Green Vegan Pizza – CYOB

Pizza doesn’t need to be smothered in melted cheese to be hearty and delicious. This vegan pizza is satisfying and indulgent, and one slice of this cheese-less pie is only about 250 calories, and packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutritional yeast!

Create Your Own Bite #6

Green Vegan Pizza

A borrowed bite from pizza-extraordinaires Logan Coats and Katrina Martinez.

1 Trader Joe’s Ready-To-Bake Pizza Dough

1/3 Cup of Pesto fortified with Nutritional Yeast

1-2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

1/2 Cup of Caramelized Onions

1/2 Cup of Broccoli Rabe

1/2 Cup of Asparagus Spears

This recipe makes one small pizza, approximately 8 servings.

Estimated Calories (Per Slice): 250 – 300

Pizza, like many other quick-make meals, has become a health taboo. Usually served by the greasy, cheesy slice on a paper plate at two o’clock in the morning, there are very few ways to make the dish delicious and healthful.

While certainly not a low-fat option, homemade pizza is a great way to get the nutrition you need, while taking control of the ingredients you ingest. Vegan pizza may not be synonymous with low-calorie, but it certainly avoids the calorie concern inherent with melted, molten cheese.

With experience in a vegan pizzeria, my friends Logan and Katrina have adopted the belief that if you’re going to do a vegan pizza, forgo the artificial, processed vegan-cheese and skip right to the pesto. A basil-pine nut pesto with olive oil and nutritional yeast is the base for this completely “green” pizza. Nutritional yeast, a source of B-complex vitamins, has a nutty, cheesy flavor that makes it a perfect addition to the pesto.  This flavor-packed mixture, pureed into a sauce, can complement any number of vegetable toppings.

After rolling out the dough, drizzle the crust with a little extra virgin olive oil, and a generous portion of pesto.

For a night of animal crackers, red wine and homemade pizza with friends, Katrina roasted broccoli rabe, asparagus and caramelized onions in red wine to top her vegan-pie creation. This, of course, is the fun part of making a pizza at home. If these ingredients don’t float your boat, you can pick any number of your favorite vegetables to complete your pizza.

Roasted zucchini and sauteed spinach could also complement the green theme of this vegan pizza.

Quick Vegan Tip: Pizza dough is almost always vegan, but make sure to check for honey, which occasionally appears as an ingredient. If you’re making your own, agave is a great vegan-substitute to help your dough achieve the same sweet flavor.

When your dream green pizza is complete, toss it in an oven, cranked to full blast, (usually 500-550 degrees) for 10-15 minutes.

If you can wait, let the pizza cool before digging in. As you can see from this “recipe,” making pizza is more of an art than a science. Trial and error, experimentation, and play are key to producing a delicious slice of pizza.

The lesson in this borrowed bite is that sometimes low-calorie isn’t the biggest concern. Keeping things fresh, nutritious, and homemade is the go-to recipe for making a perfect little bite.

Until next time, I’m off to find more ways to transform my favorite foods into healthy, delicious morsels.

Melanie

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