Vegan CookingWhat to Cook

One Large Pizza, Hold the Cheese

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Every other Thursday, Gena Hamshaw of the blog Choosing Raw shares satisfying, flavorful recipes that also happen to be vegan.

Today: Gena shows us that vegan pizza can be just as exciting as its cheesy counterparts. 

Asparagus Pizza with Vegan Pesto


With a stellar crust, a rotation of fresh vegetables, and a brightly flavored sauce, you’ll hardly miss the cheese in vegan pizza. And if you keep some dough in the freezer, pizza is a quick and easy-to-customize dinner. I like to change it up with the seasons: butternut squash and sage in autumn, caramelized onions or cauliflower in winter, tomatoes and peppers in summer -- you get the idea.


When creating a vegan pizza from scratch, I like to think about three things: a bold, flavorful sauce (pesto, homemade marinara, or even a tapenade), a vegetable that stands up well to roasting (fennel, mushrooms, asparagus, onions, peppers, or tomatoes), and something that gives the pizza texture and contrast (I often sprinkle on fresh greens at the end, or if I’ve topped the pie with a crunchier vegetable, I’ll use a soft cashew cheese). 

More: Skeptical about cheeseless pesto? Gena's recipe will make you a believer.

This spring pizza has it all: tender spring asparagus, peppery arugula, an easy, forgiving dough, and a burst of flavor and umami from fresh pesto. If you can’t get your hands on asparagus, broccoli and artichokes will work nicely, too. Serve the pizza with a fresh salad for dinner or slice it into strips as an impressive appetizer.

Vegan Pesto

Asparagus and Arugula Pizza with Vegan Pesto 

Serves 4

1/2 recipe (2 disks) Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough
1 batch simple vegan pesto
12 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut in half
2 cups loosely packed, fresh arugula

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

Tags: the new veganism, vegan, pesto, nutritional yeast, pizza, jim lahey, asparagus, arugula, , special diets

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