Pizza Week 2016, Day 2: Tomato Basil VioLife on Ultra Thin Crust

Vegan Tomato Basil VioLife Pizza
Tonight’s pizza: the lazy woman’s Tortilla Pizza, smothered in Tomato Basil VioLife cheese, topped with thinly sliced onion and tomato, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with nutritional yeast. Tortilla pizzas remind me of the ultra thin crust pizzas I had in Rome, it made it easy to eat an entire pizza yourself. In this case, I ate two! To get a nice crunchy crust, I placed the tortillas under the broiler, turning every so often until both sides were nice and firm, and just starting to brown.

When the tortillas are firm enough that you could add the toppings and stick your pizza straight on the rack without fear of it falling apart, it’s ready! I skipped the sauce and went straight for the cheese since the cheese has a tomato flavor anyway. And I didn’t use any seasonings because the basil really comes through beautifully.
Besides having a wonderful flavor, the olive oil helps the cheese melt. VioLife isn’t the meltiest vegan cheese out there, but under the broiler it gets bubbly and soft. I only put two torn up slices on the first pizza, but on the second pizza (pictured) I did four. Yes, I’m admitting to eating six pieces of this cheese in one meal. It’s that good.

How is your Pizza Week shaping up?

Pizza Week 2016, Day 1: Breakfast Pizza

It’s here, guys – Pizza Week is HERE!!! And I got started bright and early with a breakfast pizza. Now, I have to admit I lied yesterday when I finished my VioLife post by saying I was off to get my pizza crust started. I went to a party, came home and slept on the couch, got up at 3 to clean the kitchen, and made the dough around 3:45am. I didn’t realize I was almost out of flour, and the only yeast in the pantry…expired in 2010! But I decided to try it anyway, maybe it was still okay………

Well, this morning I checked my lump of dough safely set aside in the draft-free oven. It was REALLY cold in that oven! And the dough hadn’t risen at all. But I was not deterred, I would just have a flatbread pizza, simple as that.

Vegan Breakfast Pizza with VeganEgg and VioLife Cheese
And if you don’t mind my saying so, I think it turned out pretty darn well. In fact, it is beautiful.

Anyway, you can use your favorite crust recipe or a store-bought crust, or try my old favorite recipe from a vintage TimeLife cookbook. As for the toppings…

Vegan Breakfast Pizza
Crust of choice
1/4 – 1/2 C chopped onion (to taste)
1/4 – 1/2 C chopped bell pepper (to taste)
One serving VeganEgg, prepared scrambled
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil
Garlic powder, to taste
VioLife Prosociano (Parmesan), or other favorite vegan cheese

Preheat oven to 500.
Saute onions and bell pepper in oil just until tender. Set aside.
Prepare scrambled VeganEgg, seasoned with salt and pepper.

If you’re using a homemade pizza dough, oil your pizza pan, roll out the dough to desired thickness, and place dough on greased pan. If you’re using store-bought, just stick the crust on the pan ๐Ÿ™‚ Lightly drizzle crust/dough with olive oil and spread evenly. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Top with sauteed veggies and scrambled VeganEgg.

Bake for 5 – 10 minutes, or until crust is nicely browned. Remove from oven and immediately top with shaved Prosociano. If you’re in the US, we don’t have VioLife yet ๐Ÿ™ But you can use your favorite vegan parm, mozzarella, nutritional yeast, or just skip it!

But seriously…as soon as VioLife is available here, you MUST try the Prosociano. It’s a hard cheese with a great salty, nutty, and slightly sharp flavor. I’m going to be so sad when it’s gone, who knows when I’ll be able to get my hands on more??? If you’re ever in Greece or the UK, I recommend pulling an I Love Lucy-type move to smuggle it home – put a hollow prego-belly on under your shirt, and fill it with VioLife.

More pizza to come all week, more VioLife reviews, and a proper VeganEgg review coming soon!!!

