Sunday, 18 May 2014

Making Pizza...When You Don't Eat Cheese

This weekend I celebrated my birthday - I love birthdays!  Even at 36 I still get that giddy feeling you had as a child.  Lately we've been on a homemade pizza kick, so this weekend I decided to try two different types.  However, pizza can be a challenge when a) you don't eat meat, b) you don't eat cheese, and, c) you prefer not to used store-bought sauce.  So I brained stormed, and came up with two delicious pizzas that I believe even a meat and cheese lover would enjoy. 

Pizza one:  I did buy store-bought pizza crust as there is a brand I like that is as healthy as it's going to get without being homemade.  For this pizza, I brushed the crust in olive oil and garlic.  I then created a bed of spinach leaves (about 2 inches in height -  you want LOTS of spinach as it will steam when cooking and becomes a very thin layer in the end).  After that I sliced up two large tomatoes and layered them over the bed of spinach.  Topped off with some green and black olives, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and then the best part:  Nutritional Yeast.  I've mentioned this before, but nutritional yeast is the "go to" for vegans (though I'm not vegan...I do eat fish and yogurt).  It has a delicious nutty/cheesy flavour and is PACKED with B Vitamins.  It is also high in fibre, protein and folic acid.  I LOVE it and use it daily on my food. 

I baked the pizza till the edges were brown.  It is SO delicious and has such a fresh taste.  You could add so many things to it including basil leave, kale, artichokes, mushrooms, etc.  The possibilities are endless. 

Pizza two:  I went for something more filling and chose to make a pierogi pizza!  I first washed some potatoes in vinegar and water, and then cut them - leaving the skin on - for boiling.  I boiled till soft and then mashed them with butter (another dairy product I DO have from time to time), almond milk, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and then some nutritional yeast to give them that cheesy flavour that often comes with pierogies.  I topped the pizza crust with a thick layer of mashed potatoes.  Then I caramelized some onions and mushrooms.  On top of the potatoes I added a bed of spinach again - spinach adds so many nutrients and has a mild flavour, so I add it to a lot of our meals.  Over the spinach came the cooked onions and mushrooms.  Then a bit of salt and pepper and in to the oven it went.  I topped mine off with a dollop of plain Greek Yogurt. 

Two DELICIOUS pizzas - and both without cheese and/or sauce!   Both were packed with nutrients and left us feeling satisfied.  Sometimes  you have to think outside the box with meals when you choose to eliminate certain foods, but it's actually quite fun to create new recipes and  I find myself cooking with a lot of spices I didn't tend to use when eating meat and cheese. 

Hope these two recipes inspire you to create your own "pizza magic"! 

Pierogi pizza on the left, fresh tomato and spinach pizza on the right

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