It’s Friday, and that means Pizza Night!

Whenever I ask Nate what he wants for dinner this week, he says pizza. You’d think by now I’d get the hint and just make a pizza every week… but for some reason I keep asking. Maybe this time he’ll request my favorite tahini kale rice bowl?

No dice.

Well, making a pizza every once in a while seems like the least I can do for the man who’s forced to be my Vegan Guinea Pig the rest of the time. (I am still trying to dig my way out of the hole that a certain Hippie Bowl got me into a few months back.)

vegan pizza with mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and caramelized onions

So here is a pizza for Nate. If you’re not vegan, by all means add some parmesan or goat cheese. (I put goat cheese on Nate’s half, and a little bit just miiiiiight have rolled onto a few of my slices.) Even with no cheese, this pizza has great flavor! Use my whole grain pizza dough or your favorite crust. You could even use pesto and this mushroom mixture on pasta or a sandwich. It’s hard to go wrong!

vegan pizza with mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and caramelized onions

P.S. I’m kinda wimping out with the pesto here. I have a favorite vegan pesto that I make… but it deserves so much more than an out-of-season mention in a post that’s really about pizza and features nighttime iPhone photos. I plan on featuring it in the spring! In the meantime, you can use your favorite pesto recipe, or (because I know many people who read this blog aren’t vegan) use some store bought stuff.

vegan pizza with mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and caramelized onions

Have a great weekend and stay warm!

5.0 from 2 reviews

Vegan Pizza with Mushrooms, Roasted Red Peppers & Caramelized Onions
Hands-on time
Cook time
Total time
Yields 2 10-inch pizzas or 1 extra-large pizza
Yields: 6
  • 1 recipe of my multi-grain pizza dough (link above) or 2 store-bought pizza doughs
  • olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, quartered and sliced
  • 20 oz. sliced baby bella mushrooms (I used 2 10-oz. pre-sliced bags)
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup pesto (homemade or store bought)
  • parmesan or goat cheese (optional)
  1. First, roast your red peppers (or buy roasted red peppers in a jar and skip this step). Cut each pepper into 2-4 pieces and remove the stem, seeds and membrane. Place them, skin up, on a baking sheet and broil until skin is black and charred all over. This will take 6-10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them after the first few minutes, and rotate the baking sheet partway through if your broiler has hot spots. Once the skins are charred all over, remove them from the oven, place them in a plastic bag, seal it, and let them steam for at least 20 minutes. Then remove from plastic bag and peel the skin off each piece with your fingers. It’s OK to leave some charred bits. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Preheat oven to 425.
  3. Next, caramelize onions. Add a little bit of olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Saute the onions for about 25 minutes. They should have some good color to them. At this point, add the sliced mushrooms. Continue sauteing another 5-7 minutes, until mushrooms are softening. Add balsamic vinegar and peppers and stir. Remove from heat.
  4. Sprinkle cornmeal on 2 pizza pans or an 11×17 baking sheet. Roll your pizza dough out to fit whichever pan you’ve chosen.
  5. If your pesto is not oily, brush a bit of olive oil over the crust. Then spread pesto out evenly. Top with mushroom mixture. Add cheese if you desire.
  6. Put pizzas in the oven for 12 minutes, until crust is done and cheese, if using, is melted.
  7. Slice and enjoy!




I think I’ve overdone it on the beets and butternut squash.

Is it too early in the season for that? Probably. But that’s OK… I’m moving on to soup this weekend. Maybe beets and butternut can get another rotation early in 2013.

So while I’m busy being grossed out by the foods I loved last week, it’s probably a good time to talk about yoga.

I love yoga! I’ve really gotten into it in the past 3 or 4 years, and think it’s a great complement to my running (and motivation to get in some exercise after work). When I moved to Salt Lake, I found a great yoga studio within just a few days of being here, and have been going regularly ever since.

I love the feeling of being strong. But I’m also kinda lazy… and that’s where yoga comes in. Yoga can be intense, but it can also be relaxing, and you have someone guiding you through every pose. Especially with a good teacher, yoga is enjoyable for me, and I don’t mind going 2-3 times a week. That is vastly different from weight-lifting, which I find difficult to keep up. I’ve had personal trainers in the past, and while I do develop muscle quickly from weight lifting… then I’m always too tired and sore to do the things I enjoy (like yoga and running). Yoga is probably never going to make me look insanely buff, but it does give me some upper-body strength that I definitely do not come by naturally. It also strengthens and stretches my legs for running.

During my first year in Utah, my roommate Kera and I went regularly to the Power 1 & 2 class at our studio. It’s a 90-minute class, hard but not excessively so, and the teacher loves working up to inversions and arm-balances. It’s a good balance of stretching and strengthening, and I always felt awesome after class. Then this summer, something bad happened. I hurt my hip trying to get into twig pose (twig? stick? I can never remember the difference) at class and had to stop running. It was actually really painful and took weeks and weeks to heal. So I started to rethink my approach to yoga. Maybe, if I wanted to focus on running, I should stop with these crazy poses. Just focus on strength and forget headstands and deep stretching, anything that could injure me.