Breakfast Pizza with VeganEgg

It’s here, guys – Pizza Week is HERE!!! And I got started bright and early with a breakfast pizza. Now, I have to admit I lied yesterday when I finished my VioLife post by saying I was off to get my pizza crust started. I went to a party, came home and slept on the couch, got up at 3 to clean the kitchen, and made the dough around 3:45am. I didn’t realize I was almost out of flour, and the only yeast in the pantry…expired in 2010! But I decided to try it anyway, maybe it was still okay………

Well, this morning I checked my lump of dough safely set aside in the draft-free oven. It was REALLY cold in that oven! And the dough hadn’t risen at all. But I was not deterred, I would just have a flatbread pizza, simple as that.

Vegan Breakfast Pizza with VeganEgg and VioLife Cheese
And if you don’t mind my saying so, I think it turned out pretty darn well. In fact, it is beautiful.

Anyway, you can use your favorite crust recipe or a store-bought crust, or try my old favorite recipe from a vintage TimeLife cookbook. As for the toppings…

Vegan Breakfast Pizza
Crust of choice
1/4 – 1/2 C chopped onion (to taste)
1/4 – 1/2 C chopped bell pepper (to taste)
One serving VeganEgg, prepared scrambled
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil
Garlic powder, to taste
VioLife Prosociano (Parmesan), or other favorite vegan cheese

Preheat oven to 500.
Saute onions and bell pepper in oil just until tender. Set aside.
Prepare scrambled VeganEgg, seasoned with salt and pepper.

If you’re using a homemade pizza dough, oil your pizza pan, roll out the dough to desired thickness, and place dough on greased pan. If you’re using store-bought, just stick the crust on the pan ๐Ÿ™‚ Lightly drizzle crust/dough with olive oil and spread evenly. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Top with sauteed veggies and scrambled VeganEgg.

Bake for 5 – 10 minutes, or until crust is nicely browned. Remove from oven and immediately top with shaved Prosociano. If you’re in the US, we don’t have VioLife yet ๐Ÿ™ But you can use your favorite vegan parm, mozzarella, nutritional yeast, or just skip it!

But seriously…as soon as VioLife is available here, you MUST try the Prosociano. It’s a hard cheese with a great salty, nutty, and slightly sharp flavor. I’m going to be so sad when it’s gone, who knows when I’ll be able to get my hands on more??? If you’re ever in Greece or the UK, I recommend pulling an I Love Lucy-type move to smuggle it home – put a hollow prego-belly on under your shirt, and fill it with VioLife.

More pizza to come all week, more VioLife reviews, and a proper VeganEgg review coming soon!!! Until then, enjoy your breakfast pizza!

Get Ready for Pizza Week 2016

Vegan Chili Cheese Pizza
It’s hard to believe, but Lent is almost here, and that means Pizza Week (aka Cheesefare Week) is about to begin! Mark your calendars and get ready to celebrate from Monday, March 7, through Sunday, March 13. Cheesefare Week is traditionally the time Orthodox Christians use up the remainder of their egg & dairy products before we begin the Great Fast. In my kitchen, I’ll be using up the last open carton of VeganEgg, and all my delicious vegan cheese.
After sneaking our last piece of cheezy pizza sometime after Forgiveness Vespers…the party’s over for nearly 50 days. Great Lent begins Monday, March 14.

I’ve been inviting you all to celebrate Pizza Week with me for the past few years, but this year I have something extra special to share with you – a review of a product that’s not yet available here in the United States. I was SO lucky to get my hands on a few samples!!! And I can’t wait to tell you about my experience so you can be prepared for this product when it finally arrives on our side of the ocean.

So Pizza Week. If you are sadly unfamiliar with Pizza Week, this wonderful concept was thought up by my brother-in-law Christopher. Here are the rules:

1. You must eat pizza at least 1 time every day. It does not have to constitute a whole meal, but it can.
2. You must eat a standard size piece of pizza at least.
3. You can eat any type of pizza you want โ€“ thin, pan, Chicago style, etc.
4. You may eat pizza multiple times in one day.
5. You can put anything on the pizza you want (though meat is technically not allowed that week, please consult your priest or spiritual father to discuss your personal fasting rule).
6. You donโ€™t have to be Orthodox or be giving up pizza for Lent to participate in Pizza Week (though thatโ€™s generally the point).
7. It is highly recommended that the next time you eat pizza after March 13 at 11:59 pm is after the Anastasi Divine Liturgy on Pascha (generally about 1-3am on Sunday, May 1.)

