After work one day, I decided to stroll over to the nearby Whole Foods to pick up some things I wasn’t able to find in my local supermarket (instant yeast being one of them). After I picked that up along with a few pantry staples, I strolled to the dairy section to see if they had changed their selection of vegan cheeses. The last time I looked, they only had lactose free cheeses, but not totally vegan cheeses. The lactose free ones still contained casein and whey proteins from the milk that Gary was sensitive to. This time around, I actually found something that was was totally vegan!
The package on the Vegan Gourmet Cheese from Follow Your Heart boasts that it melts just like real cheese! I was a little skeptical. I didn’t think it would be the same. It was on sale, so I picked up a block of mozzarella flavor and a block of monterey jack.
So, now I had the yeast, I had the cheese, and I had fresh tomatoes that was given to us by Gary’s sister from her garden. What a perfect way to test out the the cheese with a cheese pizza! I also had some basil leaves from the plant I’ve been growing in my Aerogarden. It was due for a pruning, so I clipped off a few leaves. It was the perfect amount to make the tomato sauce.
I started with the pizza dough. I used the pizza crust recipe from King Arthur Flour. The only difference I made was subbing half the flour for whole wheat flour. I messed up on my part during the 2nd rising time. I didn’t realize I had to roll it out and then let it rise. I let it rise before rolling it out. I let it pre-bake at 475° for 8 minutes as instructed plus another 15 minutes for the sauce and cheese, and the result was a very crispy crust that still tasted great. I still have half the dough in the freezer, so I know better for next time.
After the initial pre-bake, I topped it off with a fresh tomato basil sauce (recipe below) and then 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella vegan cheese. I shredded the whole thing and realized it was a lot. I was only able to use half of the 10 oz block. I froze the rest for later. I might end up using it for a casserole or something next.
Gary though this pizza tasted great. We both thought it could never replace real cheese pizza, but if you can’t have it, this is a great alternative. I won’t be buying it all the time, because it can get expensive for a small block of cheese. What it had in common with real cheese pizza? I burned the roof of my mouth just the same!
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups diced peeled fresh tomatoes (or one 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons fresh basil, coarsely chopped or 2 teaspoon dried basil
Heat oil in medium saucepan over a medium heat until hot.
Add garlic; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Stir in diced tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring and mashing tomatoes with potato masher until crushed. I used an immersion blender after about 10 minutes and whizzed on low a few times, leaving the sauce slightly chunky.
Stir in basil.
Place in small bowl; cool to room temperature This sauce may be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated or up to 2 months ahead and frozen.