Monday, April 10, 2006

Vegan Pepperoni Pizza

Okay, here it is in today's lunch, the holy grail of vegan ex-pizza junkies like myself - Pepperoni Pizza. I have been wanting to try this for quite a while, but have never been able to find the ingredients that I needed here where I live. So this weekend, I made another trip over the mountain to Asheville, NC and visited their awesome health food store over there called Earth Fare. They have absolutely everything. There I was able to find all of the vegan ingredients that I had been reading wonderful reviews about and had been just dying to combine into a vegan pepperoni pizza. I mean, if you've read rave reviews about all of the individual ingredients and you put them all together into something else, it has to be good right? Well it is. It's not only good, it is REALLY, REALLY, REALLY GOOD.

First, I made my pizza crust using my favorite recipe. When I normally make this dough, I change the amount of water to 1 1/4 cups and the amount of sugar to 1 Tbsp. Leaving everything else the same, it comes out perfect. This time, however, in an attempt to make the healthiest pizza possible, I used whole wheat pastry flour in place of the white flour. I could be wrong, but I assume whole wheat pastry flour is the same thing as whole wheat flour only ground a lot finer? It has the same fiber content as my whole wheat flour so I am hoping I am correct. The dough ended up being a little bit too wet, so I had to add a couple more tablespoons of flour to get it just right. After the initial rise, I divided it up into 4 oz. portions which I thought would make individual pizza crusts which, when sliced in half, would fit nicely into the lunchbox. I was right. They fit perfectly. Now, with a healthier crust, all I needed were the toppings.

I used my favorite pizza sauce recipe, and then topped it with Follow Your Heart's Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella and Light Life's Smart Deli Pepperoni Slices. I had read great things about both these products, and all I can say is that everything I read is true. I could go on and on about how good this pizza is. I mean, just look at it (if you click on the picture it shows you a larger version). It tastes every bit as good as it looks and it TOTALLY satisfies any lingering pepperoni pizza cravings that may have been left over from my omni days.

I finished the lunchbox with a salad to which I added a few mandarin orange slices I had left over, as well as a few dried cranberries that I picked up over in Asheville. The salad dressing in the blue container is just my old standby of olive oil, flax seed oil and balsamic vinegar.

That didn't leave much room for dessert, so I squeezed in a Cherry Pie Larabar. Besides being delicious, these things work perfectly with the lunchbox when you don't have a lot of room to spare. I mean, it's really kind of hard to believe that you can squeeze 1 1/2 servings of raw fruit down to fit into that little space. Oh where would I be without my Larabars?

Well, that about does it for Monday. I'm really excited about finally finding the ingredients I needed and figuring out how to make a healthy vegan pizza that tastes just as good as the very unhealthy NOT VEGAN version. I do enjoy making other types of vegan pizzas now at home which do not even contain any cheese or any kind of cheese substitute, and I love those too, but those are just like whole new foods to me. Something that I didn't eat before becoming vegan but something that I discovered after the fact and really enjoy now. Pizza like this, however, is just a delicious vegan clone of something that I, unfortunately, enjoyed way too much before wising up to the fact that there was such a huge amount of torture, abuse and death which was going in to making food that was not even good for me.

In case you're interested, this entire pizza in today's lunch has about 7-8 grams of fat, and all of it comes from Canola oil and Olive oil. I did a quick check over at a major pizza chain's website and found that their personal size pizza (with just cheese and pepperoni) has 30 grams of fat, plus oodles of cholesterol and just plain bad karma. Low fat, whole wheat crust, cruelty-free. I think it's a winner. If you like pizza, I highly suggest you try it. I don't think you will be disappointed. I'll shut up now. See everybody on Tuesday!


Anonymous said...

looks soo yummy! I love making my own spinach and soy cheese pizzas

Tanya Kristine said...

Mmm...pepperoniiii.... i hope that's nearly as good as the stuff i remember...

karen said...

Everybody raves about Follow your Heart Mozz and I didn't have much success with it. I found it didn't completely melt and it was wet when I shredded it. however, it tasted good on the pizza.
What did I do wrong? I know next time I will make the oven hotter- the web site says 450 degrees.

kennyboy said...

Yeah, you do have to get it up to 450 or more (I used 475) in order to get it above its melting point, after that it melts just like cheese.

It definitely was wet when trying to shred it. I used a food processor to shred it and it made a bit of a mess. I think it has exactly the same consistency as that Mori-Nu Silken Tofu that you buy off the shelf.

I don't know if you ever purchased one of those California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizzas from the grocery store when you were an omniovore, if you ever were, but the cheese on those is in little teeny tiny cubes instead of shreds. I made another big pizza at home tonight and I just cut a block of the Follow Your Heart stuff up into tiny cubes using a knife. It was very easy and didn't make a mess at all. I didn't waste any. I will probably just cube it up from now on.

Jane M said...

I love that Light Life Pepperoni..too much..I keep eating it all before I can get a pizza made...darn...tastes good though.

I've had the same experiences with the Follow Your Heart Mozz. I usually just put it on at the end and shove it under the broiler for a min or two. Melts very quickly that way!

the vegan vulcan said...

I'm going to be picking up one of these laptop lunchboxes when I start grad school this summer! Thanks for all the inspiration and ideas.

Follow Your Heart cheese really doesn't do it for me, though. . . I think I'm weird in that I luuuuurrrved most kinds of cheese as an o/l, but stopped craving stuff like mozerella and cheddar upon going vegan. Now, tofutti cream cheese. . . that's another story!

karen said...

Thanks for the suggestion on cubing the cheese! I'm going to try that next time. I used a handheld grater that you put the cheese in, shut the side and spin the handle.

kennyboy said...

I cut them really tiny. First I sliced the block into a bunch of thin slices (maybe 12-15 or so, not sure, as thin as I could get) then I stacked them in groups of 5 or 6 and sliced the groups into long thin rods, then I sliced the whole group of rods into teeny tiny little cubes.

good luck!

Jessica said...

Love the pizza - it looks divine! As to whole wheat pastry flour vs. regular whole wheat flour there acutally is a difference. I grind my own flours here at home and buy several different kinds of wheat to get different types of flours. Most regular whole wheat is made from a hard red or or hard white winter/spring wheat but pastry flour is made from soft white wheat. I hardly ever change fineness of the grind setting on my grain mill but each kind comes out looking differently. Hard red gives the coarsest grind whereas soft white the finest. It really comes down to the protein content of the different varieties of wheat. Sorry for the lengthy response - I get a bit obsessed with my grains!

kennyboy said...

Great info!