For us vegans celebrating Cheesefare Week, this is most beneficial if you plan to abstain from vegan cheese/pizza during Great Lent.

Get creative! You don’t have to go out and shop for Pizza Week. Go through your cupboards and fridge and see what you can throw together. It will be good practice for whipping up cheap Lenten meals for the next 6 weeks. Will you have a Reuben pizza? A chili cheez pizza?? Whatcha got planned?!?

Get Ready for Pizza Week 2016

Vegan Chili Cheese Pizza
It’s hard to believe, but Lent is almost here, and that means Pizza Week (aka Cheesefare Week) is about to begin! Mark your calendars and get ready to celebrate from Monday, March 7, through Sunday, March 13. Cheesefare Week is traditionally the time Orthodox Christians use up the remainder of their egg & dairy products before we begin the Great Fast. In my kitchen, I’ll be using up the last open carton of VeganEgg, and all my delicious vegan cheese.
After sneaking our last piece of cheezy pizza sometime after Forgiveness Vespers…the party’s over for nearly 50 days. Great Lent begins Monday, March 14.

I’ve been inviting you all to celebrate Pizza Week with me for the past few years, but this year I have something extra special to share with you – a review of a product that’s not yet available here in the United States. I was SO lucky to get my hands on a few samples!!! And I can’t wait to tell you about my experience so you can be prepared for this product when it finally arrives on our side of the ocean.

So Pizza Week. If you are sadly unfamiliar with Pizza Week, this wonderful concept was thought up by my brother-in-law Christopher. Here are the rules:

1. You must eat pizza at least 1 time every day. It does not have to constitute a whole meal, but it can.
2. You must eat a standard size piece of pizza at least.
3. You can eat any type of pizza you want โ€“ thin, pan, Chicago style, etc.
4. You may eat pizza multiple times in one day.
5. You can put anything on the pizza you want (though meat is technically not allowed that week, please consult your priest or spiritual father to discuss your personal fasting rule).
6. You donโ€™t have to be Orthodox or be giving up pizza for Lent to participate in Pizza Week (though thatโ€™s generally the point).
7. It is highly recommended that the next time you eat pizza after March 13 at 11:59 pm is after the Anastasi Divine Liturgy on Pascha (generally about 1-3am on Sunday, May 1.)

For us vegans celebrating Cheesefare Week, this is most beneficial if you plan to abstain from vegan cheese/pizza during Great Lent.

Get creative! You don’t have to go out and shop for Pizza Week. Go through your cupboards and fridge and see what you can throw together. It will be good practice for whipping up cheap Lenten meals for the next 6 weeks. Will you have a Reuben pizza? A chili cheez pizza?? Whatcha got planned?!?

Pizza Week 2015, Day 7: Chili Cheese Chick Dog Pizza

Figured I better get caught up and post my last pizza tonight since it will make me incredibly sad to look at pictures of pizza once Lent starts. TOMORROW. Lent. Starts. Tomorrow!

Well, for some of us, anyway. For Sunday dinner the rest of my family decided to have chili cheese dogs. I love chili-cheese-just-about-anything, so why not just replace the bun with a pizza crust?

2015-2-22 Vegan Chili Cheese Pizza
So this is just my standard crust, and I used chili for the sauce – nothing fancy, just sauteed onions, refried beans, petite diced tomatoes and some of the juice, and pepper, chili powder, garlic, cumin, and Frank’s Redhot Sauce to taste.

2015-2-22 Vegan Chili Cheese Pizza2
I wasn’t going to buy anymore cheese after picking up a package of Chao yesterday, but today I grabbed these veggie shreds – the purple bag is vegan! It says so right on the bag (green is just lactose free). Normally I’d go with Daiya cheddar, but the stores that carry it around here were closed…and Veggie Shreds are cheaper.

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Now, this may not look like a layer of hotdogs, and that’s because it’s a layer of CHICK dogs. This is a great filling for hotdog buns, and it worked very well on the pizza, too.

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I like sauerkraut, onions, and mustard on my chili dogs – you can also add pickles!

