Recipe: Whole Wheat Vegan Pizza

image-8

I’m pretty proud of this melt-in-your-mouth homemade creation.

Ah, how I love pizza. It is one of the things I miss most about the Standard American Diet: a hot, cheesy, slice of deliciousness with a satisfying, carb-y crunch at the end.  I have definitely been known at my low points to succumb to late night pizza desires, preferably at Antonio’s Pizza by the Slice:

Exhibit A.

Exhibit A.

So, after getting off of work an hour and a half later than usual tonight, I wanted something for dinner that would really hit the spot. This pizza sure did the trick…I am a bit ashamed to admit I ate a whopping three slices.

The other awesome thing about homemade pizza is that it has the same all-purpose function as a great casserole: you can chop up any unused vegetables in your refrigerator before they would otherwise go to waste. Tonight, I literally took out every perishable veggie from my fridge, methodically chopped them all up, and tossed them artfully on my pie.

Even though I have recently begun to suspect that I’m slightly sensitive to gluten, I decided to bite the bullet and use up the rest of my whole-wheat, organic King Arthur’s flour in the spirit of using my unused food. (I recently bought gluten-free brown rice flour and am excited to try it in some new recipes, soon to come.)

image-6

She is a thing of beauty.

Whole Wheat Vegan Pizza

for the dough

  • 3 1/2 cups organic, whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur’s brand)
  • 2 tbsp dry, active yeast
  • Freshly cracked sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cups warm water (not too hot–you should be able to touch it with your finger)

for the toppings
(once again, you can really use anything you want here- this is what I used today)

  • 3 chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 2 chopped jalapeño peppers, seeded and pitted
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced into thin circles
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into thin circles
  • 1 jar organic pasta sauce (make sure there is no sugar in the ingredients)
  • red pepper flakes
  • paprika
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • Daiya mozzarella-flavored “cheese” (I used half mozz+half cheddar, because I only had a little mozz left)
  • Freshly torn basil leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil (preferably organic and cold-pressed)

dough instructions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Put the yeast and the warm water in a small bowl. Stir and let sit until dissolved.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the whole-wheat flour and salt. Press the (dried) cup measurer into the center of the flour to make a well-shaped indention.
  4. Pour the warm water and yeast mixture into the indention, and then mix the entire batter together. (I used a metal spoon at first, and then used my hands to really knead all the ingredients together.) Work the dough into a ball shape.
  5. Wash and flour your hands. Continue to add (small amounts) of flour to your hands and knead until the dough is no longer sticking to them.
  6. Wash out the bowl you used to mix the flour and water together. Lightly oil it with cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Place the dough ball in the bowl and cover with something that will let the dough “breathe” (damp paper towel, tea cloth, damp cloth, etc.)
  8. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 45 min-1 hr. I usually place the bowl in my oven, but don’t actually turn the oven on.
  9. Use a rolling pin (or tumbler glass, if you’re a poor college student like me) to roll the dough out onto a lightly greased 32 inch pizza pan. Make sure you get all of the air out.
  10. Put the tin in the oven for about 10 minutes to make sure the dough will bake completely in the center. Take the pan out, and increase the oven heat to about 350 degrees.

now, for the toppings:

  1. Add the pasta sauce, and spread evenly across the dough. If you’re a sauce-lover like myself, you might use as much as a whole jar.
  2. Begin to add your toppings. I like to add the bigger stuff on the bottom: sliced tomato, sliced zucchini, etc., and work my way to the finely chopped ingredients: garlic, jalapeño, etc.
  3. Add any spices you like. I added paprika, freshly cracked pepper, and red paper flakes.
  4. Bake the pizza in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of baking, add the Daiya and torn basil. (Slice into the center of the pizza to make sure the dough is fully cooked before removing.)
  5. Let cool for 5 minutes, and enjoy!

I served this dish with a side of yesterday’s Crunchy Vegan Kale Chips…a perfectly light complement to this hearty meal.

Recipe: Vegan Southwestern Broccoli Casserole

Gooey, creamy, and full of veggies -- this casserole was a hit.

Gooey, creamy, and full of veggies — this casserole was a hit.

Inspired by yesterday’s Broccoli Cheez Bites, I decided to whip up a casserole with similar ingredients for dinner tonight. I haven’t enjoyed a casserole since childhood, and I’m a little disappointed I haven’t thought to use them as a part of my poor-college-student arsenal of kitchen knowledge. Casseroles are incredibly cost-effective and easy to make. They also are a great way to incorporate unused veggies into a meal before they go to waste.

I have also never tried to make a vegan casserole. I think I did pretty well for my first attempt! After perusing the blogosphere for the ingredients in a “typical” casserole recipe, I came up with this concoction.

(You can literally use anything you want or have on hand in a casserole. These ingredients are the ones I had on hand, so this is what I came up with.)

Vegan Southwestern Broccoli Casserole

4 wild mushrooms, chopped
1 white onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
Garlic cloves to taste, minced (I love garlic, so I used about 4)
3 cups chopped broccoli
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 large roma tomatoes, chopped
Hummus (I used half a container of Lilly’s brand)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 1/2 cup salsa (or however much you desire-I love salsa and added a lot)
1/2 cup Daiya cheddar cheese (or any flavor, really)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix onion, bell peppers, garlic, cilantro, tomatoes, and broccoli together in a bowl.

Add salsa and mix together, using your hands. Add nutritional yeast and mix with hands. Add hummus and mix with hands. The result should be a thick, creamy mixture. (For an extra cheesy dish, add extra Daiya to the mixture as well.)

