Monday, March 5, 2012

Vegan Pizza

My relationship with cheese is like this: I love cheese. In fact, I would call myself a cheese addict. The way I relate to cheese is with complete worship, and compulsive consumption. That's why I stopped eating it, actually—I felt unhealthy and wanted to prove to myself that I could break the addiction.

Nearly 8 months into this adventure (!), I am still addicted to cheese. Usually I just stay away from it, and what's out of sight is out of mind. But when I am tempted with cheese, the situation becomes a battle of wills unless I've already prepared for it, and unless there are cheeseless options afoot, it's a serious, serious battle. At home, though, and out at restaurants, I'm good. I love so much about food, and cheese for me was often something I used to smother over the actual food I was eating, making food a "cheese vehicle" as it were. I don't like being a slave to cheese, & for the most part, I'm not anymore.

The one place where I am consistently frustrated with vegan offerings is in the realm of pizza. I love pizza, and like any American who was once a college student, I am well versed in eating it. Pizza is the ultimate comfort food to me, and also, one of cheese's best applications. Vegans tend to go on and on about the pleasures of vegan cheese, specifically Daiya, and though I'm not someone who generally goes for "fake [something]" foods (I'd rather just use different ingredients), I manned up a few weeks ago & got a vegan pizza with Daiya.


And ...


...it totally sucked.


I am one of those people who doesn't want their fake meat to be exactly like meat. But this belief, as I found out, does in no way extend to cheese. I may have mentioned that I love cheese, so if a fake cheese is nothing like actual cheese ... this is a problem. A bona fide problem. Weeks have passed since The Great Daiya Incident of 2012, and I'm still talking about it, which only highlights how disappointed I was. I really wanted to find a great cheese substitute. The search, at least for me, goes on.

In the meantime, though, I can't knock the cheeseless pizzas I've been making at home; they're really good. They're not quite enough to satisfy a craving for cheese I have about once a month, but, well, there's not much to be done about that. This weekend I made what I consider to be my best pizza yet:

O HAI PIZZA


I am perfectly capable of making my own dough, and I do that when I'm feeling ambitious; but this pizza was made on impulse, and I used a whole wheat dough ball from Whole Foods. That's also Whole Foods pizza sauce you see there. From there though, it's just olive oil, sliced white mushrooms, 1/2 green pepper, 4 cloves garlic (thinly sliced) and tons of asparagus. I sprayed more olive oil (from my Misto) on top before baking it on a pizza tray dusted with cornmeal at 425 degrees for ~17 minutes.

It was really, really good. Pizza is not required to have cheese; in fact, it's seriously decadent (still) without it! I do think it needs to be done right, though. I once ordered a vegan pizza at work and a pizza with just tomato sauce was delivered to me. Um, what? Really? Lesson learned. You must pile veggies high, and use good ingredients, and make sure to cook it for just the right amount of time (you don't want it to dry out). The topping ideas are endless, though, which is a theme for me (remember my taco post?).

I'm sure that die-hard pizza fanatics might find this blasphemous, but it's great. Try it. You might like it!

2 comments:

  1. I totally UNDERSTAND how you can be a slave to a food (hello COFFEE), but I cannot possibly imagine giving up cheese. My worst nightmare would be finding out I've developed a dairy intolerance. Like you, I adore cheese to an unhealthy degree. Like I hosted a Cheese Party where people had to bring cheese or a food primarily consisting of cheese for TEN YEARS STRAIGHT. I love me some cheese.

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    1. I totally completely understand! I used to be like you. Then I decided to see if I could stop eating cheese and lo and behold I felt great and lost 10 pounds. Now, this is not for everyone - it's HARD! - but it's been really fun for me. Oh, but, like, if you have another cheese party someday ... PLEASE INVITE ME :)

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