I'm having a hard time in the pizza area. A really hard time. I love pizza. So so much. And even though I think this recipe is delicious. It still does not satiate my unquenchable desire for ooey gooey tomatoey goodness.
So I went a searching on the interwebs.
And I couldn't find anything that looked good.
Everything was using substitute cheese product which although I get it, but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), my taste buds have been exposed to the most immaculate cheeses in my life, so substitution just won't do it for me.
And then there is the absence of pizza sauce. I know it isn't trendy or all that healthy, but if you have to remove the cheese factor, at least keep the sauce factor...wimper...
So I went to a few of my favorite non-vegan blogs and decided to follow Pioneer Woman's guidance as this pizza is her favorite. I love eggplant, I love garlic, I love tomato. A winning combo!
I went to Whole Foods and spent FAR too much money, but I decided to give some vegan cheese a go. I bought some Teese Mozzarella and prayed that this wouldn't taste like, well, a tease.
As I prepared the pizza with vegan touches here and there, I tried a little bite of the Teese...and it had the texture of mozzarella, but unfortunately, not the flavor. I went with it though.
I still have yet to find any vegan parmesan (this is one kind of cheese I don't care if it tastes all that much like the original since parmesan isn't that great in my mind), so the Teese Mozzarella was the only cheese factor.
Please excuse this horrendous picture. I had a guest over and we didn't have time to do a photo shoot, we needed to eat and watch "How to train your dragon." Such a sweet movie...I digress.
In the end the pizza was...ok. It needed another flavor. The Teese Cheese did melt, but it had a little bit of a rubbery texture. Maybe next time I'll put pineapple and jalapenos on the pizza (my favorite combination of flavors on pizza).
Here's the recipe from Pioneer Woman with my vegan substitutions:
FOR THE CRUST (MAKES TWO CRUSTS):
1 teaspoon Active Dry Or Instant Yeast
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
⅓ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
FOR THE PIZZA:
1 whole Large Eggplant (or Two Medium Eggplants)
Kosher Salt, For Sprinkling
1 pint Grape Tomatoes
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
8 ounces, vegan Mozzarella (I used Teese), Sliced Very Thin
Extra Virgin Olive Oil For Drizzling
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
TO MAKE THE CRUST:
Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water.
In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined.
Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you need it. ***It’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.
TO MAKE THE PIZZA:
Preheat oven broiler.
Slice the eggplant thinly. Sprinkle both sides with kosher salt and place into a strainer in the sink. Allow to sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse eggplant lightly in cold water, then pat the slices dry between layers of paper towels.
Slice grape tomatoes in half lengthwise and toss into a bowl with minced garlic.
Slice mozzarella very thinly.
Cut eggplant slices into fourths, and toss with olive oil. Arrange on a baking sheet and place 8 inches under the broiler.
Broil for 3 minutes, then toss around and broil another 3 minutes. Remove pan from oven and add tomato/garlic mixture. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove and set aside. (May do this 1 hour in advance.)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Drizzle olive oil on a large baking sheet and use fingers to coat thoroughly. Remove HALF the pizza dough from the bowl. Stretch pizza dough into a large rectangle, pressing with fingers to finish forming. Dough will be very thin.
Lightly drizzle a little olive oil on the dough and use fingers to spread. Lay mozzarella slices over the surface of the dough. Spread vegetables all over the surface of the cheese. Top with Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly. Remove from pan and slice with a pizza cutter. Serve immediately!
Does anyone out there have a GREAT pizza recipe that does not use imitation cheese??