MY take on Pizza Night!

If you know me, you know I can not survive without a pizza night each week. Depending on my level of lazy- we will either order out from a few (usually thinner crust, artisanal) places in the city or I will make my own  (even if I’m buying a crust or dough from the grocery store and assembling, still LOVE IT).

Pizza is one of those things I just have to have here and there and when I make it myself - I’m able to make a delicious alternative where I’m controlling the ingredients. 

I’d love to hear your feedback! Tell me what you’ve tried and loved. I’m always looking to use new ingredients! 

In the meantime - here’s my go-to for an amazing plant-based pizza! 

PIZZA CRUST

When I want something easy, I love using a store-bought cauliflower crust (Trader Joe’s and Caulipower are both great options!) -or- I love the bagged fresh dough at Whole Foods (they make it there and it’s usually in the same section as the prepared foods).

If I’m making my own dough at home, I’ve tried using spelt flour and it has turned out so well! Here’s the recipe I use:

  • 1 cup warm water (not hot*)

  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar

  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast

  • 2 and 1/2 cups spelt flour

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt

  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal

DIRECTIONS:

First, add the warm water to a bowl and sprinkle the yeast and sugar on top. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, until yeast begins to bubble and foam to the surface. Then, add half of the flour, the olive oil and salt, mix, then add the remaining flour. Once the dough starts to come together, use your hands to combine until smooth ...and, well, pizza dough-like. Allow to rise in a clean bowl for at least 30 minutes before baking. When it’s ready- bake for a 10-20 minutes on 350 before adding sauce and toppings - just so everything cooks through!

SAUCE & TOPPINGS

My favorite sauce is just plain tomato pizza sauce, I add allllll the spices myself. I add tons of red pepper flakes, oregano, garlic and onion to my sauce and pizza in order to have MAX flavor. Afterwards, I add veggies (literally any veggies I have on hand), basil, and kite hill dollops on top! YUM.

Drizzle your pizza with a little olive oil before you bake, just for maximum moisture and flavor!


When the flour is made & the pizza is rolled out and topped…

Bake at 450 degrees for about 10-15 mins! (Unless you like your pizza a little less or more crispy!) I personally go for the crispier dough, so more towards 15 mins for me!

Think spring! Strawberry Avocado Salad

When I think about warm weather, I think about eating outside with my girls. (or by myself tbh, no shame). With that thought comes picnics and bbq parties, and I always like to have a recipe or two in my back pocket to bring with me. THEN, you know you have something somewhat healthy to stock up on at parties - am I right?!

Below is a bright, yummy spring salad that is SO easy to make at home and share with your family or friends and better yet - there is NO COOKING REQUIRED!

Let me know what you think!

STRAWBERRY AVOCADO SALAD

Gluten-free, *can also be made Vegan

Serves: 3-4

Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

6 cups fresh greens of choice (baby spinach + arugula are a nice mix!)
1 pint strawberries, sliced
2 avocados, diced
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
4 ounces goat cheese (or dollops of Kite Hill cream cheese if vegan)
1/8 cup sliced almonds
1/8 cup hemp seeds

Dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp mustard + a pinch of dry mustard if you have it
sea salt and pepper to taste

**add water to thin, if needed

Chop up all of your salad ingredients and add to a big serving bowl. Then blend/mix your dressing ingredients separately, until desired consistency and taste. Mix the dressing with the salad when you’re ready to serve (like, save the dressing on the side until just before serving, to keep everything fresh!) and enjoy!

Healthy Queso Dip

I imagine not many people dislike queso dip. But, I am not here to judge! I just think it makes everything - every one, every food, every social situation - so way better.

Below, I’ve health-ified it a little bit. There are TONS of recipes out there to try with all kinds of ingredients (including white potatoes!) - but this one I kept pretty easy.

Let me know what you think!


Queso Dip

Vegan, Gluten-free

Serves: Makes 2.5 cups

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 8 hours or overnight, drained and rinsed

½ cup water

1 tsp sea salt

Juice of half a lemon

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 clove garlic or 2-3 shakes of garlic powder

⅛ tsp turmeric

1 fresh plum tomato, diced

½ jalapeño, minced with seeds removed

Cut veggies (carrot, cucumber, celery) or tortilla chips (look for the least processed chips with minimal ingredients - GF, vegan, non-GMO corn) for dipping

Instructions:

In a high-speed blender, or food processor, combine the first seven ingredients.