Lightly grease a glass casserole dish. Place the mixture evenly in the dish. Cover the top of the dish with a layer of Daiya cheese and freshly cracked pepper.

Bake for 30-45 minutes and enjoy!

Getting started: Vegan Pantry

I can't lie- I'm proud of my colorful refrigerator.

I can’t lie- I’m proud of my colorful refrigerator.

get rid of the garbage

Getting rid of the junk in your refrigerator is both rewarding and emotionally cleansing. It’s incredibly liberating to be able to kick your salad dressing, coagulated cheese slices, and packaged bacon to the curb. When I cleaned out my pantry and fridge, I read every label meticulously, gleefully tossing any food item that contained animal byproducts. Casein? See ya, cottage cheese thighs. Red no. 1? I’ll catch ya later, cancer. High fructose corn syrup? I’ll take my coffee without a side of heart disease, thank you very much.

(However, I did save all of the unopened goods that I would have otherwise tossed and donated them to a local food bank. There’s no need for unnecessary waste.)

Once your fridge is nice and empty, you’re ready to hit the grocery store. Typically, I buy all of these items once every two weeks, and restock the vegetables/parishables as needed.

organic vegetables

Of course you already know that you should be buying organic- so I won’t harp here. Bottom line, put your money where your mouth is and send a message to Uncle Sam that you aren’t okay with him messing with our crops. (I have starred the items that you must absolutely always buy organic. These are the fruits and veggies that have been exposed to the most amount of pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group.)

  • **Kale  – I buy about three bunches, so I can mix them in my morning green smoothie each day.
  • Spinach – Sometimes I do get lazy and buy the boxed organic kind, but of course it’s better to go with fresh bunches. Boxed spinach, even organic, is often subjected to a chlorinated wash cycle that you do not want to digest. I put about 2 cups in my morning smoothie each day.
  • **Celery – Another addition to the morning smoothie.
  • Cilantro – I throw this stuff in everything. It adds such a great fresh element.
  • Jalapeños – A great way to spice up any dish. I buy extra and chop them into dishes as I see fit.
  • Cauliflower – Incredibly versatile and a hearty texture. I love to use it in soups.
  • Broccoli – A steamer staple.
  • **Sweet potatoes – It’s very important to buy root vegetables organic. As they grow, they soak up the pesticides around them even more than their above-ground counterparts.
  • **Russet potatoes – I love a good russet potato; there’s something so hearty and comforting about it.
  • Parsley – A vitamin-packed addition to any plate. I like to add a bit to my morning green smoothie.
  • Green onions – My favorite item to jazz up a dish. I buy them by the dozen.
  • **Regular onions – Mmmm, onions. I use them in almost everything I make.
  • Asparagus – I usually serve them in conjunction with veggie burgers and a great hummus dip.
  • Broccolini – Nutrient packed, I think these are served well with asparagus. 
  • ** Bell peppers, all colors – Each week I chop a ton of peppers up and store them in the fridge for quick preparation. I add them to everything I make.
  • Garlic – Another staple addition; garlic has also been shown to be a natural weight loss food.
  • Roma tomatoesMy favorite tomato, they are a bit sweeter than regular tomatoes and are better for single-portion servings.
  • Yellow squash- a perfect addition to a sandwich or pasta.
  • Zucchini – I use them interchangeably with yellow squash.

organic fruits

I buy much less fruit than vegetables. Usually, I will only use them in my morning smoothie, rotating which type I toss in depending on my mood for the day.

  • Banana bunch (small)
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries 
  • Avocado
  • Lemons, limes

spices

I definitely do not buy spices every time I visit the grocery store. I like to buy spices in bulk – they are much cheaper and last forever. Plus, it’s pretty fun to pick out fancy flavors and scoop them into your reusable spice jar.

  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Garlic powder
  • Tumeric
  • Cayenne powder
  • Paprika
  • Arrowroot
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Oregano
  • Anything your heart desires

whole grains and beans

I do NOT bring home any grain product unless it 100% whole grain. I try to limit the amount of processed grains I consume (breads, buns, pasta, tortillas, etc) and focus mostly on quinoa and beans. But a girl’s gotta live, and sometimes all that will satisfy my carb craving is a toasted bagel with nondairy cream cheese.

for everyday use

  • whole wheat, organic quinoa
  • brown rice
  • any type of dry bean or lentil – throw these in the slow cooker and they will soften like a charm, without the added sodium

for semi-weekly use

  • whole grain tortillas
  • whole wheat buns
  • whole grain pastas 
  • whole grain sandwich bread
  • whole grain chips 

treats

  • whole grain bagels
  • whole wheat flour – perfect for homemade bread and vegan cookies

meat and dairy replacers

Again, I choose not to consume these every day; but sometimes they are all that gets me through.

  • Daiya cheese, in all variations
  • Tofutti cream cheese
  • Tofutti sour cream
  • Soy yogurt (make sure there is no casein)
  • Non-dairy milk (almond, rice, soy, hemp…)
  • Extra firm, vitamin-fortified tofu
  • Tempeh

Earth Balance Butter is so amazing it get’s its own category. This stuff has the exact consistency of “regular” butter, and is an unbelievably delicious substitute for Parkay.

fun stuff

  • Hummus – possibly my favorite thing in the entire world.
  • Salsa – Closely following hummus on my list of favorites. Make sure you buy it in a glass jar to avoid preservatives.