What We're Cooking This Weekend: Vegan Cheese Pizza

FROM: @myveganminimalist

WHY WE LOVE IT: We don't have to order pizza without cheese anymore. It's rich in flavor and has the creamiest homemade vegan cheese, that doesn't taste far off from the real thing.

TOTAL TIME: An hour to cook and approximately 8 hours to soak the cashews overnight.

TOTAL INGREDIENTS: 14 plus water

MAKE IT FOR: Lunch and dinner, or both!

SPECIAL NOTE: For the cheese, the cashews need to soak overnight so start that the day before. (If you need to start prep the day before or order ingredients online, we will let you know that here. Otherwise, assume the dish can be shopped, prepped and served the same day with readily available ingredients.)

INGREDIENTS:

For the Tomato Sauce:
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (or other vegetable oil - sunflower or olive oil)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp cut basil (fresh)
  • Seasoning: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil
For the Cheese:
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) of raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) of unsweetened vegan milk ( I used almond milk)
  • 1.5 tbsp of tapioca flour
  • 1/8 tsp of citric acid
  • 1/2 tsp of artisan’s salt
  • 1/2 tbsp of agar
  • Half a tray of ice cubes
For the Toppings:
  • 2 large tomatoes (beef tomatoes work best)
  • 1 handful of roasted pine nuts
  • 2 cups of fresh rocket or salad cress (or both)

INSTRUCTIONS:

For the Tomato Sauce: 
  1. Cut onion into small cubes.
  2. Heat up oil in a medium-sized pan.
  3. When warm, add the onion cubes.
  4. Gently fry for 5-7 minutes until translucent.
  5. Add a can of chopped tomatoes.
  6. Generously add your seasoning: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil
  7. Simmer for 5 minutes and add cut basil.
  8. Set aside.
For the Vegan Cheese: [full recipe credit goes to MadMillie]
  1. Place raw cashews in a bowl and fill with water until they are covered completely. Soak overnight (approximately 8 hours).
  2. Drain and rinse the cashews.
  3. Place nuts in a blender or food processor and add remaining ingredients (except for the ice)
  4. Blend until a thick paste is formed.
  5. Pour mix into a non-stick cooking pot and slowly heat to 60°C (140°F) on a low heat. It is important that you continuously stir this to ensure that the mixture doesn’t stick/burn or separate.
  6. When the temperature reaches 60°C (140°F) you will notice the mixture thicken up. Keep stirring on the heat for a further 1-2 minutes to ensure the agar is activated and the cheese sets.
  7. Prepare an ice bath by using half a tray of ice cubes and 2 cups (500 ml) of cold water in a large bowl.
  8. Scoop the mozzarella into small balls and dunk in the ice water mixture. Allow to chill for 10 – 20 minutes before eating.
  9. Cut mozzarella into slices, ready to be used for your pizza.

FINAL STEPS:

  1. Grab your pizza base and generously spread tomato sauce over your base.
  2. Add freshly sliced tomatoes, spreading them equally across your pizza.
  3. Add other toppings of choice (or leave as it is) and bake at 200°C (fan oven) for 20 minutes. If you’re using a pre-made pizza base, follow the baking instructions on the box.
  4. In the meantime, roast a handful of pine kernels in a non-stick pan (no oil).
  5. Once baked, take the pizza out of the oven and generously spread with pine nuts, sliced firm (vegan) mozzarella and fresh rocket.

Check out the recipe here.