Just so you know, this is the first of my two-part pizza series.
During the past two weeks, dear hubby and I have had Italian food at two different local restaurants. At the first, an upscale establishment, I called ahead to ask if they had vegan options. Sure. No problem.
The company and fellowship was great. The service was okay. But, the actual meal left much to be desired. While everyone else at our table got beautifully plated food our meal was simply a bowl of pasta with a watery, flavorless red sauce. And, on top of that, it was way overpriced! Not my idea of a vegan friendly meal.
The second restaurant, a local pizza joint, was no better. We ordered a veggie pizza, no cheese. We got a pizza topped with raw tomatoes, onions and peppers and was somehow totally devoid of flavor. Who does that?It’s time for restaurants to think outside the box!
Come on people! It’s really not that hard! Don’t make it a “thing”! Use a little imagination. Every good kitchen should have some fresh vegetables and herbs on hand. Just a bit of thought. That’s all I’m asking.
There are so many mouth-watering possibilities for vegan dishes. A little creativity and fresh, whole ingredients can go a long way in creating a delicious plant-based meal.
Stung by my experiences at the restaurants, I decided to make my own gourmet pizza.
Ultimate Success Story.
Roasted eggplant is a delicious pizza topping.The roasted eggplant was a perfect partner with my homemade red sauce. And, this pizza screamed for gooey, stretchy mozzarella cheese. So I made some.
Who says you can’t have a vegan pizza topped with lots of stretchy mozzarella. Trust me on this people! It’s your’s for the making!
I like my red sauce chunky and full-of flavor. If you prefer a smooth sauce, a quick turn in the blender is all it takes.
Add cheese please!
I’ll bring the pizza. You grab the plates and napkins. Let’s eat!
Now that’s what I’m talking about! No boring pizza allowed up in this joint! This pizza is sassy and full of flavor! Enjoy!Print
Roasted Eggplant Pizza with Homemade Mozzarella Pizza
Clouds of stretchy, gooey, melty mozzarella nestled onto a bed of roasted eggplant and a rich, herb filled tomato sauce. Now that’s pizza!
- 1 large eggplant (1 1/4 pound)
- About 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Awesome Red Sauce:
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 T Vegan Butter
- 1/2 c onion, chopped
- 1/4 c celery, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 8 oz. diced tomatos or tomato sauce
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 2 T nutritional yeast
- 2 t basil, dried
- 2 t oregano, dried
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t coconut sugar or vegan sugar
- 1/4 t black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 t ground fennel seed
- 1/4 C. raw cashews (soaked in water for several hours and then drained)
- 1 C. hot water
- 2 T. + 1 t. tapioca starch
- 1 T. extra virgin olive oil (optional, but I find it gives richer flavor and mouth feel)
- 2 small garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 t. sea salt
- 1 t. fresh lemon juice
- 1 t. nutritional yeast
FOR THE DOUGH:
Okay, so I was super lazy today and purchased my Vegan Pizza dough at Trader Joe’s. It’s okay in a pinch. But for a super easy and awesome homemade dough, check out the one on Rouxbe.com.
Preheat Oven to 450 degrees.
- Cut eggplant into half lenghwise. then slice into 1/3-inch-thick rounds and arrange in 1 layer on a foil-lined large baking sheet. Place in large bowl and toss well with oil. Season with salt. Broil 2 to 3 inches from heat until golden brown and tender, 3 to 8 minutes on each side. Remove from oven and set aside until ready to use.
Prepare Red Sauce:
- melt vegan butter and heat olive oil in a large pot over med heat
- add the onion, celery and garlic and saute until soft
- If desired, remove to blender and puree until smooth then return back to the pot (Be extra careful with this step. Blending hot liquid is dangerous. Personally, since I like a chunky sauce, I generally skip this step.)
- add in tomato sauce (or diced tomato if using) and tomato paste and stir
- add the rest of the ingredients and allow it to simmer on lower heat for 30 to 60 minutes
- Taste for seasoning and salt. Adjust as needed.
- Remember to remove the bay leaf before putting sauce on your pizza.
- Blend all ingredients together in a blender (a high speed blender is best, but use what you have) until completely smooth, about 1 minute.
- Pour into a small saucepan and cook, stirring constantly over medium high heat. After a couple of minutes the mixture will start to look weird, like it’s curdling or separating. This is totally normal, reduce heat to medium and KEEP stirring so you don’t burn the cheese to the bottom of the pot.
- Keep cooking and stirring til really thick (about 2-3 more minutes) and the mixture becomes like a cohesive mass of melted dairy cheese and stretches.
- Remove from heat and let cool a bit while you assemble the pizzas.
- On prepared pizza dough, spread a generous amount of red sauce (I like a lot). Arrange zucchini over sauce and add dollops of cheese.
- Bake pizza in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes on a baking sheet until cheese and the crusts are nicely browned. Note: Actual baking time depends on your oven and the thickness of your crust. So please know that your cooking time may vary. Be careful not to cross that very fine line between nicely browned and burnt here. Watch your pizza carefully. Sprinkle pizza with a bit of additional chopped fresh basil once out of the oven if desired.
Extra cooked zucchini, red sauce and cheese can be refrigerated or frozen for later use.