauce. I used a mix of tomato paste and a vegan BBQ sauce that does not have a strong flavor. You can also use straight tomato paste thinned and add some spices, like oregano or dried basil. This pizza is best with a tomato enhanced base flavor.
  5. To give my pizza a boost, I tossed the cherry tomatoes with olive oil and pan fried them for five minutes before layering them on top of the sauce. This is optional, but it does add a nice flavor boost.
  6. Place the pineapple, diced green pepper, and jalapeños around your pizza evenly.
  7. Top with cheese. Feel free to be generous here. Cheese is yummy!
  8. Bake for 11-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your crust.
  9. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then top with the flaked almonds and guacamole.
  10. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Week 36: Pizza My Love

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.

Pesto Ingredients

  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. Place leaves in your food processor and pulse a few times.
  3. Add the other ingredients, except the olive oil.
  4. Whizz on low speed to combine. With the machine running on low, drizzle in the olive oil.
  5. Taste the pesto and adjust the flavor to match your preferences. Sometimes I add more nut yeast, sometimes extra garlic, salt, or lemon juice.

Pizza Ingredients

  • 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.


  1. Heat your oven to 450° for 45 minutes before baking your pizza.
  2. Let dough come to room temperature for 2 hours before baking.
  3. Prepare your veggies.
  4. Roll out the dough. You just might get an unexpected heart.
  5. Spread pesto over your dough, leaving a 1 inch crust.
  6. Add slices of cheese.
  7. Top with tomatoes and green peppers or whatever veggies you prefer to use.
  8. Bake for 13-15 minutes until you smell that it’s done.
  9. Let cool for 5 minutes. Slice. Top with arugula. Serve, and enjoy!

Week 35: Cheese Please

That was one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten in my life. The cheese was so good it made me faint.

Elvis Aaron Presley
Vegan Double Cheese Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes, Corn, and Cucumber

Some of the best pizzas in life start out as something else. This week I had in mind to make a light summer pizza with vegan cream cheese, ripe cherry tomatoes, and cucumber. I did use those ingredients, but made a last minute decision to toss a handful of vegan cheese on the pizza, and wow! The cheese took it to the next level of yumminess.

The pizza above looks decadent, but it actually has only a handful of Violife vegan colby jack cheese. I used about half a cup, which is 150 calories. Split between two people, that’s not a lot of extra calories, but it did make the pizza taste a lot richer. This is one of our favorite pizzas so far this year.

This week I used bread flour to make the dough. I forgot to add olive oil to the mix and it still came out well and was easy to shape. I made a dough with “00” flour earlier in the week and my partner and I both liked the bread flour version better. That could be any number of factors, but since bread flour has more protein than 00 flour, I’d rather use it.

I added a teaspoon of dried oregano to the dough when mixing. I also added a generous teaspoon of garlic honey, which is honey that had garlic sitting in it for a month. Here’s a post with more detailed info if you want to make it. The garlic turns to candy, with no garlicky taste. You can eat the garlic, one a day, and it helps ward off colds.

This week’s pizza has two layers of cheese. There’s a cream cheese layer that gets a flavor boost from a bit of miso paste, and the layer of shredded cheese. The flavors of this pizza combo taste great together, but if you are missing one or two of the ingredients, you can substitute something else.

As always, feel free to use any veggies you have on hand. Next time I make this pizza (and there will definitely be a next time, this one was super good) I would add a few jalapeño slices.


  • pizza dough
  • handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup corn kernels
  • 1/4 medium size white onion, diced
  • 4 oz. vegan cream cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 and 1/2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1/2 cup vegan cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • few slices of cucumber, diced


  1. Heat oven to 450° for 45 minutes before you plan to bake your pizza.
  2. If you have one, put your pizza stone in the oven to heat up.
  3. Let dough come to room temperature (if refrigerated) for 2 hours prior to baking.
  4. Slice cherry tomatoes and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. If using frozen corn, run hot water over it to bring to room temperature. Set aside.
  6. Add miso paste to cream cheese. Taste and see how much miso tastes good to you.
  7. Heat a frying pan. Over medium-high heat, add a glug of olive or avocado oil.
  8. Add the onions. Stir for 2 minutes.
  9. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
  10. Add cucumber slices.
  11. Add corn.
  12. Add tomatoes and stir for 2 minutes.
  13. Take off the heat. Roll out your pizza dough.
  14. Spread cream cheese and miso mixture over your pizza.
  15. Layer with veggies from the pan.
  16. Top with 1/2 cup of vegan shredded cheese.
  17. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until crust is golden and you can smell that it’s done.
  18. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Super yummy, vegan double cheese, tomato, cucumber, corn pizza- Share it with someone you love!

