Pizza is one of my family’s favorite meals, and when we make it at home it is always 100 percent plant-based.

So how do I make pizza without cheese or pepperoni? A lot of different ways.

I start with a whole-grain pizza crust, which provides a welcoming canvas for endless combinations of vegetables. Even unexpected vegetables, such as potatoes and corn, make tasty pizza toppings when paired with the right seasonings.

One of my favorite ways to use potatoes on a pizza is to thinly slice unpeeled potatoes and then pan fry them until they are crispy on the outside and tender inside. Layered on top of a basil-heavy tomato sauce, these potatoes provide a hearty base for a veggie lover’s pizza. Sweet potatoes can be prepared in the same fashion.

I also add whole beans, tempeh, tofu or cashew cheese sauce to all my pizzas.

Here are three of my favorite pizza recipes. The first is closest to traditional pizza, while the other two offer the more unusual flavors of a stir-fry and a harvest meal. But before you can make these pizzas, you need to know how to make roasted tofu with herbs and pan-fried tempeh; no worries, I’ve got you covered.

So fire up your oven and give a totally plant-based pizza a try.

ROASTED TOFU WITH HERBS

1 (16-ounce) package of firm tofu

1 tablespoon turmeric

1 tablespoon dried onion flakes

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Splash of tamari

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Rinse, pat dry and crumble the tofu into a square baking dish, casserole pan or rimmed baking sheet. Mix in all the seasonings. Roast for 20 minutes, until the tofu is golden and slightly firm on the outside.

PAN-FRIED TEMPEH WITH TAMARI

If the tempeh is frozen, steam it for 3 to 5 minutes before slicing into strips.

Cooking oil

1 (8-ounce) package of tempeh, cut into strips

Tamari

Place a skillet over medium-high heat, add a small amount of cooking oil when it is hot, add the tempeh strips. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes and flip when the bottom side has browned.

Just before the tempeh is ready to be flipped a second time, shake or pour a splash of tamari onto each strip. The tamari will sizzle and splash. Turn off the flame and let the tempeh sit until you’re ready to use it. Either use the strips whole or break them into crumbles.

LOADED WITH VEGETABLES AND TOFU PIZZA

Serves 2 to 3

1 fresh or thawed whole-grain pizza crust

1 cup pasta or pizza sauce

1 recipe Roasted Tofu with Herbs

1 green pepper, diced

½ cup sliced onions

½ (5-ounce) jar of black olives, about 1/4 cup, sliced and halved

Heat the oven to 450 degrees F (or according to pizza crust directions). Shape the pizza crust onto a pizza pan.

Spread the pasta or pizza sauce on the crust in an even layer, leaving a rim of exposed crust.

Layer on the roasted tofu, green pepper, onions and olives.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes (or according to the dough’s instructions) until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and slice.

ASIAN STIR-FRY PIZZA

WITH RED PEPPERS AND TEMPEH

Serves 2 to 3

1 fresh or thawed whole-grain pizza crust

FOR STIR-FRY SAUCE:

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup tamari

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

FOR PIZZA:

Vegetable oil, for stir-frying

½ onion, chopped or sliced

1 small carrot, chopped or julienned

1 red pepper, chopped or julienned

1 cup diced kale

1 recipe Pan-Fried Tempeh with Tamari

Heat the oven to 450 degrees F (or according to pizza crust directions). Shape the pizza crust into a pizza pan and set aside.

To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients and set aside.

To make the pizza, heat a skillet or stir-fry pan over medium high heat and add a small amount of cooking oil. When the oil is heated, add the onions and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes, until they begin to become translucent. Add the carrots and peppers. Cook for another 5 to 8 minutes, until both begin to soften. Pour in the Stir-Fry Sauce, add the kale and turn off the heat.

Add the tempeh, either as strips or crumbles. (If you cut the vegetables into julienned strips, then use the strips. If you chopped the vegetables, break the tempeh into crumbles.)

Spoon the stir-fry mixture on top of the crust, being careful not to transfer too much sauce.

Bake the pizza for 12 to 15 minutes (or according to the dough’s instructions) until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and slice.

HARVEST TEMPEH

WITH MASHED POTATOES PIZZA

You can use garlic mashed potatoes for extra flavor.

Serves 2 to 3

1 fresh or thawed whole-grain pizza crust

¼ cup tamari, plus more as needed

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, plus extra for garnish

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, plus extra for garnish

1 pinch each of dried thyme and dried basil

cup mashed potatoes

1 recipe Pan-Fried Tempeh with Tamari

½ cup red onion, roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 450 degrees F (or according to pizza crust directions). Shape the crust onto a pizza pan.

Brush the crust lightly with tamari. Sprinkle on the garlic, sage, oregano, thyme and basil.

Spread on the mashed potatoes, either as a layer or in small scoops across the crust.

Top with the tempeh, either as strips or crumbles. Sprinkle with onion.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes (or according to the dough’s instructions) until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven, slice and sprinkle with more fresh herbs.

Avery Yale Kamila is a freelance food writer who lives in Portland. She can be reached at

[email protected]

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila


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