I am pretty sure pizza is my favorite food in the entire world. Those who do not know the secrets of vegan pizza, are often puzzled by this claim, confused as to how one might enjoy a pizza unadorned with cheese or meat.
To me, it is very easy to enjoy a cruelty-free pizza. There are endless toppings that can be used for a vegan pizza. You could start with a homemade pesto or marinara. You could top it with your favorite vegetables, or some vegan mac n cheese (I’ve noticed Mac n Cheese has been a pizza craze lately- I’ve yet to try it). There are also tons of mock-meat products on the market you could try. Combine this with your favorite pseudo-cheese, and you can even enjoy some of the greasy classics, veganized!
Speaking of pseudo-cheeses, earlier this week, I decided to give Daiya’s new Monterrey Jack a try. Daiya is a completely vegan, gluten free alternative to cheese. When it first came to Canada, I remember my favorite local shop would purchase huge blocks of it, and sell it in by weight. Now, their shreds are all over the place; even in big name grocery stores such as Superstore, and Safeway which is surprising to me. I have to say, while it is exciting to see daiya appear on menus in restaurants, and provide vegans with a cheese substitute, I am not the biggest fan of the shreds. I find them a little on the sweet, chemically side, though am happy they at least melt (which many shreds do not). Earlier this year though, they released the wedges in Havarti, Cheddar, and Jack. Curious, I brought home a Jack for my pizza.
The picture below, features a white sauce I threw together very quickly, topped with asparagus, sundried tomato, artichoke hearts, caramelized onion and garlic, and red bell pepper. Sprinkled on top of that, is some nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and over top all of it…some Monterrey Jack Daiya.
One of the reasons I’ve also had issues with Daiya in the past, is it’s hard to make it look appealing- mostly it just melts into this gooey-ness that is hardly discernible as “cheese”. However, with the wedges, I had more control with its consistency as I grated it very thing and spread it around. I baked the crust a few minutes in advance, then put on all the toppings and baked it on 400 degrees for about 8 minutes. I then switched my oven to broil setting, which is what caused the Daiya to really bubble and form that absolutely gorgeous crust.
All in all, I am super pleased with the aesthetic of this pizza. While I still often prefer to use no “cheese,” and just top my pizza with nutritional yeast, pine nuts, and lemon juice, this product makes for a pretty picture, don’t you think? It also actually doesn’t taste half bad at all. It even might ADD to the pizza, as opposed to its shredded counterpart which is not my favorite thing. I think I will be trying the product again on some other things soon!