I love pizza. I admit it. It's my go to meal of choice when we're out for date night. And yes, that means it's usually slathered with cheese. Restaurants just don't offer a vegan version of this go-to classic. Vegetarian sure, but vegan, no. I guess it's an Italian thing.
So I thought it was high time I created a plant-powered version at home. Now the conundrum - what to do if no cheese? What creamy gooey deliciousness was going to hold all the flavours together? Herby Hemp Pesto is what! The creamy nuttyness of this pesto totally does away with the need for cheese. Phew. Save that beautiful dairy milk for the baby calves.
In terms of the base you can do this any which way you like, but I've decided to rock out a cauliflower, buckwheat and quinoa base for this one seen as I'm in my home kitchen (there's no way in heck we're going to get vegan AND cauli/buckwheat/quinoa based up at the local Italian joint). This makes the whole meal gluten free, and also suitable for people following a Paleo style fitness diet. It does however taste different to a regular wheat-based pizza, so keep your mind broad and your thoughts embracing. It's also more fragile and sticky than a wheat base, but still totally doable.
Right, let's get to it.
Makes 1 pizza, serves 2
*Always use certified organic ingredients whenever possible*
1 small cauliflower (stems & florets but not leaves, save these for my Get Your Greens soup, or juice them up with an apple)
1c buckwheat/quinoa flour (i used 1/2 of each - perfecto)
1/2tsp sea salt
1/2tsp dried basil
1/2tsp dried oregano
1Tbsp chia seeds
1Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 clove garlic
2tsp yacon/coconut/agave syrup
Blend in a food processor: 1/3c pine nuts/walnuts, 1 large handful basil, 1 large handful parsley, and 2 cloves garlic. Add juice of 1/2 lemon (and a little grated rind if you like), 1/3c hemp seed oil, 1/4tsp sea salt & pepper to taste. I also added 1 Tbsp of almond butter which really smoothed it out.
Cut cauliflower and stem into small pieces, and pop in food processor. Process for a few minutes until they become like a fine moist flour. Add all other base ingredients to food processor, and blend another minute or two til combined.
Grease a tray with olive or coconut oil (be generous here, you'll thank me for it), then spread liberally with extra flour. This is very important or your base WILL stick. Spread out the dough onto the pizza stone or tray til it forms a round, then pop in the over at 175C for 20 mins, it will be light brown and slightly crispy on the top.
Take it out of the oven and now it's time to flip. Turn it over onto a plate carefully, and scrape down the top if any has stuck to the pizza stone/tray. Don't worry if it looks a little ugly at this stage, we're going to cover that all up with toppings shortly. Pop back in the oven for another 10 mins to crisp up the top.
Remove and top with tomato sauce and any toppings of your choosing. I used mushroom, yellow capsicum, kalamata olives, and slow roasted tomatoes, but you could also use spinach, corn, artichokes, courgettes, fresh baby toms, sundried toms, or capers; the world is your plant-based oyster here. Pop back in the oven for another 10 mins at the same temperature. Then remove, let cool for 5-10 mins, dollop with hemp pesto (one dollop for each slice works nicely), and sprinkle with fresh herbs - oregano, basil or parsley. This is even tastier the next day as the base as really settled and crisped up - if there's any left that is.
If you want to read more about the amazing vitamin-E-filled Omega-EFA-pumping benefits of hemp seed oil, check out my post here. Gracie and enjoy!
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