In the Summer’s Bounty series, I’ll be focusing on creating recipes based around what I receive in my CSA share. This is my second year of feasting on amazing produce from One Straw Farm. Participating helps me keep fruits and vegetables as a top priority, feel more connected with my food and the earth, and support an organization that is doing commendable things. Also, it’s highly affordable! Please consider joining a CSA in your area this year.
Let me first say that I have way too much time on my hands right now. I’m between jobs at the moment (though I have my new one lined up, I won’t begin until late August). There were a couple of stages to making this and when I am working full time I don’t normally have the energy for such an undertaking.
I managed to sneak 6 of my CSA veggies into this meal. Carrots and potatoes in the cheese sauce (I know, right?); fennel, onions, peppers, and garlic on the pizza. I thought about adding the rest of my kale to the mix, but I wanted to make room for some fresh basil and I thought of another pretty cool idea for the kale, which I’ll share in due time.
Have I mentioned before that I’m super skeptical of vegan cheese? Yeah, probably in like every post. I was once served vegan mac n’ cheese at a BBQ (this is before I started eating vegan, I think they were just trying to play tricks on us all, which failed miserably), and it was a pretty sad affair. It just tasted like nutritional yeast mixed with some kind of oiliness. To be fair, I love nutritional yeast… by itself, we always have it on our popcorn, or on toast/bagels. Mr. “Nope, it’s not vegan” actually introduced it to me a couple years ago, but he always eats it with butter – the irony.
So this vegan cheese sauce, it’s… well, it’s not cheese. But we all knew that before tasting it. The only thing that tastes like cheese will forever be cheese. But more than the taste of dairy cheese, I crave the mouthfeel and the tart/tanginess. On that accord, this sauce 100% gets the job done, while also being delicious (IF you like nootch), and I’m sure most vegans can get on board with that.
Enough about me and my pickiness. Check out this easy (yet slightly time-consuming), delicious vegan pizza. As always, spice amounts are approximate and adjusted to taste.
“Sausage”, pepper and fennel pizza with homemade vegan cheese sauce
This is the first time I’ve tried a vegan cheesy substance that I truly believe in. Mr. “Nope it’s not vegan” is out of town, but he might eat vegan more often if he tried this pizza. Cheese sauce adapted from Vegan Yumminess. Serves 3-5 people, ish – but there will be a lot of extra cheese sauce, feel free to reduce that part.
Vegan Pizza Cheese Sauce from Scratch
2 cups (packed semi-decently) boiled/peeled potatoes (2-3 potatoes)
1/2 cup boiled/peeled/chopped carrots (2-3 carrots)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 and 1/2 tb mellow white miso
3 tb olive oil
1 tb fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup white wine (or to taste, the tradeoff is that it thins the sauce somewhat)
1 tb brown mustard
1 tb dried oregano
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground black pepper (or to taste)
salt? (see notes)
1 tb olive oil
1 white onion, thinly sliced
2 anaheim peppers, seeds removed, thinly sliced
1 bulb fennel with its thicker stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 links Field Roast Italian-style sausages (or other Italian- or neutral-flavored vegan sausage of choice)
2 tb pizza/pasta sauce of choice (I used Fra Diavolo)
s+p+oregano+chili flakes+other dried herbs
1 recipe pizza dough of choice (see notes)
Pizza/pasta sauce of choice, enough for a thin layer
Fresh garlic, basil, parsley etc. (optional)
Homemade cheese sauce as desired to cover pizza
Preheat the oven to 375, or whatever temperature your particular pizza dough likes.
Make the cheese sauce. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and adjust seasonings to taste. Set aside.
Get the other toppings ready. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add onions, garlic, fennel, and peppers, sauteeing for about 2 minutes or until slightly softened. Slice up the sausage links and cut the slices in half; add to the pan, along with pasta sauce and other seasonings to taste. If the pan starts to get dried out, add some water. Cook everything until vegetables are done, sausage is SLIGHTLY browned, and kitchen smells fantastic. Remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare the pizza. Roll out pizza dough (pre-bake if you like), and cover with a thin layer of sauce. Spread vegetable/sausage toppings evenly across the dough. Spoon cheese sauce onto pizza as desired, being careful not to add too much (it’s quite flavorful and there are already a lot of toppings on this dough). Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crust is done and starting to brown. Chomp!
Notes: The miso paste may be salty enough that no additional salt is needed. Please taste before adding any salt. I used Whole Foods whole wheat pizza dough, but it is common for
me Mr. NINV to make it from scratch – it’s not too hard! (he’s out of town though. If you want to make your own, I often use this recipe. In general, making a vegan pizza has a lot of flexibility… just as much as an omni pizza does! So I hope this serves you as less of a recipe and more of an inspiration :).
So there you have it. Vegan cheesiness that doesn’t suck. Any more dramatic mac n’ cheeze horror stories out there?
Definitely going to try your sauce. We are not vegan but are slowly inching our way there.
If you end up making it let me know how you think of it! The vegan cheese sauces can be controversial among people so I’m interested to hear if others like this one. Thanks for reading!