A pizza so delicious, a preteen will eat it. And so delicious, you may forget it is healthy.
Many of you know that I just finished up a month on the road traveling across the country sharing some inspiration about living a healthy life and talking about some of the injustice in regards to health. There were so many great experiences and stories from this trip. It is difficult to put into words, though I will try over the next few weeks.
Definitely one of the highlights was getting to cook dinner with my 11-year-old niece (technically speaking, she is my 2nd cousin). She is a spunky and smart preteen who can play a mean game of hockey. It was so fun to spend some time talking food with her! It was important to me to cook something that was gluten-free and vegan, but delicious enough to open some minds to this style of eating. Pizza seemed like a pretty safe bet.
So... I went to the internet for some ideas. Detoxinista provided some inspiration for the crust.... thankfully. I love her recipes! And, this crust is definitely a keeper. Her addition of almond meal makes this crust over the top! I did modify it a little adding some extra chia for a thicker crust and some nutritional yeast for some cheese flavoring. Nutritional yeast has not been my favorite ingredient in the past, but it does add some extra B12 in addition to the extra flavor.
This recipe is full of so many health-promoting foods like walnuts and chia seeds that are both high in beneficial Omega 3s. There are also a few servings of veggies hidden in this mouth-watering healthy pizza. All of the saturated fats, extra sugars, and artificial flavorings have been removed. This recipe nothing but plant-based, whole food scrumptiousness.
But before getting to the recipe, here are some tips:
Let's be clear: this pizza is not going to taste like your favorite pizza place in Detroit or Chicago. If this is the expectation going in, then you will likely be left disappointed. This is not the intention with this recipe. This recipe is meant to provide a way to enjoy all of comfort food benefits of pizza, without all of the artery clogging side effects. If your expectation is rather to have a delicious meal that you can feel good about eating, then this is definitely the recipe for you.
It took half as long and was twice as delicious the second time I made it. If you are going to try this recipe, consider trying it at least twice. My friend (Jessica) and I made this recipe plus a salad, a Vegan Zucchini Noodle Salad, Quinoa Lentil Power Bowl, and Chocolate Chia Pudding one night in less than an hour. It can be done quickly, just not likely the first time.
Please, whatever you do to modify this recipe... don't skip draining the cauliflower of the extra liquid or the parchment paper lining of the pan. Otherwise, you will likely end up with a mushy, soggy crust that has to be eaten with a fork. Promise. I tried it already and it didn't work. And, we all know that it is way more fun to pick up a piece of pizza to eat it than it is to eat it with a fork.
Finally, I haven't really been a fan of vegan cheeses over the years either, but the Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds really do work in this recipe.
Oh! And, this pizza pairs really well with a salad tossed in a light vinaigrette. We made ours simply with organic greens, shredded carrots, and sliced cucumbers. In regards to the toppings, please do experiment with what is in season from your local Farmers' Market... it will make it taste that much more delicious to know that you are feeding your local community as well as your health.
The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.
- Thomas Edison
The Best Gluten-free Vegan Pizza Recipe
Makes 4-8 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
2 pounds cauliflower "rice" (fresh is best, or frozen)
5T + 2T ground chia seeds
1c almond meal
2T nutritional yeast
1t garlic powder
1t Italian seasoning
1c coarsely chopped fresh basil
2t minced garlic
2T fresh lemon juice
1/2c olive oil
Pinch of salt
1 package of Daiya "mozzarella cheese"
1 package of mushrooms
1 bunch of broccolini
2 small zucchini
1-2T olive oil for sauteing veggies
1 package organic soy chirozo (in most stores' refrigerated section near the tofu)
Prepare the crust:
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Cook the cauliflower rice in a large pot by covering with water and bringing to a light boil. Reduce heat, cover, and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Once cauliflower is cooked, place it in a non-plastic freezer-safe container. Leave to cool in freezer for 10-15 minutes.
Make "chia egss": in small bowl, combine 5T ground chia seeds with water. Mix well and allow to sit.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 2T chia seeds, almond meal, nutritional yeast, salt, and seasonings.
Remove cauliflower from freezer and place in a cheesecloth to remove excess liquid. Before careful to not burn yourself. The cauliflower may still be hot.
You can always place it back in the freezer and allow it to cool more while you start preparing the pesto sauce.
Mix together the dry ingredients with the chia eggs and cauliflower. Combine well, you will likely have to use your hands to work into dough.
Line a large rectangular cookie sheet with parchment paper. Form the dough to the edges of the sheet. Place in oven for 20-30 minutes or until browned on edges.
Prepare the pesto:
In a blender or food processor, combine walnuts, basil, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Blend until a thick sauce is formed.
Prepare the toppings:
Brown the soy chorizo according to the package instructions.
Wash the mushrooms well and cook in olive oil over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Remove mushrooms from heat and set aside.
Wash the broccolini well and cut into decorative, diagonal pices. Cook in olive oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
Wash the zucchini well and cut into decorative, diagonal pieces. Cook in olive oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
Assemble the pizza:
Remove the crust from the oven.
Carefully spread pesto over all of the crust.
Spread 3/4 of package of Daiya cheese.
Layer soy chorizo and veggies.
Cover with remaining 1/4 package of Daiya cheese.
Place pizza back in oven to cook for 7-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!