Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Garden Ranch Cream Cheese Pizza (vegan, gluten-free)

With the warmer weather of Summer, I like to eat as much of the produce from the garden in the RAW as possible. But, I also love pizza. Now, I can have both! I am still celebrating the invention of this incredible gluten-free pizza crust, and am finding it to be very versatile. It holds up great in this recipe, and doesn't get soggy when refrigerated. This is a great way to get folks to enjoy their veggies without complaint!

Start by making my Gluten Free Vegan Pizza Crust recipe. Follow the direction all the way through the pre-baking...but bake it all the way, about 20 minutes in a 450 degree F oven. Then, pop the crust off the non-stick pan and onto a cooling rack and COOL COMPLETELY. If you don't have a non-stick pan, line the pan with baking parchment before pressing crust into pan for easy removal after baking.

While you are waiting, make the sauce and prep your toppings!

Ranch Cream Cheese Spread
Combine and refrigerate for about 30 minutes:

1 recipe Cashew Cream Cheese (or purchase about 12 oz pre-made at your local grocer, but these tend to be overly processed and quite unhealthy)
1 Tbsp dried chives
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 1 fresh garlic clove, minced)
1 tsp dried onion flakes
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt or to taste

*hint...if you are a cream cheese lover, you may want to double the spread recipe, use it all on the pizza or use the leftovers as a spread or dip.

Prep Veggie Toppings
Be creative here and use anything you like! Here is what I have experimented with...

Bell pepper
Carrots (spiral sliced is nice)
Cherry tomatoes
Crushed red pepper

Assemble the Pizza
Slather the cream cheese spread on your cooled pizza crust, add toppings, and presto, you are done! 

Slice and enjoy. Refrigerates very well and is great for breakfast.

*gluten-free, soy-free depending on your choice of cream cheese

Cashew Cream Cheese (vegan, gluten-free)

This delicious, creamy spread can be use creatively, in spreads, dips, and any recipe that calls for cream cheese. If you are planning to make a savory style cream cheese flavor, use the recipe as is. If you are planning to make a sweet style cream cheese flavor, you may need to omit the lemon and/or vinegar depending on your ingredients. For example, chocolate doesn't blend with lemon well.

Soak overnight:
2 cups raw organic cashews
4 cups water

Drain cashews and place in a food processor, add:

Juice from 1 organic lemon
1 Tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
water to create desired thickness (up to 1/2 cup seems to be a good range)
sea salt to taste (about 1/4-1/2 tsp)

Process until smooth, about 10 minutes. Refrigerate to thicken a bit more. You can also process for less time, so it is a bit more 'lumpy' and use to replace cottage cheese and ricotta in many recipes.

*gluten-free and soy-free