Tomato and Pesto Pizza!

“I love pizza but it always sits so heavy on my stomach”

I’m lucky to have a wonderful team at work. We’re comfortable enough to talk about our likes, dislikes, hobbies and sometimes our troubles. I often refer to us as a little family.

When I first opted to follow a plant-based diet I had also just started doing yoga again – after a ten year break! Having previously been seen by my colleagues to only run to keep active,  I was greeted by a few playful jokes and comments most of which revolved around becoming a hippie!

Of course for some this may have been a deterrent, but for me it was harmless fun and  playful  – after all some people like to mock which they don’t quite “get” – but they soon mellowed and soon became very intrigued by some of the substitutes I was finding for meat and fish and new recipes I was trying.

Any new cake recipes I was testing always seemed to go down a treat to – they still do!

Want to skip to the recipe?

Supermarket magazines

As the number of dishes I began to cook grew and became more varied I started to find that the number of pamphlets, tear-outs and magazines that contained “vegan-friendly” recipes began to increase.

There were very few weeks that went by during my first six months of opting to be plant-based that I didn’t find a recipe suggestion appear on my desk – and I found it endearing.

Whether it was a subtle hint that my team wanted to be my guinea pigs or that my own recipes weren’t quite good enough I’m not sure, but I tried a few, tweaked a few and some were safely stored in my recipe scrapbook.

And that’s where the inspiration for this recipe comes from – it’s borrowed in fact.

Tesco's January edition of their magazine

Not one to take on Veganuary, my boss dropped Tesco’s free January mag on my desk which was laced with some intriguing recipes to cater to the plant-based palette.

And this recipe grew from there…

I’m finding more and more plant-based recipes are beginning to appear in supermarket magazines which I think is awesome for the flexitarians and experimental hands among us and they’re a great source of inspiration.

I often find some of that inspiration lurking among the omni-recipes too, because the more I’ve experimented in the kitchen the more I’ve come to learn what works as a good substitute and what doesn’t work so well.

Pesto isn’t vegan???

When I began my plant-based journey one of the things I was actually shocked to discover was that most types of pesto aren’t, in fact, vegetarian, let alone vegan!

Prior to beginning my new journey, I merrily drenched my plates of pasta in delicious pesto both at home and in restaurants safe in the knowledge that the key ingredients were basil, oil and pine nuts…right? That was until I went to dinner with a vegetarian who told me that one of the key ingredients in most pesto recipes was the delightfully stinky, hard cheese parmesan. But that’s also vegetarian too right?

Wrong!

The key ingredients of the recipe for parmesan are in fact: cow’s milk, salt and calf rennet, which is only found in the stomachs of newly born calves and is extracted upon slaughter. Calf rennet is also commonly associated with cheeses like Gorgonzola too.

I won’t go into any further harsh realities of  pesto or parmesan’s make-up however I will share with you one of my first parmesan-free, vegan friendly pestos which is even more delicious than any pesto you’ll find in the sauce aisle of your local supermarket…

Le Conserve Della Nonna offer a free from green pesto, which is also available n a roasted pepper flavour too. Free from any dairy or animal bi-products it’s delicious has a lower sodium count and lasts even longer once opened.

 

 

 

You’ll often find it it in the “Free From” section of your local Asda and if you’re lucky you’ll most often find it on offer from around £1.75!

Of course, you could always opt to make your own – but in the need for speed, the above varieties work perfectly!

 

 

You’ll find the pizza base recipe on a separate page, because of course you can have any number of pizza topping combos as you like.

The Recipe

PREP TIME: 10 MINS

COOKING TIME: 15 MINS

COST: < £5

Makes 2 pizzas

Ingredients:

Base:

  • 300 grams of wholemeal flour
  • 200 grams of plant based yogurt – soy
  • A pinch of salt

Toppings:

  • 150 grams of tender stem broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of vegan pesto
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 250g of vegan cheese (grated)
  • 50g of olives, pitted and halved
  • 1 courgette thinly sliced or peeled into ribbons
  • The zest of half of a lemon
  • Teaspoon of chilli flakes (optional)
  • 30g of fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

 

 

Method:

  • Preheat your grill to 180°C and place the tender stems of broccoli onto a baking tray and drizzle with the oil
  • Grill for around 7 minutes, or until the broccoli is lightly charred
  • Meanwhile follow my method in the recipe for my  3-ingredient pizza base
  • Spoon the pesto onto one of the bases and the tomato puree onto the other, spreading to the edge, but just enough to leave a crust
  • Grate half of your chosen cheese evenly over each of the bases
  • Sprinkle over the olives, courgette slices and the broccoli stems
  • Grate the other half of the cheese evenly over each base
  • Scatter with the torn basil leaves and chilli flakes
  • Bake fin the pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the pizza’s edges are a golden brown and your toppings are tender
  • Sprinkle over the lemon zest and serve.

Tried this recipe? Let me know how it turned out.