I love pizza.
I used to eat it once a week. That was years ago--before I realized that all that cheese, pepperoni & sausage was loaded with fat and calories, and it's impossible to eat only 1 piece.
First I virtuously switched to mushroom or veggie pizza. When I craved pepperoni--I added the vegetarian variety. Trust me--it's just so-so.
Then even veggie pizza became a rarity because of all the "cheezy" fat.
After I heard Dr. T. Colin Campbell speak last year and read the The China Study---pizza became "pretty much" history at my house. Let's just say he's not a fan of dairy and his message was starting to affect my cooking.
What about soy or vegan cheese you ask? Isn't that a healthy substitute?
I don't think so! Most vegan cheese contains CASEIN which is needed to get the soy or rice or almond milk to "jell". And besides--it's fake food & it pretty much tastes fake--and it melts weirdly. Follow Your Heart Soy Cheese does not contain casein, but I'm sorry, I don't like the taste. I'm done with fake soy foods.
Here's what Dr. T. Colin Campbell has to say about soy or other veggie cheese with casein:
Here's what Dr. Dean Ornish has to say about casein:
blockages in animals.
And then there's Christina Pirello, Emmy Award Winning host of "Christina Cooks":
Yes, pizza was disappearing from my house...
That is until I discovered Isa Chandra Moskowitz' Vegan With A Vengeance recipe for Tempeh Sausage & Basil-Tofu Ricotta. These 2 ingredients--added to my pizza--created the taste of old-fashioned Italian Sausage Pizza.
Pizza Is Back To Stay--With Tempeh Sausage & Delicious (trust me) Basil-Tofu Ricotta Cheese Click here for the recipe on 1 page
1 (8 ounce) package of tempeh (if you want low fat try Soy Boy organic 5 grain tempeh)
1 tablespoon fennel seed (this is what makes Italian sausage--Italian!)
1 tsp. dried basil (use the real thing if you have it)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
In a small pan, crumble the tempeh and add enough water to almost cover it.
Over medium-high heat, simmer the tempeh until most of the water is absorbed, about 12-15 minutes.
Drain the remaining water and add the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium heart, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
I made this ahead. I made 1 pizza on Sunday & used the rest of the "sausage" for a pizza on Thursday after work.
Basil-Tofu Ricotta - enough for 3 large pizzas
1 pound firm tofu, pressed (cut in slices, wrap in a towel & weight it down with a heavy pot)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash fresh black pepper
Handful fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (10 leaves or so)
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (these are dry yellow flakes--available at Whole Foods) I know this sounds weird but it really adds a nice cheesy taste.
In a large bowl, mush the tofu up with your hands, till it's crumbly.
Add the lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil. Mush with your hands again; this time you want it to get very mushy so squeeze through your fingers and mush until it reaches the consistency of ricotta cheese. This may take 2 to 5 minutes--but it's fun.
Add the olive oil, stir with a fork. Add the nutritional yeast (it really boosts the flavor) and mix all ingredients well. Use a fork now, because the oil will make it sticky. Cover & refrigerate until ready to use. Use leftovers within 3 days.
**This makes a great filling for lasagna or stuffed pasta shells.
Assembling the Pizza
1. I use Trader Giotto's (Joe's) Fat Free Pizza Sauce. It comes in a jar. Add enough to cover 1 12-inch pizza. Or use your favorite sauce.
2. I use Trader Giotto's (Joe's) Tabula Rasa Whole Grain Pizza Crust. It has whole wheat, rye, cracked wheat,spelt, corn grits, flaxseed, millet, sesame seed, oats & a pinch of olive oil. The crust is fragile--so keep it in a safe flat space before using, so it won't break. Or use your favorite crust.
3. Extra toppings: I like sun-dried tomatoes (in they're packed in oil--blot well); olives; pre-cooked mushrooms, etc.
4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
5. Spread the crust with sauce to cover--start with a 1/3 of a cup. You should be able to see some of the crust underneath. Too much sauce will make it soggy.
6. Spoon the ricotta on, in flattened mounds about 2 tablespoons apiece--you'll want 5 mounds or so. It should look like rounds of fresh mozzarella.
7. Scatter 1/2 or less of the "sausage" around, to your liking. I loaded it on.
8. Scatter any additional extras--the sun-dried tomatoes added a nice rich taste.
9. Reduce the oven to 425 degrees and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese lightly browned.
I welcome any comments by anyone who tries this. My husband and I loved it--but it is hard to tell after awhile if our tastes have just changed.