Years ago, long before the advent of a palatable vegan cheese, long enough ago that we still craved such substitutes ravenously, we stumbled upon Jo Stepaniak's excellent french bread pizza recipe from her Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook (a revelation back in those days).
Instead of a separate cheese and sauce, which never turned out very good, her recipe combined them--using tofu, tomato paste, nu yeast (our addition, later), and herbs to produce a similar effect. It was still decidedly different, however; enough so that the french bread pizza became its own thing, not a substitute. Amy was a newly minted vegan at this point (and my prior vegan eating habits were..."less developed"...than they are now), so this sticks out in memory as one of our earliest "a vegan diet doesn't have to imitate an omnivore diet" moments.
Even though we have both the cookbook and the recipe printed out from the days of yore, I made the most recent batch of french bread pizzas from memory, adapting to our overwhelming stock of tomatoes. Instead of tomato paste, you can use tomatoes (just be sure to gut them). And instead of tofu, you can use okara, if you're on the homemade soymilk tip (just be sure the okara isn't too wet, or the spread won't be firm enough). We've also got a bevy of fresh herbs right now, so we subbed those for the dry.
We made 3 loaves (i.e. 6 pizzas) and froze them all to eat later, throughout the winter. These are a great way to preserve tomatoes without actually canning, and a great way to use up some of that okara that's been sitting in the fridge.
French Bread Pizza
- 1 lb firm tofu, drained OR 1.5 - 2 cups okara (not too wet)
- 3 - 4 medium/large-sized tomatoes, gutted OR 4 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 small handful of fresh basil OR tsp dried basil
- 1 - 2 tbsp of fresh, chopped oregano OR 2 tsp dried oregano
- 4 - 6 cloves of garlic, pressed OR 2 tsp dried granulated garlic
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 3 short loaves of french bread (or 1 long and 1 short--or two long, and make garlic bread out of the last half)
In a food processor, blend all of the above (except the french bread of course) until smooth. Slice the loaves in half and spread the mixture evenly on them. These are great as-is, but even better with a few toppings:
Optional topping recommendations
- sauteed mushrooms
- sauteed onions
- raw onions
- green peppers
- tomato slices
Here's a batch, pre-baking:
Served with a big enough salad, one pizza (not loaf) can be enough to for two people, and will leave you feeling full and awesome.
He had this with a delicious Italian salad.
Here's how to make the dressing:
Creamy Italian Salad Dressing
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (ground--we use a coffee grinder)
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- 3 cloves of garlic (pressed or minced)
- 1 tbsp Vegenaise (tm) (optional)
- 1 tbsp Kenzoil (tm) (or 1 additional tbsp olive and 1/2 additional tsp each dried thyme, oregano, basil, and rosemary)
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3/4 cup milk substitute
- salt & pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Store in a cruet for maximal deliciousity and presentation.