Chesse-less Pizza

[donotprint] Pizza without cheese is like bread without butter…right?

Wrong…I was never a fan of butter, the thinnest spread imaginable sometimes landed on my toast, but butter on bread was one of my worst nightmares as a kid. Cheese on pizza was a different story altogether. Deep dish cheese loaded pizza was one of my favourite indulgences growing up. Come Friday evening half a 12 inch with a side of fries and I was happy camper.

As the years went buy the crusts became thinner, the toppings more varied, the cheeses more adventurous. The last of my cheese pizzas was the first of many spelt dough bases, which now seems like a lifetime ago. Since deciding to go down the predominantly vegan route I’ve been avoiding whipping up a pizza for fear that it just wouldn’t work, it might not seem complete without a sprinkling or dolloping of salty, stringy or crumbly dairy.

Seen as I’m fully immersed in the March Vegan Challenge there was no better time than to overcome my fear and create my first vegan pizza. I was pretty skeptical that the whole thing would work. I knew I could create something tasty but calling it pizza without cheese on it might be taking it a bit too far…

Eager to prove myself wrong I made a creamy “cheesy” bean and basil base and topped it with some of my favourite toppings…asparagus and artichokes, red onion and fresh basil sprinkled on top. I stuck with my simple spelt base (having finally gotten around to purchasing some more active dry yeast, my dough and bread making staple!) and stuck on the toppings before baking in the oven.

It smelt incredible, the “cheesiness” of the bean mixture and fresh basil wafted around the kitchen. I cautiously wheeled the pizza cutter through the crisp out crust and nibbled on my first slice… although the creamy bean sauce crisped up on the edge ever so slightly it remained as creamy as ever elsewhere making for a creamier pizza than would have been achieved with a sprinkling of cheese on top!

A hell of a lot more creamy beans went on top of that base than the cheese from pizzas gone by that it was filling the void for.

My mental block has now been completely overcome, I’ve been officially won over and my mind is now awash with vegan pizza toppings to try out!

Other posts which may be of interest…

Vegan Essentials

Classics Made Vegan [/donotprint]

Vegan Spelt Creamy Bean & Artichoke Pizza

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Servings – 1 – 7-8 inch pizza

Preparation Time – 1 hour

Cooking Time – 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the Spelt Pizza Base

  • 60g (1/2 cup) wholegrain spelt flour
  • 55ml (5 tbsp) warm water (half boiling, half cold)
  • 1 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Pinch of salt

Bean Sauce

  • 1/3 can of white beans (cannellini or haricot)
  • 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Toppings

  • 4 tinned artichoke hearts quartered
  • 4 asparagus spears sliced quartered
  • 1/4 red onion finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves torn

Directions

  1. Place warm water in a jug or bowl and sprinkle in yeast. Give it a little stir and set aside some place warm for 15 minutes until a thick foam forms on top and bubbles appear over the surface.
  2. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add oil to yeast mixture and pour in to a well in the centre of the flour. Fold flour in to the wet ingredients until a soft slightly tacky dough forms. Place dough on a floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes until smooth. Place in a bowl, cover with a piece of kitchen towel and set aside someplace warm until it’s doubled in size (between 50-60 minutes). I like to put mine in a turned off oven.
  4. Meanwhile add onion and olive oil to pan and cook for 3 minutes until just starting to soften. Set to one side until ready to assemble.
  5. After the dough has risen, preheat oven to 200C (400F) and place on a floured surface. Flatten with the palm of your hand before placing it on a non stick baking tray and pull and press the dough, stretching it until it is approximately 7 – 8 inches in diameter.
  6. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes.
  7. Blend together all bean sauce ingredients until smooth.
  8. Remove and spread bean sauce on top, followed artichokes, red onion and asparagus. Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
  9. Serve topped with fresh basil sprinkled over the top.

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5 Comments

    1. No not at all, you only let the dough rise once, pull and stretch it out, bake for a few minutes, wack on your toppings and bake a little more and you’re done 🙂