Vegan Pizza Cheese & Crust – Mock-zarella!
I eat 90% plant based. I am not a Vegan and I don’t play one on TV. I do love a great Vegan meal now and again and when I can get it in the form of PIZZA…I get excited. This post is going to decode the art of Vegan pizza, trust me you are not going to miss an ingredient from traditional pizza. I am going to show you how to make Vegan Mock-zarella. So easy and it makes Vegan pizza soar with amazing flavors.
Also I have partnered up with my new friend Dabbling Chef, Andrea Branchini to give you a vegan cauliflower crust that will not take you all day to make and it passes the “fold” test. She says it is husband and kid approved!
Vegan Pizza – My Past Failures
Let’s face it vegan pizza crusts fall short! They are hard, grainy and difficult to make. They require what seems like 100’s of steps and you have to be a wizard to get it right even after several tries. Then when you put the topping on the crust it falls apart and you certainly can’t lift it and fold it like a traditional pizza crust. Then there is the cheese. Vegan cheeses usually don’t melt into that yummy cheesy goodness that you might be used to. The flavor seems to be lacking as well. Not rich and creamy like I want it to be. You can always skip the cheese but pizza without cheese is a sin in my house!
The Pizza Lightbulb Moments
Getting ready for my favorite live broadcasting week, Recipe Redo, I wanted to show my favorite Pizza Redo Recipe! That normally includes a store bought crust that is gluten free and Vegan from Udi’s, and is a great substitute, but I was wishing I could show something homemade, gluten free and Vegan. Then the lightbulb moment! I was watching Andrea, Dabbling Chef and she was making tons of cauliflower recipes in a live broadcast on Periscope. WOW! Her recipe knocked me right off my feet. I think I typed “brilliant” in the chat 100 times! If you have tried cauliflower pizza crust in the past don’t worry this process is not the same! The recipe is below!
Second lightbulb moment involves the pizza cheese and Vegan diet conundrum. Then it came to me!
Avocado = Creamy
Nutritional Yeast = Cheesy
Problem solved! You can’t imagine how much this elevates the taste of a Vegan pizza. See the how to video and recipe below! After my live broadcast I got this in a message…”Thank you SO much Leslie for giving me the gift of pizza back!” Yay PIZZA is back!!!
Vegan Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Recipe by Andrea Branchini Dabblingchef.com
2 Tbsp chia seeds, soaked in 6 Tbsp water for 10 minutes
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 6 Tbsp water
1 cup riced cauliflower, raw (see note)
1 ¼ cups almond flour
½ cup arrowroot starch
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp Kosher salt
¼ cup nutritional yeast (optional)
Non-stick spray, for baking sheet
Cornmeal, for baking sheet (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with a non-stick spray (like coconut oil spray), sprinkle with cornmeal (optional) and set aside.
In a small bowl, add the chia seeds. Top with 6 tablespoons water and set aside for 10 minutes to soak; chia seeds will absorb the water and become gooey, like pudding.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add the apple cider vinegar, grapeseed oil, flaxseed meal and water. Whisk to combine and set aside.
In a large bowl, add the riced cauliflower, almond flour, oregano, garlic powder, baking soda, salt and nutritional yeast (if using). Stir to incorporate. Make a well in the center and add apple cider vinegar/flaxseed mixture. Stir to combine. Next, add the chia seed “pudding” and mix until fully incorporated.
Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and carefully press with your fingers to stretch it, working from the inside out. If dough is too sticky to handle, simply wet your hands lightly with some warm water to make it easier to work with. Press the dough to form a rectangular shape (it should stretch to just about cover the size of a 11.5×17-inch baking sheet, but be careful not to make it too thin). Once shaped, press up the edges slightly to form a crust. Alternatively, you can divide the dough into 3 smaller rounds to make personal pizzas.
Bake the plain dough for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on tray for 1-2 minutes. Top with a thin layer of tomato sauce and veggies of choice. Bake for 10 minutes more. Allow to cool slightly before cutting. Serve.
Vegan Pizza Mock-zarella
1/2 avocado, seeded and scraped from shell
1 tsp braggs nutritional yeast
salt & pepper to taste
Smash avocado in bowl with fork. Add nutritional yeast and salt and pepper. Mix well. Use dollops or spread on pizza crust.