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"White" Pizza with Spinach and Cashew "Cheese"

From now on, I will always be able to tell people that I've made cheese! Okay, so I didn't do it in a giant bathtub full of milk, bacteria, and enzymes like in the "traditional" sense. In fact I didn't even use milk at all. Okay, so I will enclose cheese in quotes to qualify it, how's that? This particular version is vegan, and uses cashews and miso paste as a base. Cashews for their protein and fat, and miso paste for the "fermented" flavor.

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But that's not even the point of this recipe. If you want to use soy-based "cheese" product, go ahead. Personally, I am just not liking it so much anymore (aside from the fact that it's highly processed to begin with), so I felt it was time to try something new - and I'm glad I did. One day I will even write down what I did, so that I can actually explain it to others beyond "puree cashews and miso paste in a food processor, and keep adding stuff until it tastes like cheese!" So when I use "cheese" in the ingredients below, feel free to subsitute with your favorite soy-based "cheese" product if you wish.

This particular pizza is the "white" variety, which basically means it has no tomato sauce to speak of. Just lots of onions, lots of spinach, and then the "cheese" goodness on top. Behold (click image to enlarge):

Ingredients:

  • Vegan Libre's "world famous" Hearty Pizza Dough
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 9oz bag of spinach
  • 3-4 servings of "cheese" (e.g. 1/4 cup if you are using the cashew variety)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • all-natural olive oil cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously spray a baking sheet of desired size, and spread pizza dough evenly to all edges. (You can read some more tips for the technique here if you want). After it's spread and the oven is preheated, bake for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, combine olive oil, onions, garlic powder, and salt/pepper to taste in a microwave-safe Pyrex dish. Microwave on high for about 3 minutes. When the 10 minute bake time is up, remove pizza from oven, and evenly spread onions on top. Return to oven and continue baking for another 5 minutes.

In the meantime, put spinach in a microwave-safe Pyrex dish, and cover with paper towels. Steam in microwave on high for about 3 minutes. If it's fresh spinach, you probably don't need to drain it - just toss with salt and pepper to taste. If you try this with frozen spinach, you will definitely need to drain the water out. You may also want to chop the cooked spinach coarsely at this point - I didn't do this originally, but I think I will next time.

When the 5 minute bake time is up, remove pizza from oven, evenly spread cooked spinach on top, and return to oven for, you guessed it, another 5 minutes.

After those 5 minutes are up, remove pie from oven, and evenly spread "cheese" on top. If you are using the cashew variety, you can probably spread it easily with the back of a spoon since it will tend to be a soft paste. It's very easy to get good coverage with it. If using the soy-based variety, make sure you shred it first and spread it as evenly as possible, so it has a good shot at melting. Return pie to oven, and broil on high for another 5 minutes. Don't put the oven rack too high or you will burn the crust. After 5 minutes the edges of the crust should be nice and brown, and the "cheese" should be melted or browned as well. Remove from oven, let cool for a couple of minutes, slice, and eat.

This was a big hit for dinner last night. Looking back, I may consider baking at 400 degrees next time instead of 375, since I didn't bother rotating the oven rack. I felt the bottom of the crust was a bit soft. Otherwise it was perfect.

Enjoy!

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Sources

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Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 11/15/2016


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