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.
Divino, the restaurant that replaced Fellini, posts menu »
So, we loved Berkeley’s Fellini but it’s long gone so we just have to go get used to that and get over it—which is very hard for us as WE HATE CHANGE. Anyway, the replacement, Divino, has posted their menu and it looks like a bunch of slow food hoo-hah but I’m thankful they’ll still have some vegan options, and the brunch looks especially good.
I don’t know, I love that they still have vegan pizza but I’m bummed that it’s all made with fancy grilled vegetables and not ten pounds of vegan meat. I loved that Smiling Cow pizza—that stuff was ridic! But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, maybe the roasted kumquat and tutti di frutti will be delicious?? I’m willing to give it a shot! Maybe this will finally be the amazingly authentic vegan Italian food that we’re missing in this area? Maybe they’ll make a gnocchi to rival Portland’s Portobello? Maybe I’ll win the lottery and ditch you all to yacht around the world with Jay-Z, Beyonce, and little Jay-Z-Beyonce? THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS.
I don’t think they’re open yet but people have been seen inside doing tastings but we don’t care about them because they’re not us. Anyone tried anything yet?? Anyone excited about them opening?? WHAT’S THE WORD LET’S EAT!
Thanks Jennifer Chen for the heads-up!
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.
Zachary’s Pizza is offering VEGAN PIZZA! Oh, hell yes! »
Just got an email from the AWESOME Leandra at Zachary’s and she says this re: their new vegan pizza (!!!!):
I am following up with our email conversation WAY back in August 2010 to let you know we are now offering a vegan pizza. Our WHEAT stuffed and thin crusts are now vegan, and we offer Daiya mozz-style vegan cheese. The changes are not yet updated on our website, but should soon. I wanted to let you be one of the first to know! Thank you for reaching out to us.
You guys! This is such awesome, huge news! And how cute and great and smart and funny is Leandra!? Zachary’s, I’m coming home.
Eating at Zachary’s is the first experience with Chicago-style deep-dish pizza that pretty much anyone who grew up in the S.F. Bay Area had. Because of that, it’s always held a huge slice (ha!) of my fatty, vegan-pizza-loving heart! And I remember it tasting SO DAMN GOOD. Oh! Once, I even saw Blossom eating there! BLOSSOM! I am telling you, so many memories, so much deliciousness. This is a historic day, indeed!
Let us all take a moment to reflect on the fact that just a few years ago, the only option for vegan pizza in the Bay Area was NO OPTION. Now, we’ve got millions! Or at least five. We’ve come a long way, baby. I hope everyone, not just vegans, give this Zachary’s vegan pizza a shot because it’s sure to be hella tasty and also not filled with cholesterol and milkfat. Seriously, join us on the vegan side! We’ve got pizza! And it won’t kill you!
Let’s all go and support them and then maybe, JUST MAYBE, we’ll have enough vegan pizzas in the Bay Area to have a VEGAN PIZZA TASTE-OFF. WTF, life is awesome. Thank you, Zachary’s!!
Oh, maybe one day they’ll try a Teese-and-Daiya mix on the pizzas? Because that’s my favorite. BUT I’M NOT PICKY! (lie.) Just putting it out there, spit-balling with the universe, seeing what could happen. Until then, I will eat this Daiya-riffic pie with abandon!
Happy Thanksgiving from Kelly of Fuck Yeah Vegan Pizza and her UTTERLY BONKERS Thanksgiving pizza. She says, she and her husband made pizza “layered with garlic and chive mashed potatoes, gravy, hickory-smoked Tofurky deli slices, carrots, sweet corn, and green beans, all on a veggie broth-infused crust. Served with sides of stuffing, extra gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes and mixed veggies (both left over pizza toppings)…. IT WAS INEVITABLE.”
Kelly is a national treasure, you guys, and if you aren’t following (and submitting to!) Fuck Yeah Vegan Pizza, you are doing the internet wrong.
Vegan MoFo: Margherita toast! »
More often than not, my easy vegan recipes come from a random craving that needs immediate satisfaction. Margherita toast is no exception: One autumn afternoon in 2010 I had a serious hankering for pizza—not greasy, drippy, stringy-cheesy pizza, but hearty, rich, and healthy: whole grains, chunky veggies, fresh greens, and tons of flavor. With no vegan pizza options in the vicinity, I rolled up my sleeves, opened my refrigerator door, and decided I’d have to get creative. Margherita Toast was soon born, and has become a simple staple in my household ever since.
Depending on the portion, it can be a snack or a full meal, and the flavors are full and rich enough to satisfy cravings for the not-so-super-healthy pizza varieties. Read on, and drool accordingly!
A couple slices of bread (whole grain is obviously best; sprouted is even better!)
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground salt and pepper
Fresh greens (I like arugula, but spinach, mizuna, broccoli rabe, etc. all work too)
vegan cheese alternative (I love Daiya, any flavor)
Fresh or dried Italian spices (basil, rosemary, oregano, etc.)
Get creative! Maybe some olives? Mushrooms? Artichoke hearts?
