I'm bored with vegan pizza that's nothing more than regular pizza without the cheese. Mostly I'm tired of tomato sauce, but I also think cheeseless pizza, which looks a little naked, reinforces the perception that vegan food is always missing something.
"No meat? No eggs? No dairy? What do you eat?" People imagine familiar foods and then subtract the animal products until all that's left is dry bread and a parsley garnish.
At the risk of annoying any readers I may have in The Old Country, why not make a pizza that ignores the sauce and cheese model all together? Let's call it a flatbread.
I was looking for a sauce that would be rich like cheese, tangy like tomatoes, and free of bizarre ingredients. Tahini fit the bill: nothing but ground roasted sesame seeds, a creamy base for tart flavors. A google search told me that some people use a tahini-miso mixture on pizza, but I'm tired of miso, too, so I decided to experiment. My first try was mostly unadulterated tahini, with only a touch of lemon and garlic, slathered on a wheat crust. It tasted good but the tahini dried out and looked curdled.
I did a little more research and experimental mixing, and came up with two good options. The first reminds me of the creamy lemon sauce I used to eat on Bertucci's pizza when we lived in Massachusetts and I ate dairy. The second tastes more like traditional pizza and was a big hit with my husband. Neither sauce requires anything more complicated than measuring and mixing.
Lemon Pepper Tahini Sauce
1/4 cup tahini
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 lemon, juiced (about 3 TBSP)
2 TBSP warm water
freshly ground black pepper
Put everything in a bowl and whisk until sauce is a uniform consistency.
Tomato Tahini Sauce
1/3 cup diced tomatoes (I used canned, but fresh would work)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp thyme
Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree.
You can use any crust or toppings you like. I spread each sauce on a small wheat crust (see below), and topped them with rosemary, red onions, kalamata olives, marinated artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes. I baked them at 425F for 15 minutes.
wheat crust: I followed these directions, but used 1/2 white, 1/2 wheat flour, and I kneaded it a second time for about 5 minutes. It made enough for one large and two small thin crust pizzas. The edges were pretty crispy, but the interior was nice and chewy.
I'm feeling triumphant, because these flatbreads really hit the spot. Take that, cheeze!