Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pizza with Pizzazz

For months, I had been eager to try the new rice-crust spinach pizza from Amy’s Kitchen, which is topped with dairy-free mozzarella. Reports in magazines and online were positive. But it didn't seem to be stocked in local stores. Finally, it turned up at Whole Foods in Winston-Salem.

The wait was not in vain: This is tasty and satisfying, for a frozen pizza. The rice crust, which makes the pizza wheat-free, has a different texture than usual pizza crusts, somewhat lighter, crunchier, crumblier … enjoyable, but definitely different. The vegan cheese, though, melts and browns in a familiar way; it acts and tastes like "the real thing."

Amy’s Kitchen has long offered a roasted-vegetable pizza with no cheese that is vegan, as well as soy-cheese pizzas that are not vegan because the cheese contains casein, a milk protein. But this is the first frozen pizza I know of that includes vegan cheese – a welcome development. There’s already another one in my freezer, on hand for the day when I’m just too tired to do more than heat up a frozen pizza for supper.

The major drawback is the cost – nearly $7 for a pizza that serves two (the box says three servings, but not around my house). The other drawback is that frozen pizza, no matter how good, is never quite as good as homemade or restaurant pizza.

So for the days when you have a little more time and energy, a good option is to make pizza at home. Vegans can buy pre-made crusts, and the same brand of soy cheese that Amy’s uses on the spinach pizza, Follow Your Heart's Vegan Gourmet cheese. You can even get vegan pepperoni for a "traditional" pizza experience.

Or for something completely different, you can try the recipe for Carmelized Onion and Blue Cheese Pizza from the N.C. Sweet Potato Commission. A sweet-potato puree replaces the usual tomato sauce, for an unusual and very tasty pizza. The recipe is vegetarian, and can easily be veganized by replacing the blue cheese with a vegan alternative – for example, use crumbled Sunergia's soy feta.

Another option is to get a local pizzeria to make you a dairy-free pie. Brixx, a chain that has a restaurant in Greensboro, will substitute a non-dairy veggie cheese on any of its pizzas at no extra charge. Other restaurants have cheeseless pizzas on the menu, and others will leave the cheese off upon request. Readers, do you have suggestions for good places to get vegan pizza?


At 4/11/2007 12:50 AM, Blogger Alisa said...

That is a strange but interesting recipe. I have some blue "sheese" I am trialing, and that sounds like an interesting way to sample it. Thanks!

Great review by the way. I would love to be able to post it on www.godairyfree.org with links and credit to your website at top if that would work for you. I have been hoping to trial this pizza myself, but still can't find it in any of my local stores!

At 4/11/2007 12:54 PM, Blogger Julie said...

Hi, Alisa,
Thanks so much for your comment. I would be happy for you to post the review at www.godairyfree.org ...

At 4/22/2007 11:43 PM, Blogger Alisa said...

Thanks Julie! It is greatly appreciated. Feel free to email me through the site (contact us). I am sure there will be many a happy readers!

At 7/10/2008 8:30 AM, Blogger Mindee said...

Great site. My hubby and I LOVE pizza and to get extra veggies I puree sweet potatoes and carrots - and mix with my tomato sauce -- the husband hates sweet potatoes -- but I can tell you this -- he has no idea he's eating them :) Sometimes I'll mix a zuchinni and broccoli puree into the sauce instead -- he hates broccoli too -- but again he is clueless. And it does taste fantastic!


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