Week 34: Mangia italiano

You try to come up with new ideas, but in the end, people just want to eat Italian food.

Stephen Starr
Vegan Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes, Broccoli, Zucchini, Garlic, Onions, and Vegan Parmesan

I was craving a veggie pizza and wanted to try a crust using Caputo “00” flour. That is the brand and type of flour often recommended in traditional Neapolitan recipes. I also recently got a pizza stone and wanted to see if it would really crisp up the better than my old pan. Yes and yes.

The Caputo flour produces a crust that is reminiscent of the delicious and light pizza we ate in Naples. Our Emile Henry pizza stone does a good job crisping up the bottom of the pizza and cooking it evenly. We considered getting a pizza steel, but they weigh 16 pounds and I don’t have a good place to store it, so we went with the stone. I used it to bake croissants and they burned, so it’s not a good option for all baked goods, but did work well for pizza.

I wanted this to be a light, crispy pizza that highlights the flavor of late summer veggies. Instead of a base sauce, I cut a large handful of cherry tomatoes in half, lightly salted them, and sprayed them with a light coating of olive oil. After a few minutes of frying them in a pan, they soften up and make a nice base layer.

You can use any veggies you have on hand. Broccoli and zucchini are our favorites. I usually use the broccoli stalk, cutting it up into slices and then quartering the slices so they cook through. For the zucchini, I use a vegetable peeler and peel it around the entire vegetable until I reach the seeds. I slice the inner seeded part into rounds and use this part too. The soft inner part will take on the flavors of whatever oils and spices you use but has less flavor on its own.


  • handful cherry tomatoes, cut in half, lightly salted, lightly sprayed with olive oil, pepper to taste
  • broccoli stalk, florets cut small, stalk diced
  • 1/4 sweet white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • zucchini, sliced or peeled
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Vegan parmesan (optional)
  • pizza dough of choice

I have really come to appreciate the Violife line of vegan cheeses. Growing up veggie, there were so few vegan products on the market and cheese was the worst. It was always grainy with weird texture that didn’t melt like real cheese. Now times have changed and vegan cheese has the texture, taste, and meltability of “real” cheese. To me, Violife and Miyoko’s are the best brands.


  1. Dough should be at room temperature for 2 hours before handling.
  2. Crank your oven to 450° for 45 minutes before baking your pizza.
  3. Prepare all your veggies so that when you start to cook, everything you need is ready for you.
  4. Heat a pan on medium-high heat. Add a glug of oil.
  5. Fry to onions for 2 minutes, until translucent.
  6. Add the garlic and stir.
  7. Add the diced broccoli stalks. These will take the longest to cook. Stir frequently for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the broccoli. Give it 2 minutes.
  9. Add the zucchini. Give it one minute.
  10. Turn off the heat and let veggies sit in the pan, off the heat, for a minute while you prepare your dough.
  11. Roll out your dough (or toss it if you’re fancy like that!)
  12. Brush dough with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt.
  13. Add slices of parmesan.
  14. Top with veggie mix.
  15. Bake 13-15 minutes, depending on size of pizza and the true temperature of your oven.
  16. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Week 33: Comfort Food

Sometimes a little comfort food can go a long way.

Benjamin Bratt
Tempeh and Vegetable Pizza on Whole Wheat Crust

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.

Ingredients–tempeh marinade

  • tempeh
  • 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

Instructions–tempeh marinade

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Place tempeh into the marinade and coat all sides. Let sit for 10 minutes (or longer) while you prepare the vegetables.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Topping Ingredients

  • 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

Topping Instructions

  1. Using the same pan you used to pan fry the tempeh, heat a glug of olive or avocado oil.
  2. Add onion, stir and heat for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and stir.
  3. Add a dash of sea salt, stir.
  4. Add the broccoli florets and kale, stirring frequently for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes. Let mix cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Vegan mozzarella, marinated tempeh, and vegetable pizza


  1. Roll out your dough. Dough should be room temperature for at least two hours before trying to roll it out.
  2. Sprinkle crust with mozzarella.
  3. Add veggie mix directly from the pan, spreading evenly across the pizza, leaving a 1 inch rim around the crust.
  4. Place tempeh pieces evenly around the crust.
  5. 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.)
  6. Let cool 5 minutes before slicing. Optionally top with ripe avocado. (Everything’s better with ripe avocado!). Enjoy!