How to, yo: VEGAN PIZZA! Tips and tools from start to finish!   »


I wish I could explain this logically, but it’s not really a logic desire. Here’s the thing: for as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pizza. Something about that cartoon pizza, it just looked so good, and pizza in real life never quite measured up! I know I’m not alone in this.

Something changed once I started making vegan pizzas; they just had that ooey-gooey look to them, the very look I’d been striving for my entire life! Something about how the cheese melts and the vegan pepperonis bake in, it’s a visual and tasty delight! Of course, using vegetables on your pizza is much healthier, and I highly recommend it (I take mine with mushrooms, spinach, roasted garlic and sometimes pineapple). Or you can make your own vegan sausages with this recipe

That’s enough waxing poetic about my favorite 80s/early 90s cartoon, let’s get to the pizza dough part! I don’t like working with dough. THERE I SAID IT. I will always go for convenience when it comes to bread, pastries, pie dough and pizza dough! That is, until I stumbled across this pizza dough recipe by Bobby Flay! It’s really easy and you don’t even need a stand mixer to make it! 

If you do have a stand-mixer, you can follow the recipe as it says, but if you don’t, here’s my method:

In a small bowl, mix the yeast, sugar, warm water and olive oil. Let sit for a couple of minutes.

In a large bowl, add 3 1/2 cups of the flour and salt. Mix, make a well in the center and then add yeast mixture. Knead until all the flour is incorporated, adding the last 1/2 cup of flour if too wet. I find I usually don’t need it. Now follow the rest of the directions in terms of letting it rise! (When I make my dough, I add just a pinch of extra salt and about a tablespoon of dried rosemary.)


When it came time to bake my pizza, I did at 450F, on a baking sheet, for about 10 - 15 minutes, until the bottom was nicely browned. If your oven smokes at high temperatures, you can bake at 400F for a longer period of time—just check the bottom of the crust periodically. If you have a pizza stone or fire brick oven, what are you reading this for? You are probably a pizza wizard and could be giving me tips! 

Now, if you choose to use vegan cheese, Daiya is probably the easiest in terms of melt and go. If you are a FYH soy mozzarella fan, but are exasperated by it’s melting abilities, I’d like to help you! You gotta melt it in a double boiler first (I shred it, or cut it up real small, then melt it). Once it’s melted, spoon it onto your pizza. Yeah, it’s an extra step, but it’s worth it! I like Daiya alright, but I get tired of it. Every time I use melted FYH soy mozz, at least three people on Instagram tell me I’ve been duped, that there’s no way my pizza is vegan. That my friends, I call a success! I have been thinking this homemade tofu chèvre would make a tasty addition for a very sophisticated pizza! 

I have some tips on shaping pizza dough here! Basically, it’s easiest to work with when at room temperature and DON’T TOUCH THE OUTSIDE CRUST! 


As far as pizza sauce goes, I usually use jarred marinara sauce. The other night I made my own, and it was really easy! I sautéed, in olive oil, half a diced onion, three cloves of minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste (1/2 tsp of each, maybe) and 1 TB of Italian herbs. I added a can of diced tomatoes, and about 1/2 cup of white wine (totally optional, and red is great too), then let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Add a tsp of sugar if it’s too tart. I like my pizza sauce smooth so I blended it, but you could also just use canned tomato sauce! 

Sick of the same ‘ol, same ‘ol? Here’s my recipe for BBQ “chicken” pizza! 

As always, we love to hear from you! What are your favorite toppings? Do you have a recipe for a great gluten-free dough? Did you love the Ninja Turtles as much as me? Let us know! 


Recipe: The Vegan Italian Hoagie!   »


Growing up in Philly, I ate plenty of hoagies in my pre-vegan days. Italian hoagies were my jam especially so when I saw that Diaya was coming out with provolone slices, I was like, “this is it! It’s hoagie time!” And god bless me, my vegan hoagie turned out out of control delicious!