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place one or two (or more!) slices of bread on a baking sheet or sheet of tinfoil. Spread a spoonful of sauce on the bread if you like, or just leave it plain. If you have a taste for cheese, sprinkle a little handful of Daiya (whichever flavor you like) on each piece of bread.
Then lay three or four tomato slices on each piece—slice ‘em thick if you like it hearty, or thin if you prefer a more subtle tomato flavor.
After the oven has preheated, put your creation on the middle rack and let it toast for about 12 minutes, depending on your oven—it may take as little as 10, or as much as 15.
Yank those bad boys out of the oven before they burn, and sprinkle some finely chopped fresh or dried herbs if you’re into it, then toss a good handful of greens on top of the whole mess. Follow that up with a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper, then a drizzle of olive oil over everything. Let it marinate for a minute or two—be patient!—and then feast.
With all the fresh, real, simple ingredients combined, you’ve created a serious taste of Italy. Win!
Hey NYC! Vegan pizza tour this weekend! »
OMG is right. Our dear reader Tim alerted me to this like 80 months ago and I’m like, Tim! You can’t tell me about things 80 months in advance! Because I forget! But! I actually remembered. Hopefully there are still tickets left. “Tickets for what?” you ask? A vegan pizza bus tour!
Apparently, October is pizza month. Scott’s Pizza Tours is celebrating in style every Saturday! And first up is this vegan pizza tour:
October 1 - Learning to Love Your Vegan
Visit pizzerias that will satisfy both vegans and the omnivores alike. Just leave the leather jacket at home.
Where they are going, I do not know. I’m guessing they are going places that have vegan pizza. That’s what I would do.
Tim adds: “if I had to guess, I would say it’s probably going to be the dopemobile. I took a spin on the Scott’s Pizza tour bus (a while back in pre-vegan days) and it’s probably the best pizza-centric experience I’ve had since I was 8 and I learned you can even make pizza AT HOME!” He also says Scott is super nice. So, in the words of Spike Lee, get on the bus!
Patxi’s pizza with wine and beer: a love story »
On Aug. 31, I participated in a Patxi’s pizza, beer, and wine pairing. Let me tell you, I love pizza and beer! I love pizza and wine! I especially love those things for free.
The whole event was what I imagined being on an episode of Check, Please! must feel like—as in, the intense conversations about food and beverages at restaurants. When I was broke, lonely and up too late, living in Chicago, I watched that show all the time. Then, the first time I went to Patxi’s, what do they happen to be filming? Check, Please! Bay Area! You can see my cameo on my favorite show here, at the 1:21 mark. Yes, I am stuffing my face—but with a fork! I don’t know what possessed me to pick up a fork to eat pizza; that never happens, even if it is the instant mess known as Chicago-style. On that fateful night in July, I had a Daiya cheese, spinach, and mushroom-stuffed pizza with Sierra Nevadas. Fullness and contentment to the max!
The second time I went to Patxi’s, it was to take part in these pairings. Also in attendance were Raj Irukulla and Meredith Arthur of Chow, Amy Sherman of Cooking with Amy, Personal Sommelier Courtney Chochran and Laiko Bahrs of Patxi’s Pizza and coordinator of the night. I went in all, “I like pizza and beer, yum,” and very quickly felt like a college freshman in a class with seniors. However, I faced my intimidation and ate, drank, even offered some insight (very much to the tune of “pizza, wine, beer, YUM!”).
First vegan pizza! Thin crust with Daiya and tomatoes.
Second vegan pizza! Chicago-style deep dish with Daiya, olives, artichoke hearts, spinach, red bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and red onions.
The wines we drank included zinfandel, cabernet sauvingnon, pinot noir, and sauvignon blanc. The beers included Widmer hefeweizen, Sweetgrass APA, New Dogtown pale ale, and Bud Light.
I concluded that:
- Pinot noir doesn’t go with pizza or me
- Zinfandel and cabernet are so very tasty, but too strong for pizza
- Sauvignon blanc pairs incredibly with spinach salad
- Sweetgrass APA tastes very similar to Sierra Nevada, is therefore delicious and now my new favorite beer. That means it goes with all foods, all occasions
- Hefenweizen and pale ales are not my thing and do not go with anything, ever, not even lemons (Sierra Nevada doesn’t count, as it’s darker than a typical Pale Ale)
And, now, I know you are going to think I’m crazy, but Bud Light goes really well with Chicago-style pizza. The entire table agreed! (We also had sampled all of the libations and eaten a lot at the point that the Bud Light was served). Its lightness compliments the flavors of the pizza and doesn’t weigh one down as much as a fuller-bodied/calorie-dense beer.
I learned that I like light beer with pizza. Plus I can totally pack more pizza in my stomach that way. Although, if someone else is buying, I’ll drink whatever is in front of me and it will be just fine!
Laiko emailed the group’s (vegan-relevant) conclusions:
- Zinfandel was great with the extra-thin-crust pizzas
- Sauvignon blanc was a nice pairing with cheese or Daiya extra-thin-crust pizzas, light on toppings
- Cabernets and pinots competed with the tomato sauce and deep-dish flavors
- Beer paired well with spicier pizza
- Turns out Bud Light is great with deep-dish with lots of toppings
What do you guys think? What are your favorite adult beverages to pair with pizza?
