Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cheese-Less Flatbread Pizzas: They're Re-Vegan-Diculous!

So, here's the deal: I was never a big "cheese lover" when it came to pizza (even before becoming vegan). I always hated how the melted cheese got super-stringy, like an obnoxiously long strand of gum or something.

Basically (in my book) too much cheese = too much chewing + too many distractions, which does not make for an enjoyable pizza-eating experience.

That's why I always found it kinda crazy when people would go ballistic about vegans eating cheese-less pizza. ("No cheese, what's the point?" "You're ruining that pizza, ya know!")

Then I realized that all of this disdain had nothing to do with cheese-less pizza generally, but everything to do with BAD cheese-less pizza (and just the idea of cheese-less pizza for some) specifically. I will admit it, eating 2 or 3 terrible cheese-less pizzas will have even a stringy-cheese-hating girl like me reaching for the faux-cheese. Stat!


However, I'm here to tell you that it doesn't have to be that way. You don't have to permanently give up your faux-cheese, or even become vegan, but I implore you to give homemade cheese-less pizza a try!

I'll even show you how in - you guessed it - this very post...

This pizza pictured above is one of my favorites: Potato + Rosemary. It's simple to prepare, and it'll make your belly happy in the special way that only carbs, plus more carbs, can!

To make it, start by lightly brushing your flatbread with some olive oil. (I bought my flatbread at Target - of all places - but you could just as easily make your own.) Top it with a few thinly sliced Yukon Gold potatoes (you should microwave them first so they're baked before the pizza goes into the oven). Brush the potatoes lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle them with fresh ground black pepper and Kosher salt. Top everything off with some dried rosemary (roll it in your hands to release the flavor, and use as much/little as you like). Finally, add a few cloves of crushed garlic to your pizza before cooking it. Bake for approx. 10 mins in a 400 degree oven.
the pizzas before and after baking

The pizzas pictured, above, are named The Super Veggie, and Tommy Basil, respectively. The Tommy Basil springs forth from my love of balsamic vinegar, which pairs perfectly with tomatoes, while The Super Veggie has obvious origins.

To prepare the Tommy Basil, brush your flatbread with olive oil, and top it with several thinly sliced tomatoes. Next, liberally sprinkle the entire pizza with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Then, drizzle a few teaspoons of good-quality balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes. Finally, stack several leaves of fresh basil on top of one another and cut them into a chiffonade, reserving them until the pizza has cooked. Bake at 400 degrees for approx. 10 mins, remembering to scatter the basil on top when it's done.

To make The Super Veggie, begin by spreading a tomato-based sauce (I used leftover arrabiata sauce) over your flatbread, leaving a bit of space along the edges to create a "crust." Next, top with a few sliced tomatoes, some thinly sliced red onion, and gobs of sliced green and black olives. Then, scatter a few handfuls of spinach (cut into a chiffonade) on top. Finally, press a few cloves of garlic over the whole thing, taking care to spread it evenly over the entire pizza. Bake in a 400 degree oven for approx. 10 mins.


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30 comments:

  1. mmm pizzzzzza is always oh so good! But yours look fantabulous!!!!!

    Great blog!

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  2. I am totally with you on the cheese thing.. I was never a fan either. That potato rosemary pizza sounds awesome. Yay for carbs!

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  3. Totally agree with ya about the cheesy bit. I've always hated the smell it left on my upper lip...bleagh!

    Anyhoo - I am insanely jealous...your pizzas are like perfection!

    Girl you got me craving for carbs like right NOWWWWWWWWWW!!! Evil JD ;)

    xoxo

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  4. Before I went vegan there's no way I would have made a cheeseless pizza - but now I realize how DELICIOUS they are! I love your combos and your photos are great!

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  5. YUM!!! I seriously NEED to eat pizza now after seeing this. Yes, I am guilty of being a BIG cheese person, but, I honestly think pizza can be awesome without the cheese.

    I LOVED your post so much I had to share it in my AM post too :)

    I LOVE the wrap with string cheese idea - I might have to borrow that one - fast, easy and seriously quesadillas rock!

    I made up one of your vitatop parfaits today - OMG so amazing! thanks for the idea.

    http://danicasdaily.blogspot.com/2009/05/vitatop-parfait-with-cashew-butter-yum.html

    Have a fantastic day - this is so going on my list to make ASAP!

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  6. These pizzas look fantastic! We never liked stringy cheese pizzas either, especially after my son nearly choked to death eating it! I love potato on pizza, but I've never had a JUST potato pizza - it looks really great!

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  7. That's my kind of pizza! Yum!

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  8. Gorgeous pizza! I'm all about no cheese, extra sauce and lots of veggies!
    -A

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  9. I loved the cheese - stringiness, chewiness, and all, but whole-heartedly agree - good pizza does not need it.

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  10. Thanks for the comment on my blog. I love pizza's versatility. I've made a thai pizza and a roasted vegetable pizza w/o cheese, and they definitely didn't feel like anything was missing.
    Your pizza pics look great!

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  11. Thanks for the comments on the cake.