So I switched from my Power class to Yoga for Athletes at the same studio. Objectively, it made sense – I was focusing on quad and core strength, which I need for running. But it was hard. At first it was hard in a good way – like “hey, I’m getting better at this!” – but then it just wasn’t fun anymore. Like, standing at the top of my mat at the beginning of class, DREADING the next 75 minutes and wishing I hadn’t come. That is not what yoga is about! I was definitely getting stronger, but I was also getting tighter, and before I knew it, my old knee injury was back in full force, keeping me from running yet again. Initially I thought that more strengthening was the solution, and I kept going to class regularly. Then, realizing how little stretching and opening we were doing in class, I started rethinking my yoga practice a second time.

So now I’m back at Power 1 & 2 – thank goodness! The first night back in that class, I realized how much more fun it was than Yoga for Athletes, and how much more relaxed I was – not at all dreading what the teacher was going to do to me over the next 90 minutes. After a month back in that class, my knee is already feeling quite a bit better, and I actually went on 2 runs this weekend! Hooray!

Basically, between yoga and running, I would choose running. But I realize that I need some strength training in my life, as well as a regular excuse to stretch and breathe deeply. Right now, yoga plays a supporting role in my workouts, but I think it’s a great hobby long-term. Someday when I’m old and gray, I hope that my bones will still be strong and I’ll still be going to yoga several times a week!


Pear Frangipane Tart

pear frangipane tart

Look familiar?

Yes… I posted a picture of this tart in the oven on Facebook a few weeks ago now. Sorry for not sharing it before! I made it for a Thanksgiving party, but the truth is, it’s probably more appropriate for Christmas. So now, rather than being late for Thanskgiving, I’m early for Christmas. I love the way that works!

Have you ever had frangipane? It is a sugary, creamy almond paste that is often layered under fruit in tarts. It’s probably one of the most delicious things on earth, especially if you’re a marzipan lover, like me. I was veeeery skeptical about a frangipane without eggs, but I was proven wrong. Granted it’s been a while since I last baked a pear frangipane tart, but I don’t think you can tell this one is vegan!

pear frangipane tart

This is definitely a tart for those with a sweet tooth (kind of the opposite of the cranberry walnut one). I HIGHLY recommend baking it around the holidays to impress your guests!

For such a pretty and fancy tart, I didn’t take any pictures of the finished product on a serving dish. Sorry. That was mostly because I was driving it across town to a friend’s house, and there was no way I was taking it out of the springform pan before the car ride… no way. (On a side note, does anyone have any tips for transporting pies/cakes in the car? I did a lot of driving around with pies on the floor over Thanksgiving weekend, and it seemed VERY risky.)

pear frangipane tart

Back to baking. One big recommendation here: Use white sugar in the frangipane. I used natural cane sugar in mine, and it turned out the granules were too coarse. You can notice in the pictures that the frangipane looks a bit grainy when baked. It still tasted amazing, but if I were to do it again, I would use white granulated sugar. I’ve never used superfine sugar, but that might be an option for an even creamier texture.

America’s Test Kitchen has a great post on the secrets to assembling a pear frangipane tart. I recommend checking it out before you get started!

Oh, and coring your pears with an ice cream scoop totally does the trick!

pear frangipane tart

Crust and tart recipes are from the Post Punk Kitchen! Feel free to use this crust or a regular pastry crust.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Pear Frangipane Tart
Hands-on time
Cook time
Total time
Yields: 10
  • 2/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp canola oil
  • 4 Tbsp cold almond milk
  • 6 Tbsp Earth Balance, cut into pieces
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup blanched sliced almonds
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 4 pears (Bartlet or Bosc), peeled, halved, cored and sliced thinly crosswise
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a tart pan, springform pan or pie dish with cooking spray.
  2. First, prepare the crust. In a food processor, pulse almonds into a fine meal. Add flour and salt and pulse to combine. Stream in canola oil and 3 Tbsp of almond milk while continuing to pulse. Mixture should hold together when pressed between your fingertips; if it still feels a little dry, mix in one more additional Tbsp of almond milk at a time.
  3. Sprinkle almond mixture into prepared pan and press to the bottom and sides. Press the crust as far up the sides as you can to hold in the filling.
  4. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool while you prepare the filling, but keep oven at 350.
  5. To make the frangipane, process almonds to a fine meal in the food processor. Pulse in Earth Balance, sugar, cornstarch, ground cinnamon, and salt until crumbly. Continue to pulse and stream in almond milk, vanilla extract, and almond extract to form a thick batter. Spread frangipane mixture into cooled tart shell.
  6. Pat the pears dry with a paper towel. Gently press one sliced pear into the frangipane in the center of the tart. This is best done with an offset spatula, but can be done carefully with a knife. For the rest of the pears, tip the slices over so that they are leaning over, rather than standing straight up (see pictures or America’s Test Kitchen link above). Carefully place them in a circle around the center pear, thin ends pointing inward.
  7. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until tart is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes, then brush (carefully!) with melted jam. Cool completely before slicing.



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