Perfection! Pizza, wine, and a loose crayon. My pizza fell face flat on my plate as it was being served, but I was all “No problem here!”
Guest post: Finding vegan in the Indianapolis! »
Finding vegan-friendly places to eat in a new city can be a difficult, frustrating affair; though nothing beats sitting on your patio, sharing a home-cooked meal and some family leisure time by the pool, it’s nice to be able to go out for a good meal. I discovered this recently when I moved to Indianapolis, Ind., a city not widely known for its cuisine or vegan-friendliness. Despite its (lack of) reputation, there are many fantastic restaurants in Indianapolis that cater to vegans and non-vegans alike, making them perfect destinations for families whose members have various dietary restrictions. Five of the best I’ve found so far are 3 Sisters Café, Jasmine Thai, Santorini’s Greek Kitchen, Yats, and ‘Za.
Though there are many Thai restaurants in Indianapolis, my favorite by far is Jasmine Thai. Nestled in a shopping plaza on 96th Street and River Road on the North side of Indy, the cozy dining area and friendly staff provide a pleasant atmosphere. Nearly every dish can be made vegan by substituting tofu for meat and asking for no eggs. Jasmine uses fresh spices and vegetables in all their dishes and will add extra vegetables to any dish for $2, though I found that my Pad Woon-Sen was so jam-packed with veggies that I could scarcely have handled more. If you’re looking for a good, laid-back place to take your family or don’t feel like cooking and are in the mood for some good Thai food, look no further than Jasmine Thai. In addition to being vegan-friendly, it’s a great place to go if you have gluten allergies or celiac disease, because Thai cuisine does not use wheat.
Voted Best Vegetarian/Vegan Option in Nuvo's Best of Indy 2010 awards, Yats is Indy's preeminent Cajun/Creole restaurant chain. With locations in Broad Ripple, downtown, Fishers, and Greenwood, it's easy to find an accessible spot. The menus at each location rotate daily, so it's best to ask which items are vegan, though dishes like succotash are on the menu more often than not. Each dish comes with buttered bread, so letting the staff know that you're seeking a vegan option is recommended. Yats is a great restaurant to take a family if you're looking for a fast-paced, colorful night out. Also, the Broad Ripple location is just half a mile from Cantebury Park, making it a great place to bring take-out and spend some time with your children.
Santorini’s Greek Kitchen
Located in Fountain Square in central Indianapolis, Santorini’s Greek Kitchen is a family-owned authentic Greek restaurant with several vegan-friendly options, including lahanosalata (cabbage salad), soupa me bizelia (split pea soup) and spanakopita (spinach pie—make sure to ask them to leave out the feta). Popular vegan appetizers include hummus, tzaziki, baba ganoush and Santorini tomato balls. Santorini’s is the most expensive of these three restaurants, with appetizers costing around $7 and main dishes running between $12 and $18, but the food is fantastic and the atmosphere is friendly and inviting. Why not top off an evening out with the family by visiting Santorini’s? The friendly staff and energetic atmosphere will make you feel like you’re at a family reunion with your favorite family members.
Broad Ripple Village, a neighborhood on the north side of Indy, is a treasure trove of fantastic restaurants. It’s also where you’ll find ‘Za Pizzeria, a small late-night pizza joint that makes their dough in-house and uses all fresh ingredients. Their only menu options are pizza and breadsticks, so it’s very, very niche. They have a specialty vegan pizza, the VeganZa, which uses Daiya and a choice of two toppings for $22 for a 14-inch or $28 for an 18-inch pie. The atmosphere is light, with a small dining room painted in a bright orange. It’s not an ideal place to take a large group of people, but they do offer delivery, so you can easily enjoy some ‘Za in the comfort of your home.
Another gem of Broad Ripple, 3 Sisters Café is a family-friendly eatery established in a beautiful old house. With creaky wooden floors and large windows, you’ll feel more like you’re eating at grandma’s than at a restaurant. The food is absolutely amazing. They serve non-vegetarian and vegan dishes, so you’ll have to pay special attention to the menu when you’re ordering, though vegan dishes are marked. Some of the most delectable available are the multigrain porridge, and the black bean burger. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable about the food and can help you find what you need.
If you know where to go, Indianapolis has a wide variety of fantastic restaurants that are suitable for both vegans and non-vegans, making them ideal places to take mixed groups. If you live or travel in the Indianapolis area, give each of these places a try; they all bring something unique—and delicious—to the table.
Joe Baker is a health fanatic who hates anything processed. His hobbies include adventure racing, Krav Maga, and horseback riding. Eating right makes these possible, so do it.
[“View of Indianapolis” by Edward Sachse, 1854, via Yale Digital Commons]
Reader Mike from Santa Cruz sent this photo of his giant, gorgeous pizza made with homegrown zucchini, artichoke hearts, and Daiya. “The crust is a wonderful made-to-order vegan crust from the Grateful Bread Company in Sacramento.”
It looks so good, I want to put it in my face, like, yesterday. Thanks, Mike!
Want to share your pretty food with Vegansaurus? Of course you do!