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And finally, Field Roast Chao slices. This was a real splurge for me, apparently it’s way more expensive in my area, maybe because we just have a couple little health food stores. It was on sale for $5.49, normally $7.39! This is the Coconut Herb flavor with black pepper.

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I baked it at 425 for about 20 minutes, and 450 for another 5 minutes or so. The Chao didn’t really melt, it just got soft and, well, sort of translucent.

2015-2-22 Vegan Chili Cheese Pizza7
Still, it went very well with the rest of the toppings. I ate half the pizza at dinner time, and now I’m going to try to finish it off!

I’m going to do a separate post on Chao slices, but I will tell you now why I prefer Daiya to Veggie Shreds. The Veggie Shreds melt SO well, just beautifully, and the flavor is pretty good. But when you eat it, it kind of sticks to the back of your teeth and has an odd texture. I find myself wanting to scrape my teeth after each bite. However they are $2 cheaper than Daiya and can be found at Meijer, super convenient. And the negative qualities seem to make it more Lenten somehow ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, thank you all very much for celebrating Pizza Week with me yet again. And don’t worry, we still have Vegan Pizza Day to look forward to!

Pizza Week 2015, Day 6: Daiya Fire-Roasted Vegetable Frozen Pizza

Saturday I decided to be lazy and try a frozen pizza. So….

2015-2-22 Daiya Vegan Gluten Free Pizza
I grabbed this little guy from Daiya.

2015-2-22 Daiya Vegan Gluten Free Pizza2
Vegan AND gluten free, it’s not cheap, but neither is vegan pizza in general (unless it’s homemade, of course).

2015-2-22 Daiya Vegan Gluten Free Pizza3
Here’s what it looks like frozen.

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And here you can compare the final baked product to the picture on the box. Haha, when do frozen foods ever look as good in real life as they do on the box??
2015-2-22 Daiya Vegan Gluten Free Pizza5
But you can see there are plenty of veggies,

2015-2-22 Daiya Vegan Gluten Free Pizza6
I think it would need twice as much cheese to melt properly like on a real pizza, but then I suppose they’d have to raise the price. It still tastes good, it just doesn’t get very melty. I think maybe next time I’d drizzle olive oil on it like I do with homemade pizzas, I think it would help the cheez melt.

Have you tried any store bought vegan pizzas?

Pizza Week 2015, Day 5: Moar Eggplant Pizza & Cheezy Bean Dip

I had a few slices of Daiya cheese left last night – a couple Swiss and one Provolone. But…

2015-2-21 Vegan Eggplant Pizza
I just wanted an eggplant pizza again. I think it’s probably my favorite. This time I loaded it up with lots of fresh garlic. Then for the cheesy factor…

2015-2-21 Vegan Daiya Bean Dip
I threw together a bean dip (try This One, or you can make it any way you want), turned the heat down to low, placed the Daiya slices on top, and covered the pan. Just let it sit there over low heat until the cheese gets nice and melty.

2015-2-21 Vegan Daiya Bean Dip2
Then swirl it around and eat it with your favorite tortilla chips.

Now I’m totally out of cheez but I have two more Pizza Week dinners to go! Tonight I’m trying a frozen pizza, but I might splurge a little and try Chao tomorrow….

Pizza Week 2015, Day 4: Injera Pizza with Berbere

Pizza Week is such a happy time! A party last night, and an Ethiopian-inspired pizza tonight. The only thing that could make this week better…

2015-2-19 Vegan Ethiopian Gluten Free Injera Pizza
Getting a free lunch from Gursha earlier this week! The guy really loaded up the boxes, and as usual…

2015-2-19 Vegan Ethiopian Gluten Free Injera Pizza2
there was a TON of leftover injera. And I love finding new ways to use leftover injera.

2015-2-19 Vegan Ethiopian Gluten Free Injera Pizza4
I also like finding new ways to use the takeout box – Wilson kept me company while I was alone in the office. Anyway.
Preheat your oven to 425.

2015-2-19 Vegan Ethiopian Gluten Free Injera Pizza5
I really can’t give you any measurements ’cause it depends on how much injera you have leftover. That’s why we call this intuitive cooking, if you didn’t notice at the top of the blog there. Anyway (again), chop up the injera. Meanwhile,

2015-2-19 Vegan Ethiopian Gluten Free Injera Pizza6
we’re gonna need some margarine, and some Daiya mozzarella shreds. It’s pretty similar to how we start out making injera porridge.

