Friday, 14 September 2012

Yeast-Free Pizza- vegan

Yeast-free vegan pizza, topped with grilled tofu and fresh basil

You can see the soda bread crust in this picture, and the fresh tomato sauce flecked with tasty nutritional yeast
Isn't it great when you go into your kitchen intending to make one thing, then the mood takes you and you end up creating something else completely different? That's just what happened to me yesterday when I got home from work. I'd already decided to make some tofu (the quick way, with bought soya milk- it will be next month's "How-To") but instead of baking it in a sauce and serving it with brown rice and salad, I got the idea to make a vegan pizza. Since by then I was short of time I thought this would be the ideal opportunity to try out a pizza base using my husband's soda bread recipe. He was really pleased, as yeasted bread does not agree with him but he likes pizza. I'm fine with yeasted bread (although I don't generally bother with it) but I still found this pizza base much lighter on the stomach. Making it all from scratch was really a labour of love, but so worth it; using fresh organic tomatoes and vegetables from our allotment and organic wholemeal flour really seems to improve the flavour and the vibe of it in general. I served up the pizza with homegrown salad and homegrown potato wedges. This recipe makes 4-6 slices, depending on the portion size. The original soda bread recipe has been altered to include a little more olive oil. 

If you are making the tofu yourself, then do that first, then while it is being pressed you can get the tomato sauce reducing and the base pre-baked.
Sauce:
1kg fresh tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 tsp seasalt
1/2 tsp compound hing
  • Halve or quarter the tomatoes according to size.
  • Whizz them in a blender or food processor until liquid. (No need to de-seed or skin if you break them down like this.)
  • Pour into a sturdy saucepan and add the salt, bay leaves and compound hing.
  • Bring to the boil and reduce to a really thick puree-like sauce, stirring from time to time. (This took me around an hour- don't be tempted to take shortcuts as a runny sauce will just make the base go soggy...)
  • Meanwhile, make the base:
Base:
400ml (measure in a cup) organic wholemeal plain flour
200ml white flour
5 tsps baking powder 
1/2 tsp seasalt
50ml olive oil
about 150-200ml water, to mix
  • In a large bowl, rub the oil into all the other ingredients.
  • Mix in enough water to give you a soft but not too sticky dough.
  • Place on an oiled baking tray and roll to a thickness of just under 1cm using a floured rolling pin.
  • Bake for 10-15 mins in an oven preheated to 180C, until just starting to turn golden on top. (Do not overcook; in fact, a thinner crust doesn't need pre-cooking at all.)
Topping:
200g firm tofu, sliced and grilled in a little oil and soy sauce
sliced veggies such as courgettes, peppers, artichoke hearts, olives etc.
1-1/2 tabs yeast flakes (for scattering on the sauce)
Coarse-ground black pepper and dried oregano to taste
Fresh basil sprigs for the garnish
  • Spread the tomato sauce onto the base and sprinkle the yeast flakes over it.
  • Pile on the veggies; be sure to slice them thinly so that they cook through.
  • Add the tofu slices and olives, if using.
  • Sprinkle with black pepper and oregano.
  • Bake at 180-200C for about 15 minutes, or until the veggies are cooked. (Don't let the tofu get too dry and curly at the edges...)
  • Garnish with sprigs of fresh basil before serving.
For some more ideas for pizza toppings from this blog, look here , here and here.

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