Seriously, though – making a lifestyle change based on one meal is a bit much to ask. So maybe let’s focus on that thin pie slice of maybe-could-be-vegan-but… sorts. You know, the ones who say things like “But I love cheese too much.” Yes, I realize that’s tomorrow’s prompt. So let’s refocus on the pie metaphor and make a goddamn delicious vegan pizza.
I’ve made a lot of vegan pizzas over the years, trying to find what works, because I cannot with the options available at pizza restaurants. (How sad! I really did eat a lot of omni pizza in my youth…) The key thing is getting used to pizza without the chewy, melty layer of cheese–DAIYA DOES NOT COUNT, ICK–and somehow giving it that rich, salty, yummy thing that omni pizza has in spades. The key, I’ve found, is that things must be pre-cooked–spinach sauteed, especially–and olive oil generously applied. Seasoning is critical. Best toppings include mushrooms, spinach, well-spiced crumbled tempeh, artichoke hearts, and cherry tomatoes. But, if I’m honest, my version of a deep-dish pie piled with vegan staples isn’t going to calm the culinary nerves of a soy-phobic non-vegan.
America’s Test Kitchen, bastion of omnivorous home cooking, came out with a brilliant vegan cookbook this year, Vegan for Everybody. They applied their nigh-scientific methodology to a full slate of vegan cooking techniques, including ricotta subs (cashew, tofu, cauliflower, etc.). And one of its applications is this gorgeous mushroom pizza: sauteed cremini AND shiitake mushrooms, garlic, a really good homemade whole wheat crust, cashew ricotta, and parsley. Simple, but delicious and substantial. It feels fancy. And it might help change a mind or two: Hey, maybe this could be OK.
Served with salad. Because vegans gotta vegan.