Categories: Appetizers, Entrees
Sometimes I wish I never tasted cheese (please don't throw things at me). It's the one thing that kept me from going vegan for almost 10 years. "I just could not live without cheese" I'd say. And I believed it. Until one day I realized my auto response should actually be a little bit alarming. Then that three-letter word popped in my head...Why? Seriously what is wrong with me that I think life would not be worth living based on the lack of cheese? Wow, I delivered myself a hard reality slap. *Sigh* So I had to face my cheese demons. You may not have cheese demons, but they have tormented me for way too long. Turns out after going vegan they pack their bags and head out on the open road to find someone else who'll appreciate them better. I don't miss them...but there are still days when I remember the delicacies that I enjoyed so much back in the old days...mac and cheese, lasagna, and pizza. No, not just pizza, Margherita style pizza. That light pizza which is smothered in sweet tomato sauce, topped with fresh mozzarella slices, and sprinkled with basil leaves. Part of the amore, if you will, of that pizza is purely visual. It's a work of art, the Italian flag, a la natural style, right there on your plate. So after discovering the joys of agar agar (if you haven't discovered them yet you need to get cooking), I decided to try my hand at a vegan fresh mozzarella. I was so happy with how this came out. Let's get real for a moment... this isn't cheese, it's not ooey-gooey, stringy, melty, or slowly clogging your arteries. But this is a beautiful stand in. It captures the taste that I remember, has a creamy consistency when warm, and is visually beautiful. And artfully arranged on mini pitas, it is easy pizza perfection, vegan style.
- 2c coconut milk, I used SoDelicious unsweetened
- 2 TBS agar agar flakes
- 1 tsp salt, I used Pink Himalayan
- 1 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1 - 6 oz container of plain nondairy yogurt, I used SoDelicious Greek Style
- 1/4 tsp agave syrup
- 1/4 tsp olive oil
- 6 pocketless pitas or other mini pizza crusts of your choice
- 1 - 15 oz can of tomato sauce, no salt added
- 2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 16-30 small slices of fresh mozzerella, about 4-5 per pizza
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup of basil, thinly sliced (chiffonade style)
- 2-3 tsp olive oil
- Italian seasoning to taste
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
You will need to make the fresh mozzerella ahead. Spray a 9 x 13 glass casserole dish with cooking spray. In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, agar, salt, and yeast. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat. Once boiling, set a timer for 10 minutes. Boil, whisking frequently until the timer goes off and all the agar flakes have melted. Remove pan from heat and stir in yogurt, agave, and oil, whisking to combine well. Pour mixture into the prepared casserole and refrigerate until set, about 45 minutes to an hour. You can also make this days ahead, just cover with plastic wrap once it is set, it can last for several days in the fridge. When ready to use, remove from the fridge and use a biscuit cutter to cut small circles of the fresh mozzerella out for use on top of your pizzas.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Have 2 large cookie sheets handy, you may want to line them with parchment for ease of cleaning. Please 2-3 pitas on each cookie sheet. Drizzle about 1/4 tsp of olive oil over each pita, add a little garlic and smear into oil and all over pita tops with your hands to evenly distribute. Next spoon some tomato sauce onto each pita, again being sure to evenly coat. Use as little or as much as you like. Now distribute the tomato slices between all of your pizzas, then add the mozzerella slices. Sprinkle each pizza with a little Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Drizzle tops with another 1/4 tsp of olive oil each. Bake for 8-10 minutes until pitas start to get golden around the edges. remove from the oven and then sprinkle some basil over each pizza and cut them into 4-6 small slices for easy eating. Add hot pepper flakes, garlic powder, or any of your favorite seasonings if you wish. Serve while still hot.