Pizzas with caesar salad

vegan pizza

I made pesto the other day so I’ve been planning on making a pizza for me with pesto and roasted veggies with a cashew cheese instead of the kiddie version we usually make with Daiya. Served with a caesar salad, it’s the perfect meal.

But, of course, the kids won’t eat the pizza I want – the pesto is covered with roasted garlic and onions – so they get their own. All the leftovers go into the freezer for last minute lunches so it’s worth my effort to make two large pizzas.

I was originally going to make the pizza from my new cookbook but I would have had to start it yesterday to have it today! The dough is supposed to sit in the fridge overnight, cashews are supposed to soak overnight, the onions, garlic and peppers are supposed to be caramelized and roasted separately… it was too much prep work. Not to mention the dishes!

So went with my tried and true quick pizza dough (takes about 5 minutes to mix and then 10 minutes to rest and it’s ready to use). I used the pesto I made on the weekend. I chopped the onion, peppers and peeled the garlic cloves, tossed them in olive oil and roasted them in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes (on one pan).

vegan pizza
My pizza has pesto, cashew cheese, vegan sausages, roasted onions, peppers and garlic on a whole wheat crust.

I used the quick soak method for the cashew cheese, adding boiling water and letting them soak for 30 minutes or so and followed the mozzarella recipe in The Edgy Veg: 138 Carnivore-Approved Vegan Recipes.

When I got to the end of the recipe, I noticed it said to let it sit in the fridge for at least 3 hours before using. That didn’t happen. But I didn’t use it all, I guess I’ll see if the time in the fridge improves the flavour or texture of the cheese. It was nice on the pizza.

I wouldn’t call it mozzarella, though. Cashew cheese is delicious in its own right. When we name it a traditional cheese name, like mozzarella, it disappoints because it isn’t the same thing. This cheese was dropped in spoonfuls onto the pizza – it doesn’t spread or melt. But it does taste good. And with the pesto, roasted vegetables and vegan sausages, it was REALLY good.

The kids’ pizza

vegan kid pizza
The kids pizza has Daiya cheese, vegan sausage and roasted yellow pepper with tomato sauce.

Both pizzas were topped with roasted yellow peppers and vegan sausages made by Fieldroast. So far, these are the only sausages my kids enjoy – the Fieldroast Apple Sage Sausage. They were delicious with the caramelized onions, peppers and garlic. We enjoy the other flavours but the kids find them too spicy. Their pizza has tomato sauce from our freezer stash.

The salad

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When I was making the salad, I originally planned to top it with the eggplant bacon from the Edgy Veg but the eggplant took too long to sweat and then marinate. The next step is to bake for an hour or longer in a not so hot oven but this would have cut into the pizza baking time. So I saved half the caesar dressing to make the salad I wanted to make tonight, tomorrow.

In the meantime, I tossed half the dressing with romaine lettuce, a red bell pepper, cucumber and a large tomato. I topped it with hemp seeds and sea salt. And put the black pepper grinder on the table (my daughter has no tolerance for black pepper). My son isn’t into salads so he got his cucumber and red pepper in stick form on the side of his plate.

 

Greens with roasted chickpeas, salty seed mix and a tangy avocado dressing

Vegan salad with roasted chickpeas and avocado dressing
Lettuce topped with avocado dressing, roasted chickpeas and a salty seed mix.

People often tell me they couldn’t be vegan because they could never give up cheese. I don’t miss it at all. In fact, when I think of where cheese comes from and I remember the smell of the dairy farm I visited (that inspired me to give up dairy), it turns my stomach.

One food that I do miss, though, is caesar salad. In my early teenage years, I loved caesar salad dressing. I didn’t like that caesar salads don’t include much in the way of vegetables so I would order a garden salad with the dressing and cover it in fresh pepper.

I’ve tried every vegan caesar salad dressing I could find and I was always disappointed. This dressing on my salad above gets its creaminess from avocado and it hits the spot.

Full disclosure – it didn’t pass the kids’ taste test. It was too tangy for my daughter and my son wasn’t interested. They had spaghettini with tomato sauce and roasted vegetables without any salad.

vegan spaghetti dinner
Spaghettini with tomato sauce and roasted vegetables.

I topped their tomato sauce with a salty seed mix.

Salty seed mix

  • 2 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Combine the seeds, nutritional yeast and salt in a little bowl. Drizzle them with olive oil and toss it well to mix. Use to top pasta and salads.

Roasted chickpeas

Very simple stuff. Preheat the oven to 350. Drain a can of chickpeas and dry them off with a towel. Toss them in olive oil, salt and garlic powder and bake for 20 minutes. Bake further if you want them crunchy.

Vegan spaghetti dinner with salad
Salad, spaghettini with tomato sauce and vegetables

I won’t call my salad caesar because it isn’t a match but it is a nice change if you’re looking for a nice creamy dressing. Here’s how I make it.

Creamy avocado dressing

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 clove of garlic (I roasted my this time but raw is more caesar-like)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup water

Blend the ingredients together and serve.

To make the salad, I topped the lettuce with dressing to ensure ultimate coverage and topped it with the chickpeas and a sprinkling of the salty seed mix.

Find the recipe for the kid-friendly tomato sauce here. The roasted vegetables were chopped to bite-sized pieces and roasted at 425 for 30 minutes.

Bon appétit!