I get strange looks when I tell everyone pizza is one of the staples of my diet. “Aren’t you vegan?” they will ask. Or sometimes just, “Bugger off fellow, I’m just here to fix your cable.” But seriously, I have to tell everyone because it’s that good! In fact, I have 8 balls of dough sitting in the freezer as we speak. And I can eat pizza every night and try any kind of toppings my little heart desires.
I’ve tried and failed at pizzas ranging from zucchini and tomatoes to a lime juice covered pico de gallo pizza. I haven’t quite mastered lime juice on pizza, but I’m convinced I can make an excellent Mexican style enchilada pizza stuffed with pico de gallo if I just keep at it.
Now that a delicious whole wheat dough is made and tasty sauces are assembled, it’s time for the cook-off, wherein 6 delicious pizzas will fight (or get eaten) to death in order to crown the ultimate vegan pizza: Veggie Supreme, Tomato Basil, Garlic Portabella Mushroom, Broccoli and Spinach, Caribbean Barbecue Pineapple, and Spicy Barbecue Fajita.
Round 1 (Tomato Sauce): Veggie Supreme vs. Tomato Basil
The Veggie Supreme is topped with green and red peppers, onion, mushrooms, black olives, some Daiya (vegan) mozzarella, and a healthy amount of oregano. I didn’t cook the veggies ahead of time to keep them nice and crisp. The Tomato Basil is topped first with a sprinkling of mozzarella then both thinly sliced and diced tomatoes. It’s covered with chopped up fresh basil leaves, sliced red onion, and a sprinkling more of the mozzarella.
Both pizza’s are great and use a delicious tomato sauce with a nice kick from red pepper flakes, but the winner is the Tomato Basil on smell-factor alone. Spicy tomato sauce underneath and fresh tomatoes and basil roasting in the oven on top make for gooey tomato goodness all-around.
Round 2 (Garlic Spread vs. Pesto): Garlic Portabella Mushroom vs. Brocccoli Spinach
The Garlic Portabella is brushed with the garlic spread and then topped with big chunks of portabella mushrooms, red onions, a bit of Daiya mozzarella cheese and another drizzle of garlic spread over the veggies. The Broccoli Spinach has a basil pesto sauce, thin layer of Daiya cheddar, steamed broccoli and spinach, and is topped with Daiya mozzarella, sliced almonds, garlic powder, and lemon juice (I also added some diced tomatoes on both after taking the pictures).
Both pizzas were tasty, and it is definitely one of the finer ways in life to eat my green vegetables (which were delicious with the almonds, garlic, and lemon). I’ve got to give the winner to the Garlic Portabella though. Seasoned garlic crust, plump portabellas, and juicy diced tomatoes on top. That’s a tasty dinner!
Round 3 (Barbecue Sauce): Caribbean Barbecue Pineapple vs. Spicy Barbecue Fajita
The barbecue pizzas are made with a nice thin crust and smearing of the homemade caribbean jerk barbecue sauce. I topped the Barbecue Pineapple pizza with Daiya cheddar and pineapples and onions seared in oil to bring out the sweetness. The Barbecue Fajita is topped with red and green bell peppers and onions. Both are then covered with a good shake of extra caribbean jerk seasoning.
I made the pineapple pizza first and thought for sure I had a winner. Spicy jerk seasoning with the sweet fruit and tangy barbecue was a home run for sure. But the barbecue fajita reminded me of one of my favorite foods, the twice grilled steak burrito at Chi-Chis. I used to eat them weekly when I worked there and, as someone I know used to say, they were a party in your mouth. Winner: Barbecue Fajita in an upset.
Championship: Tomato Basil vs. Garlic Portabella vs. Barbecue Fajita.
And the winner is:
You can put pretty much anything on a pizza I’ve discovered. Being a vegan has definitely made me more creative (and eating tastier foods for sure!), but good old-fashioned tomatoes on tomato sauce with fresh basil leaves on a chewy whole wheat crust equals a winner.
I have a feeling I’ll be eating pizza a lot this year. If you have any other good ideas for toppings, please share! My stomach will thank you later.