Spinach, Tomato, and Roasted Garlic Uncheese Deep Dish Pizza

First of all, let me apologize for the serious lack of posting recently. A 50 hour work-week coupled with the last week of a master’s program definitely inhibited my ability (or desire) to step foot in my kitchen, nonetheless try inventing something new.

ANYHOW, I am happy to report that I am DONE with my masters and have been offered a full time position for the Fall. HELLO SALARY! What better way to celebrate than with a pizza party?!?!

I got this recipe from VegNews magazine. You should check it out–it’s always full of really insightful things that justify why eating vegetarian/vegan/green is a good idea, without being too soapboxy. If you are eating dairy, you can just make the crust, which is AWESOME, and top with whatever you like. However, read through the whole method before you buy your ingredients, as you’ll omit some if you’re using regular cheese.

Uncheese Deep Dish Pizza Crust and Uncheese (YUM!)

2 tsp (or 1 packet) active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

4 1/4 cups spelt flour, divided

1/2 cup olive oil, divided

4 tsp salt, divided

1 tsp agave nectar

2 cups raw cashews

3/4 tsp dried dill (NOTE! I did not include this, but you can!)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (maybe a little less….)

1 cup water

1 tsp rice vinegar

In a small bowl mix lukewarm water and yeast. Break up any clumps. Let stand for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, 1/4 cup oil, 2 tsp salt, agave, and yeast mixture. Stir in the remaining flour a little at a time and stir, or knead, well. Mix together until dough comes together completely and knead until you have a soft, sticky dough.

Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel and allow dough to rise for at least 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. In a blender process cashews, dill, 2 tsp salt, lemon juice (mine was super lemony….use at your own risk), 2 cup water, and vinegar until smooth.

In a 12 inch cake pan, spread 2 tbsp olive oil evenly over the bottom and sides. Press the dough into your pan as evenly as possible. Spread 2 tbsp olive oil on top of the dough. Top with your choice of sauce (see below for a sample recipe) and toppings. I opted for baby spinach, sliced tomatoes, vidalia onions, and fresh roasted garlic.

Pour cheese sauce over the top and bake for 18 minutes. Out comes this beauty…..

Basic Pizza Sauce

12 oz tomato paste

2 cups water

3 tbsp dried parsley

4 tsp dried onion flakes

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust as you see fit)

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sauce boils. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Some advice for you:

If you are looking for a classic chewy, stretchy, melty cheese pizza, this is not it. If you can find me vegan pizza that is, I will be your best friend….maybe forever.

The cheese comes out much like a ricotta cheese. Ricotta is rich. So is cashew based cheese. I found there to be too much cheese in this recipe. So, you may want to use the cheese sparingly.

Also, be careful taking your monstrous 12inch deep dish pizza out of the oven. A 500 degree oven is hot. My arm has the wound to prove it.

You may want to try seasoning your crust with spices and/or herbs. I like my crust fairly plain, but I know people who like things very flavorful. This is a basic crust. Adjust as you see fit.

Use A LOT of sauce. I thought I did that, but all of mine absorbed into the thick crust. Less is not more in this recipe.

Finally….this is what your kitchen will look like upon completion….

But, don’t touch this until you’re done enjoying your yumminess!