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Melt it down – you may need to stir it up a little.

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Add the chopped injera,

2015-2-19 Vegan Ethiopian Gluten Free Injera Pizza9
stir to coat. Stir and stir and stir. It might clump a little, just keep stirring!

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Season to taste with berbere, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, maybe a little salt and nutritional yeast.

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STIR. By this time the bread will be starting to soften and shrink. Add water a little at a time and KEEP STIRRING.

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The injera will start to break down and become smooth – it doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth, stop adding water when it starts to smooth out. How many more times will I say smooth??

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Turn the injera mixture out onto a pizza pan covered with parchment paper. You might be safe just greasing the pan, but I was afraid the melted cheese might stick.

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Press it out with your fingers. In my family it’s really cool if you can touch burning hot food with your bare hands, so that’s what I did. You can let it cool a little if ya want to, though.

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Bake the crust at 425 until it gets crispy around the edges.

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Meanwhile, saute onions in margarine and season with berbere and a little salt.

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The other night I wasted some of this Daiya provolone on that crock pot pizza, so I had to redeem myself tonight!

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There’s no sauce on this pizza, just add a layer of Daiya provolone to start.

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Top with baby spinach and the sauteed onions,

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more Daiya shreds (and I tore up the last piece of the provolone and threw that on, too),

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and tomoato. Then drizzle with a little olive oil. I also sprinkled a little berbere on top.
Bake at 425 until the cheese is nice and melty and beginning to brown.

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The edges of the crust will also brown up nicely and get extra crispy. It really only gets that way around the edges, but the inner part of the crust does firm up.

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The Daiya slices melt faster than the shreds,

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but I think they also help the shreds melt – I noticed when I bake the shreds with a liquid (like drizzled oil, hot sauce, and in this case the melty slices) they melt better.

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And I like combining the two because the shreds add the stretchy, chewiness the slices are lacking. They have two distinct flavors that are great together.

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BUT THAT CRUST, THO. The injera with the spices, cheese, veggies………

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Yes. Yes, I love this pizza. I love the onions and spinach. The big chunks of tomatoes with the sourness of injera crust remind me of the tomato salad at Little Africa. I know it’s pretty fattening, but we’re basically in the middle of Fat Week (can you believe some people only have Fat Tuesday??). I can usually put away a whole vegan pizza easy, but the injera crust is very filling. I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
Oh, and I started eating the pizza with a fork and knife because I could tell the inner crust was way softer than the edges, but I actually was able to pick the slices up like regular ol’ pizza.

I think this probably my favorite use so far for leftover injera. What’s yours?

OH, I almost forgot – traditional injera is made with 100% teff flour and is gluten free! Sometimes it’s Americanized with other flours to kill the unique sour taste, so watch out for that.

Pizza Week 2015, Day 3: Eggplant Pizza

Okay, I’ll try tonight to get caught up on my Pizza Week posts, but yesterday – Day 3 – I hosted a pizza party at my house with a bunch of friends from church.

2015-2-19 Vegan Eggplant Pizza
And we were having so much, I forgot to take pictures! We even had a whole conversation about taking pictures… Well, this is what was left of my cheeseless eggplant pizza at the end of the night. Here’s the recipe.
It was a potluck, though, so I didn’t force anyone to go vegan just a few days before the fast starts. I ate my pizza and was very happy to drink beer on a Wednesday, and after everyone left I ate some vegan cheese shreds straight out of the bag ๐Ÿ™‚

2015-2-19 Vegan Reuben Sandwich
Then today for lunch I made a vegan Reuben, minus any faux meats. Just Ezekiel bread, Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut, and Daiya Swiss. I used my toaster trick to melt the cheese which was interesting ‘cuz I could only fit the cheese side in there. The sauerkraut side was too thick and I was afraid it would fall apart inside the toaster. So I had a half toasted sandwich. I should get a sandwich press for the office, maybe.

Tonight I want to do something extra cheezy to make up for the lack of cheeziness yesterday. I have something fun in mind, I just hope it turns out better than my crock pot experiment!