You too can make your own Italian hoagie, here are the supplies you will need:

-Italian Amoroso-type roll (I found one at the deli at the regular grocery store—had cornmeal dust and all)
-Vegan mayo (I used Earth Balance)
-Daiya provolone
-Veg salami (I used Viana Velami, got this and the Daiya from Vegan Essentials)
-Iceberg lettuce
-Pickle slices
-Olive oil
-White vinegar

Slice your roll along the side (not the top like crazy Subway) and spread the mayo inside. Place your meat and cheese slices like so:


Then slice your lettuce and onions. BTW this is prob the only time I will ever recommend iceberg for anything. Don’t tear it or anything, the lettuce should be sliced into strips like these: 


And I just sliced the onion similarly. Sprinkle ample amounts of lettuce and onion on top of your open sandwich. Then top with pickle slices. 


Sprinkle a little of your oil and vinegar on top. Then the salt, pepper, and a dash of oregano. 




Vegan road trip: Phoenix! Check out Green restaurant and make your own Big Wac!   »

What’s a girl to do when a case of winter S.A.D, holiday fatigue, and the daily grind have got her down? Go to the Grand Canyon for Spring Break! Beat the blues by visiting one of the greatest natural wonders the Earth has to offer. Cautiously stand six feet away from the ledge, watch a group of men take a picture of their friend plank on the edge (thinking that surely you are going to watch a handsome Englishman plummet to his death right before your eyes, frozen in fear and experiencing vertigo just looking at him) and forget your own emotional baggage for a couple hours.

Sick of winter and worn out from the holidays, my bestie Britney and I began planning Spring Break 2013, or SXAZ, as it seemed everyone else was in Austin at the time. What was initially envisioned as a road trip from Vegas to Santa Fe quickly became reduced once travel time and expenses became a reality. Enter PHOENIX! VegNews just profiled Tempe and Phoenix vegan hotspot Green, Air BnB rentals* are plentiful, and for the four-hour drive to the Grand Canyon, Zipcars are available.

Now, if you should for any reason, find yourself in Phoenix, it is imperative that you eat at Green restaurant. Britney and I ate at Green three of the four days on that trip, we just COULD NOT get enough. By far, for both us, the most incredible item on the menu was their Big Wac, a vegan take on the (in)famous McDonald’s burger. We loved this sandwich so much, we stopped by for the third visit on our way to airport so we could eat our Big Wacs for dinner in San Francisco. Consider us obsessed.

Upon returning home, within four days I had to make my own.  So I present you with the Big JB.

I like my junk food with a side of sautéed kale. Or chocolate cake, whatever is available.

Two imitation burgers of your choice (I used Whole Foods brand)
Vegan cheese (Daiya cheddar wedge)
Romaine lettuce
Buns (whole wheat if you are healthy, white flour if you love decadence like me)
Equal parts vegan mayo and ketchup (probably about 2 tablespoons of each)
Dill pickles
2 to 3 tablespoons diced white onion

Cook your burgers as instructed on the box. I fried mine up in vegetable oil, in a saucepan on the stove, because if I’m making glorified fast food for dinner, I’m not going the healthy route. Melt your vegan cheese atop burgers as you see fit. I like to put it on the burgers when they are almost done in the frying pan, turn off the heat, and cover the pan till the cheese melts. Smear your buns with “special sauce” (i.e. ketchup and vegan mayo), add diced onions and a couple pickles. Add your romaine lettuce as desired for nutrient value. Design burger as pictured, because you need that extra bun layer, believe me.

*We stayed in a hippie house that put Berkeley to shame. TO SHAME. No matter my minor in hippie studies from Humboldt State; I broke pretty much every rule in that house with my mere existence.


Hot tip: Escape From New York Pizza in the Mission has vegan slices!  »

Pizza party, all the time! Well, at least on Sundays in the Mission. We got a tip from an Escape From New York Pizza employee that their Mission location serves vegan slices from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Get on it, their pizza is yum!

I live next to the Escape From New York in the Upper Haight and I would love to see this happen there, because when I want their Daiya cheese pie, I have to order a WHOLE ONE. The vegan slices at Whole Foods across the street always look kind of nasty, so I end up making a vegan pizza myself, or breaking down and ordering one from EFNY. Then I eat the entire thing because will power is not something I apply to in my life!

