8 Minute Meals: vegan pizza with almond cheese

Good Morning CT at Nine

(WTNH) — Zero waste vegan chef Max La Manna makes the perfect pizza to help you stick to your healthy New Year’s Resolutions.Homemade vegan pizza

Dough ingredients:

2 cups All- Purpose flour

1 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt or salt

1 cup warm water

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp EVOO

1/2 tsp active yeast

1/4 tsp rapid yeast


In a bowl, sift your flour with the salt to fluff it up a bit.  In a separate bowl, bring your warm water, yeast, sugar and EVOO together and mix rapidly forming bubbles – if you don’t have bubbles then your yeast is not active and/or alive or the warm water was not warm enough or to hot that it killed the yeast on contact.  After the mixture has formed bubbles let it settle for about a minute then transfer the liquid to your dry ingredients.

This is where you’ll begin to mix and create your dough.  This recipe was created with the intention of creating it with your hands, so don’t be shy get in their (make sure your hands are cleaned).  In either direction, clockwise or counter-clockwise making one motion with your hand – incorporate the flour slowly into the water – this is where it starts to get interesting and a little messing.  Really getting into it the flour and water will bind together and once that starts to happen and is working for you begin to start kneading.  Kneading is when you press with the heal of your palm into the dough by pressing away from yourself and then flapping it over and bringing it back to you -( if you have trouble here, look at a youtube video to see how this is suppose to be done).  Periodically, you may need to sprinkle a bit of flour onto the dough, so your hands don’t stick to the dough.

After you formed a ball of dough – transfer to a floured bowl and cover with a cloth and put to the side for one hour at the most ( I like putting it in the oven, but don’t turn the oven on -to incubate and speed the process up).

After one hour, flour a surface where you’ll roll your dough out.  Sprinkle a bit more flour to the dough and start pressing with your palms and fingers – be gentle, but assertive.  If you want a thinner crust you can roll it out with a rolling pin.  I like not using the rolling pin creating a thinker crust.

Pre-heat the oven at 375 degrees – on a cooking sheet, sprinkle a bit of cornmeal or salt and pepper for a hidden flavor and texture.  Transfer your dough to the cooking sheet.  Drizzle a bit of EVOO on the top of your dough and place in the oven for 3-5 minutes.  Remove from oven and spread your tomato sauce across your crust and then next, add your toppings if you wish at this point. Place back into the oven for another 8-10 minutes.  You be the judge if you like it more golden brown and with a crunch or lighter in color and softer texture.

Almond Cheese Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds ( soaked in water for 4 hours or more -other nuts can be used too)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 tsp of sea salt

1 tsp garlic powder

3 cups of nut milk (almond, coconut, soy are great choices)

1/2 cup water

3 1/2 tbs of agar powder (or cornstarch)

1/4 cup EVOO

3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

After almonds have soaked, remove skin by pressing the nut causing the skin to slip of easily and drain water.  In a blender, put almonds, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic and EVOO and blend for 1-2 minutes.  Next, add your non-dairy milk, lemon juice and water to a blend for another 2 minutes.  Your mixture will be nice and smooth now – transfer to a saucepan and mix in your agar (or cornstarch), bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer.  Cook, whisking the mixture regularly for about 10 minutes, so the consistency becomes thick.

Remove from heat and let it cool to a room temperature and transfer into a container and place into the refrigerator for 4 hours.  When chilled and firm – gently run a knife around the edges to remove – you are able to keep cheese in the freezer up to 3 months or in the fridge up to 3 days.

For more recipes by Max, visit www.eatingwithmax.com

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