Blend until a smooth and creamy sauce is created.

Dice tomato and mince jalapeño, removing seeds -  if you don’t want it too spicy.

Transfer the cheese mixture to a large bowl and add the tomato and jalapeño. Stir well to combine.

Adjust flavors as needed (add more jalapeño, salt, etc.)

To warm the dip – add to a small pot over low heat.

Serve with cut veggies or tortilla chips, or make your own nachos!

Potato Soup and Ugly Produce

Next time you go to the grocery store, look at the produce. Like really. Do you notice a difference (other than size) between one carrot and the next? One tomato and the next?

No way! (unless they are rotten, of course)

Surprisingly this is no coincidence. Each year 1 trillion dollars of food is wasted and much of this can be attributed to the beauty standards our society holds for fruits and veggies. This food is waste either by getting tossed at the farm, rotting in warehouses, or going unsold in stores until it's inedible

I wonder how it started. As in, who was the first person to say that all apples had to look the same? I prefer that my produce look different from piece to piece. Hell, I can’t make cookies all the same shape, how can I expect mother nature to make all of my potatoes are exactly the same? :-P

If you are caught up in the aesthetic, that’s cool, but I invite you to try a service that will carefully choose your produce for you. It’s like going for a natural birth but having a doula. Starting a plant-based diet but hiring a private chef. Have someone help you make the switch. AND be able to trust that everything you get will be just as nutritious and delicious.

Quality control, you know?

Misfits Market gives these otherwise undesirable products I’m talking about a shot to be turned into your next recipe. Products that may slightly imperfect can easily be chopped up and turned into a pie or hearty soup.

Speaking of - check out my soup recipe below.


Misfits Market’s founders hail from Philadelphia and I had the chance to speak with them both one-on-one. They come from a long line of tech startups, and yeah - they are super smart. They saw a unique opportunity to create a business from wasted produce, which not only provides a salary, but does something amazing for the world, food waste, and the people who benefit from the inexpensive and conveniently shipped boxes each week.

Misfits Market provides an array of fresh produce including apples, peaches, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, broccoli, lettuce and other leafy greens, onions, peppers, and other seasonal things, at a fraction of the cost.  All of the products come from organic and local farms, which helps to support farmers.

Give them a try - get 13-16lbs of fruits and veggies weekly for $19 (approx 50% savings) and looks like this:



Or get 22-26lbs of fruits and veggies weekly for $34 which looks like this:


Potato Soup!

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp grapeseed or avocado oil

  • 3 potatoes, peeled, cooked and chopped

  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped

  • 3-5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (I like 5!)

  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk or 1 1/2 cups of other non-dairy milk

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

  • Optional: squeeze of lemon or apple cider vinegar

Cook potatoes until soft (microwave, oven, or boil the cubes). Then heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the celery, carrots, onion, and garlic and saute until they soften. Add the cooked potatoes, veggie broth, milk, salt, pepper and paprika and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can blend in batches in your regular blender - but make sure you are careful so it doesn’t explode on you!

Add the blended soup back to your pot, add peas, and heat through. Taste and add additional spices as needed and voila! Sometimes at this point I like to add a little bit of acidity to cut the fat taste - some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar!

Cucumber Wild Rice Salad

It’s so hot outside. I want substantial meals but truly am just craving a cool crunch. You feel me? This recipe is a great option for a side or a main dish. We’re balancing textures (soft tomatoes and rice to crunchy seeds and cucumbres) and flavors (sweet, salty, acidic and fatty). Make a big batch and store in the fridge for up to 5 days so you don’t have to continue cooking all week.

Cucumber Salad

  • 2 cucumbers, diced

  • ½ red onion, diced

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained REALLY WELL

  • Feta, goat cheese, or vegan Kite Hill cream cheese made into little balls (to taste)

  • ½ cup sunflower seeds, toasted if you’d like!

  • 1 cup wild rice, prepared to package directions

Dressing

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp. raw honey

  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

I feel silly giving you directions for this one, but here they are. :)

Add all dressing ingredients to a blender and blend, or to a bowl and whisk.

Add all salad components to a big bowl and mix in dressing to coat. I personally think it tastes better as it sits in the dressing, so I wouldn’t worry about keeping this for a few days. Enjoy!