When I say “I live next to,” I mean “when I open my bedroom window, the breeze is pizza-scented.” This must be what heaven smells like.

Jo from EFNY in the Mission tells us that she is vegan, so she makes sure the vegan slices are made separately! Thanks for looking out Jo! You just made my life a little brighter. Let’s go get some slices! And beer! See you in Dolores park, hipsters.

Remember, it’s only on Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Mission Escape From New York at 3242 22nd St. (between Mission and Valencia).


How to, yo: Mold the best pizza crust!   »

I just had a pizza party with my family! And I broke my mom’s pizza stone, the night before Mother’s Day. I’m a terrible person! I’m not sure the iTunes gift certificate, coconut wax candle and cock blocker I gave her will make up for slamming her stone in the oven and demolishing it. It was an accident! But since she is a great person, she didn’t even get mad at me. My mom is the best.

I want to give props to Chef Mitch at Source for giving me the inside scoop on molding pizza crust. I was a pretty good home cook before; however, working side by side with him every day has taught me so much. If you come into Source, tell him you love the hints on Vegansaurus. It might render him speechless, which is no easy feat—that guy loves to talk! But I love listening, so it is a match made in restaurant heaven.

Now, whether it’s homemade or store-bought pizza dough you are working with, it is the easiest and best to handle at room temperature, so let your dough sit out for an hour or so. That way when you stretch it, it will stay where you put it. Also, play with the outside edge, which will be the uncovered crust, as little as possible. If you can get away with not touching it at all, that is great: It will make for a wonderful, light, “eggshell” crust that will rise beautifully and impress everyone. Shape and stretch your crust from the inside out. However you do this, DON’T TOUCH THE VERY OUTSIDE PART! That’s it. That’s all I’m trying to say.

This outside crust here is a little extreme, as in, it’s HUGE. But the dough was cold and I had a hard time stretching it. You don’t have to go this big, but you know what they say: Go big or go home! The outside crust was so light and fluffy, I felt like a pro. Do you like how I made myself a half-cheese, half-veggie combo? I need options! And remember when some of you were like “Daiya is gross, it tastes like glue”? Well, I really like it. Follow Your Heart soy mozzarella is my numero uno, but Daiya is my mistress! They better not make me choose, because I love them both so much.


Product Review: Daiya Havarti wedge!   »

This is a picture of an empty container of the new Daiya Havarti. It’s empty because I ate it all! It was super delicious and I ate it all just on crackers. 

I know there are mixed feelings in the crowd about Daiya and I have mixed feelings myself. I don’t really like the shreds if I use them at home, but I like them when I buy stuff and it’s made with Daiya shreds. But this Havarti stuff is totally addictive! Like, I ate it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for three days. It’s amazing.

It’s softish, and has a kick from the jalapeño. I didn’t taste too much garlic. I’m usually kind of a nancy about spicy stuff but this jalapeño didn’t bother me much. I just did a high cracker to Havarti ratio. If you like super spicy stuff, you’ll have to add some more spice on your own. If you don’t like spicy stuff, I wouldn’t let that deter you from this Havarti. BTW I bought it on Vegan Essentials

Moral of the story: Daiya Havarti effing rules!


NPR wants to “crack the code” of vegan cheese analogs!  »

Rachel Estabrook at NPR’s The Salt blog gets into the science of vegan cheese analogs, and poses some interesting questions. Why are we so obsessed with making some vegan cheeses behave exactly like casein-ful animal’s milk cheese? How are food scientists working on replicating this “hold onto itself and then lightly let go and then hold onto itself” action that makes dairy cheese melt? Which company has been the most successful so far, and who else is trying?

That answer is illustrated by this photo of Easy Vegan Info’s mac & cheese pizza with Daiya (here’s her recipe, I know what you really want). Yes, according to vegan cheese code-crackers, Daiya makes the best meltable vegan cheese on the market. Being a hardcore Follow Your Heart fan, I take issue with this assertion as nonsense, but also Daiya is a total gutbomb for me and I don’t eat it.* To each her own!

Maybe this new line of shredded vegan cheeses from Galaxy Natural Foods will be the melting vegan cheese that unites us on such a divisive subject. Has anyone tried it yet? It was supposed to be out in April and it’s already May! Give us our new toy, already.

