On our recent Southwest road trip, we found ourselves hurling through the Rockies in the early dark of night, heading toward Denver. The drive started pleasantly, heading Northeast out of Arches National Park in Utah, along the Colorado River. The mountains were unbelievably large. I mean, there are mountains, and then there are mountains. But as night fell, the majesty gave way to anxiety; driving in the mountains at night, around blind curve after blind curve, wreaks havoc in the nerves. And arriving famished in a strange town at 11pm is rarely a good thing.
So imagine our elation when we arrived at City O' City, an all veg pub with a kitchen serving vegan pizza and wings. Imagine our ecstasy upon receiving this:
This is hands down the best vegan pizza we've ever had at a restaurant. They offered both Daiya (tm) and their own house-made cashew ricotta. And I hope this redeems our guilty pleasure a bit--we went with the cashew cheese. It was awesome. The pizza we got was the "animal lover's"--carmelized onion, regular onion, green peppers, sausage-style seitan, and pepperoni-style seitan (also both made in-house).
We've been vegan for a long time. I was already vegetarian by the time I could drink legally, and already vegan by the time I started grad school, when I found myself chained alternately to a desk and a bar stool. For years I watched my friends and colleagues order delicious pub pizza at the end of a drunken night, jealous and salivating. And finally, years later, City O' City has scratched that age-old itch. We ate amazing pizza, with beers, late at night.
And it was amazing vegan pizza. With hand-made ingredients.
Suffice it to say, this blew our minds (and our bellies).
Suffice it to say, we had to replicate this.
And lo and behold, replicate it we did!
Be forewarned--this ones takes some serious prep, but you can double up to save ingredients for a second pizza later or, better, make a few pizzas with friends and beers.
There are five key components to this pizza: the cheese, the sauce, the crust, the sausage, and the pepperoni. Let's tackle them in order.
This is pretty much an augmented version of our standard cashew cheese, but with a bit of nu yeast and vegan parmesan.
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 5 hours or more
- 1/4 cup (or a little more) water
- 1/2 tsp (or more to taste) salt
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 - 1 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 - 1 tsp vegan parmesan
- 1.5 8oz cans of tomato sauce
- 1/2 - 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 2 tsp salt
- a touch of agave or sugar (to feed the yeast)
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil (we used safflower)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (plus some for sprinkling on your rolling surface)
- 1 package of tempeh, torn into sausage-y size bites
- 1/8 cup soy sauce
- 1/8 cup water
- 1.5 tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 Italian-style brats
- 1.5 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, ground coarsely (using a mortar and pestle)
- 1/2 tsp ground mustard seed
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp freshly/coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke (tm)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
In a shallow container, mix everything but the seitan. Once mixed, toss the seitan, coating well. We use a sealable container and shake it thoroughly. Refrigerate.
Putting it all together
Cut whatever veggies you'd like into whatever size pieces you like. We used white button mushrooms, thinly sliced; peppers, diced; fresh basil, diced finely; and purple onion, cut into rings, then halved or quartered, half raw and half caramelized.
Once the crust has been pre-baked and oiled, you're finally ready to assemble this beast. Spread the sauce on the crust first. Next, dollop on the cashew cheese, then spread gently (it'll mix in with the sauce a bit, but that's okay). Add all of the toppings, then drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 - 14 minutes.
Get ready for the awesomeness.