    I have seen Milk, and I think I have seen bits and pieces of The Times of Harvey Milk. My mom rented it on netflix and said it was really good. I was just thinking about that today.

    I've never seen Frost/Nixon, maybe it was someone else. I may have to rent it now.

    By the way, the pizzas look great. I love love love pizza without tomato sauce, or with minimal tomato sauce. The potato one looks especially good.

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  12. Before becoming vegan I DID love the gooey stringy cheese on my pizza. In fact, it was one of the things I never thought I could give up. But, I discovered that pizza sans cheese is amazing, as you have more than amply demonstrated. Your pizzas look so perfect. Thanks for all the great ideas.

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  13. Holy, CRAP! Potatoes on a pizza? That's something I'm really gonna have to try...maybe sneak some sweet potatoes in too? And yes, cheese (vegan or not) ruins a pizza, I'm much more of an extra sauce kinda girl.


    -Natalie
    P.S. Nice to meet you, *will be adding to the blog roll*

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  14. Holy, CRAP! Potatoes on a pizza? That's something I'm really gonna have to try...maybe sneak some sweet potatoes in too? And yes, cheese (vegan or not) ruins a pizza, I'm much more of an extra sauce kinda girl.


    -Natalie
    P.S. Nice to meet you, *will be adding to the blog roll*

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  15. Oh WOW! These flatbread pizzas look amazing. I could totally go for one right now. Delicious! I'm definitely going to be making this soon!

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  16. sorry for taking so long to get back to you vegan who is not a fan of tofu. I was in NYC not eating tofu.I gave in to buying some tempeh which i have no idea how to prepare it. I have a feeling it will be worse than tofu. will add u to my blogroll if u dont mind.

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  17. Oh yum I know I'd love all of these! I love potato on pizza.

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  18. They all look fantastic, but that potato rosemary one has my name all over it. Yum!!!

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  19. Such bright, beautiful photos! These look so delicious, I'm really tempted to make pizza for dinner tonight now!

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  20. Mmmm I love pizza! I just had it for dinner tonight (vegan). two half sheets for two ppl.

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  21. Lovely pizza's!!! You are spot on about getting over a tasteless cheeseless pizza. When you make homemade it is the best! You don't even miss the cheese when you make homemade because all of the herbs and everything else you put on it. My family loves homemade pizzas. I just made a few last week.

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  22. these look gorgeous! I gotta get myself to Target for some flatbread.

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  23. Thanks so much for all of the nice comments everyone!

    I was glad to read that I'm not the only one who hated the stringy-ness of cheese on pizza in my pre-vegan days... that bit of reassurance definitely made me feel less weird :)

    PS If anyone has a tasty, reliable flatbread recipe, don't hesitate to let me know!

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  24. I had to respond to the comment you left about tempeh because I did the exact same thing! I bought tempeh last summer from Whole Foods, let it sit in my freezer, finally went to use it about a month ago and then was scared it had gone bad. Haha so I bought some more and this time I WILL use it! =) Oh and I forgot to mention the first time I read this post that I love that plate in the top picture!

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  25. These look so beautiful. Tommy Basil, hee! Have always wanted to try potato pizza, have heard so many good things about it.

    But I must confess to being a cheese-lover :)

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  26. Hi JD,

    I haven't made pizza in so long. This looks so good! Thanks for the recipe.

    I'm Hua, the director of Wellsphere's HealthBlogger Network, a network of over 2,000 of the best health writers on the web (including doctors, nurses, healthy living professionals, and expert patients). I think your blog would be a great addition to the Network, and I'd like to invite you to learn more about it and apply to join at http://www.wellsphere.com/health-blogger. Once approved by our Chief Medical Officer, your posts will be republished on Wellsphere where they will be available to over 5 million monthly visitors who come to the site looking for health information and support. There’s no cost and no extra work for you! The HealthBlogger page provides details about participation, but if you have any questions please feel free to email me at hua@wellsphere.com.

    Best,
    Hua

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  27. oooh! they look really fabulous. I love both cheezeless and moderately cheezed pizzas.

    The tomato one is calling my name. well actually they all are. Thanks for posting all the different pizzas. In addition to the obvious pizza party, think they would be perfect for a cocktail party.

    I like to make dreena's tortilla hummus pizza. It's cheezeless and easy. I put pineapple, basil, onions and red peppers on top. mmmm...

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  28. Those look amazing! I recently found a recipe for coca, a kind of Spanish flatbread which is covered with all kinds of vegetables, or something animals, but no cheese. One that I really have my eye on is completely packed with roasted red peppers sprinkled with sugar to caramelize them. Who needs cheese?! :) Thanks for sharing.

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  29. Great recipe. I would avoid the microwave though, the dangerous radiation is not worth the "convenience".. better to boil potatoes a little first!

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment! I'm really glad that you liked the recipe - potatoes are fantastic on pizza! And, I completely agree with you regarding the microwave. My opinions about using it have changed so much during the last few years. Thanks for pointing out that the "convenience" factor might come at a price... Take care!

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