Sunday, November 11, 2007

Vegan MoFo: Pizza!

Okay, my last two posts of have been really sucky, so I'll be more charming and interesting today to make up for it. Actually, I'm a little hung over (see yesterday's post), so I can't guarantee that I'll be charming, but I can give you a pizza recipe.

It's too bad that we associate pizza with junk food. Of course, it often is. Consider the average pizza-joint pizza: overly-sweet marinara on a nutritionally empty crust, covered in flavorless cheese that's inundated with grease. Yes, it's safe to say that too much Domino's will not help you get fit.

But who says that all pizza has to be like Domino's? Whole wheat crusts taste much more complex and interesting than ones made with bleached, refined flour. Pizza sauce doesn't need sugar or sodium. I put FYH cheddar and Tofutti cream cheese on the pictured pie, but it was mostly because wanted to use them up. I actually think that cheeseless pizza can be much better than pizza that's smothered in saturated fa--I mean, cheese. Roasted eggplants, fresh tomatoes, and roasted garlic are an amazing pizza combo that could only possibly be diminished by the addition of drippy, pus-filled cheese. But I digress--pizza topping preferences are as beautiful and unique as snowflakes, and therefore, I'll give you my crust and sauce recipe, so you can do with them as you please.

Gwenlet Piglet Pizza Crust
I used beer as a leavening agent instead of yeast here because I'm lazy. I'm also a college student, and beer is pretty much omnipresent. The vital wheat gluten adds a little protein to the crust, and makes it moister and springier. And everyone likes springy pizza.

½ C +1 Tbsp. whole wheat pastry flour
½ C AP flour
1 Tbsp. vital wheat gluten
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
4 oz. beer of your choice (I like Sam Adams Oktoberfest)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together the flours, salt, and the baking powder. Add the beer, mix it until it's incorporated, and then knead it with your hands. The dough doesn’t need to rise, but it’ll be pretty sticky (handle it with wet hands). Turn the dough out onto a cookie sheet (covering it with parchment paper makes the bottom of the crust nice and crisp), and flatten it with your hands, making an indentation in the middle for the sauce and toppings. Once you've assembled your pizza, bake it for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is golden and dark around the edges.

Yet Unnamed Pizza Sauce
Unlike a lot of tomato sauces, this one actually counts as a serving of vegetables, and won't give you hypertension. I like it on pasta, too.

2 tomatoes
1 red pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 + tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried rosemary
5-10 fresh basil leaves

Roast the garlic cloves in an oven or a toaster oven. Slice and roast the red pepper in a cast iron pan over medium high heat, until the skin blackens. Using a blender or an immersion blender, blend the tomato, garlic cloves, basil, and red pepper together. Mix the oregano and rosemary into the sauce, and pour it onto the pizza.

Topped with veggies and divided into three slices, this pizza comes out to about 210 calories per slice, low in sugar, sodium, and really low in fat. Does that sound like junk food to you?


Laloofah said...

Hi! I just discovered your blog and love the idea of using beer instead of yeast in your whole wheat pizza crust. Brilliant! We're far-removed from our college student days, but my husband is a homebrewer, so vegan organic beer is pretty ubiquitous around here, too. He'll love this idea!

Also, I want to make your pizza sauce (I hate sweet Italian sauces, and avoid food with added oils). But I'm wondering how many tomatoes you use?

Thanks for the info, your blog, and for being vegan! :-)

Gwenlet said...

Hi there! It depends on how much sauce you want--a two to one ration for tomatoes to peppers is good. One tomato is fine for one pizza, unless it's bigger than my recipe (which is easily doubled). Hope that helps!

I'm jealous that your husband home brews beer. That sounds awesome!

Laloofah said...

Hi, Gwenlet!
Thank you so much, I was curious about the ratio of tomatoes to spices so that is indeed helpful! We'll probably give your pizza recipe a whirl next weekend. I totally agree with you, by the way, that (vegan) cheese-less pizza is the way to go. Especially if you have a flavorful sauce and nice fresh toppings.

My husband is an amazing brewmeister (must be in his German DNA or something!) and he's made some awesome brews (one with blood oranges, another with Flathead Cherries from Montana, and he's made several wonderful dark ales!) I'd send you a sample over "the internets," but fear it would short out my keyboard. ;-)

Thank you again for the pizza sauce info and the recipes! I'd love to add a link to your blog from my own, if that's okay with you!

s.j.simon said...

:) did you know how cheese was invented? It wasnt necessity, it was an accident, read this