I have seen a few pizza recipes flying around the vegan network recently. Many of them are made with a dehydrated nut base, which does look tasty. However, I don't like to eat too many nuts and seeds - especially for a main meal. Protein is vitally important, but I prefer to consume around 80% of my calories from veggies and fruit leaving 20% for nuts and grains. The idea of a wholefood pizza is fantastic and so I wracked my brain for a few days to come up with a base recipe which was mainly made from veggies rather than all nuts. I have to admit I was never a huge pizza lover before I turned vegan. We didn't have many take-aways when I was young, and I was brought up to eat relatively healthy. The only pizza we ever had occasionally was the ones you buy from the supermarket and cook in the oven yourself. They don't taste fantastic and were always forgotten about and came out burnt and cardboard-y. A few years ago my ex and I got into take-out pizzas from the local Pizza shop, and I have to admit I did like them quite a lot. I wouldn't say I ever get a craving to eat a pizza, but a vegan alternative pizza did sound pretty good! I made this pizza for my family and they all loved it - Even my dad who is a very picky eater and turns his nose up at 99% of my vegan meals!
The pizza takes a good hour and a half. If you wanted to make it a regular meal, I would suggest roasting some butternut squash in advance when you have spare time and keeping it in the fridge and it will make the process a lot shorter. The base is made from roasted butternut squash, plus a small amount of grain flour or polenta to form a 'dough'. The amount of flour or polenta you want to add is up to you. The more you add, the more 'doughy' it becomes, and the pizza slices will be easier to pick up, and less likely to fall apart.
I made a coriander and basil green pesto type sauce, as I absolutely love basil. I have been making my own pesto since I was about 12, and I cant get enough of the stuff. I usually buy packets of basil leaves, which I thought was a waste. So I decided to buy myself a basil plant. The problem is I eat the stuff quicker than it grows, and I now have a pot with a load of bare stalks!
Butternut Squash Pizza
( to make 1 medium sized pizza)
1/2 Butternut squash
1-2 cups of Polenta or Flour of choice ( ie. Quinoa, Almond, chickpea, rice)
1tsp mixed dried herbs
seasoning to taste
Take your butternut squash and cut it in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds, and place one half on a roasting tray. I like to put a few centimetres of water into my baking tray so that the squash doesn't dry out whilst cooking. Roast in oven on a medium temp for 30-40 mins.
Whilst the squash is cooking, make the green sauce.
2 handfuls of fresh basil
1 handful of fresh coriander
3 handfuls of spinach
1 garlic clove
1tbsp lemon juice
1/8 cup pine nuts
1/8 cup cashews
6tbsp of olive oil ( or oil of choice)
Season to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a blender. If you want your sauce more creamy, add a few more cashews or a splash amount of nut milk.
Once the Squash is cooked, remove the skin and mash the flesh in a bowl. Add the flour or polenta until it is a stiffer consistency. ( it will harden further in the oven.) Add mixed herbs and season to taste. Place baking paper on a flat oven tray and spread the squash dough into a circle, keeping the outer edges slightly thick like a crust. I wouldn't spread the dough any thinner than 1/2 cm.
Cook in the oven for 20-25 mins. Take out of the oven and spread the green sauce over the base, and put on toppings of your choice. ( I used yellow peppers, mushrooms, beetroot and tomatoes).
Place in the oven and cook for a further 10 mins. Remove from the over and top with a few salad leaves.