If you want to discuss your most beloved/despised vegan cheeses here, please feel free. Category is: It melts!

*OK I might make an exception for this beauty.

[photo by Kelly Garbato via Flickr]


New Shredded Vegan Cheese! Exciting??  »

It’s from Galaxy Foods, who, in my very smart and correct opinion, makes pretty shitty vegan cheese. You know the classic vegan cheese that’s the butt of every joke? They make that. BUMMER. But, you know, this is shiny and new and maybe it’s not terrible? And it’s shredded! And Daiya needs someone to come at them, right?? I love Daiya but sometimes it reminds me of what eating Slimer might be like. Just a little. Which isn’t to say it doesn’t have its place and that I don’t really like it but yeah, I WANT MORE. Healthy competition, yo!

Hits the shelves in April, 2012. Everyone watch out? 


How-to, yo: Roast asparagus!   »

"What’s on that asparagus?" my roommate Dan asked me.
"Yes. It’s really fucking good.”

This conversation happened. It happened 30 seconds ago. You see, I’m trying muster up the energy to write about my trip The Detox Market, which is the cutest vegan specialty shop in San Francisco, but I am so very tired. You feel me, right? So I’m going to share my dinner instead and also teach you how to roast the best asparagus of Dan’s YOUR LIFE. (Think you have a better recipe? Share the love in the comments! I want to know!)

My other roommate Crystal was the one who introduced me to roasting asparagus. I had always steamed it before. BORING!

Here’s the lowdown:
1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Wash your asparagus (I used a little over a pound of it). Snap off the ends. I forgot to do this (so very tired tonight) and it’s important because the ends are so tough you won’t be able to chew threw them. I had to cut off all the ends after they were roasted! LAME!
3. Lightly coat a baking sheet with oil. I used vegetable, but olive oil would probably be ideal. Place asparagus on baking sheet and lightly drizzle with more oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (garlic salt or powder would be delicious as well!) and then squeeze the juice of one lemon over the stalks.
4. Place in oven and roast until fork tender!
5. Serve to all your roommates, the friend you invited over, and yourself. You will be the most loved person ever.

(Also pictured is my cheesy eggplant casserole! Changes I made to the original casserole recipe posted include using Daiya cheese instead of Italian-style cashew cheese or tofu ricotta, and substituting kale for spinach. Next time I think I’m going to use kale AND spinach! Leafy greens galore!)

It’s not hard for me to get people to come over to dinner at my pad! Plus I’m ALL my roommates’ favorite roommate. Just kidding! We all love each other equally!


Bowzer’s Pizza in Alameda has vegan cheese, and cornmeal deep-dish!  »

Bowzer’s Pizza is like a Patxi's on The Island! Man, Alameda is really stepping it up. When I was but a wee lass, making my way around The Island’s culinary dining scene took everything I got. And now, you kids, just rolling around in your vegan pâté and your cornmeal-crusted deep-dish vegan pizza. It’s almost enough for me to blow the whole place up except that my parents still live there and I can’t really deal with that kind of tragedy right now.

I will say, the other night I was dining with my mom and she was acting like she had no clue about the takeout options around town and I was like, “WOMAN DID WE GROW UP IN DIFFERENT HOMES?” because I think I was actually fed sushi in place of breast milk. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy for me to be vegan? I don’t really have the strong culinary memories that many people do. Or, if I do, it’s for wonton noodle soup at China Gourmet or Dragon Rolls at Kamakura. Seriously, what does pot roast taste like? And what about fresh baked apple pie? AM I EVEN A WHITE MIDDLE-CLASS AMERICAN? *takes off mask to reveal 200-year-old Chinese lady*

Also, here’s a pic of the regular pizza with Daiya. The menu says “soy cheese,” but it’s Daiya. BIG SURPRISE. The pizza was really fantastic, I love cornmeal crust, and potatoes are an option for a topping. Yes! And they deliver on The Island! Strongly considering moving back to Alameda, as we even have a movie theater now. THINGS CHANGE, PEOPLE.

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