Vegan Pizza with Mushrooms, Roasted Red Peppers & Caramelized Onions

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
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Yields 2 10-inch pizzas or 1 extra-large pizza
Author:
Yields: 6
Ingredients
  • 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)
Instructions
  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 11x17 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!

 

Yoga

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.

4.5 from 2 reviews
Pear Frangipane Tart
 
Hands-on time
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Author:
Yields: 10
Ingredients
  • FOR THE CRUST:
  • 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
  • FOR THE TART:
  • 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
Instructions
  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.

Enjoy!

 

Citrus Beet Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette

citrus beet salad with rosemary vinaigrette

How about a salad?

I don’t know about you, but after a weekend of bingeing on Thanksgiving leftovers, that’s just what I need.

This salad makes me happy because it’s fresh and colorful, while still being made with winter produce. You may not be able to tell from my 8:00 am iPhone photos here, but between the beets and the citrus, the colors are beautiful.

I’ve been mildly obsessed with beets lately, starting with the roasted beet hummus I made for Thanksgiving. They’re just so pretty! If you’ve been scared of roasting beets, like I was before last week, don’t be. You stick them in the oven and forget about them, then easily push the skin off with a knife once they’re cool. Easy as pie! No… way easier than pie.

citrus beet salad with rosemary vinaigrette

5.0 from 1 reviews
Citrus Beet Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette
 
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The beets can be roasted ahead of time and stored in the fridge either before or after peeling.
Author:
Yields: 6
Ingredients
  • FOR THE SALAD:
  • 1 medium beet (or 2 small beets)
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and segmented
  • 2 oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • several handfuls pine nuts, toasted
  • FOR THE DRESSING:
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. To roast the beet(s), preheat oven to 400. Trim stems and scrub off dirt. Loosely wrap in foil. Roast for 60 minutes or until a fork slides easily to the center of the beet. Remove from oven, unwrap and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  2. Once beet has cooled, slide the skin off using the back of a knife. Slice off top and bottom and chop into small cubes.
  3. To make dressing, whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  4. To assemble, layer salad ingredients and top with dressing.

 

Still Stuffed

coffee & quinoa

Well, that’s a total lie. I can always eat more.

But I figured we could all use a break from the recipes today, right? We can get back to that business tomorrow. After a week of cooking and an extended weekend of eating, I’m finding it a little hard to get excited to get back in the kitchen. (I’m also finding it a little hard to get back to work.) I would rather just look at pictures and pretend I have another four-day weekend coming up. So how about a Thanksgiving recap?

So much food.

coffee & quinoa

This was my first vegan Thanksgiving! I was determined to make it as easy on myself as possible by making tons of delicious vegan dishes. My contributions to Thanksgiving dinner were:

- roasted beet hummus from Cooking Stoned with veggies and pitas

- mushroom sourdough stuffing from Eat Live Run

- cheesy herb drop biscuits from Oh She Glows

- baked sweet potatoes

- apple pie and pumpkin pie from Pickles & Honey

coffee & quinoa

Everything was pretty good, if I do say so myself! We had an absurd amount of food. My friend Kate cooked a 22 pound turkey (which looked and smelled delicious!), and she and Pete did a great job carving it:

coffee & quinoa

Hah! That’s my absolute favorite picture of the night.

Anyway, Kate also made the gravy, a beautiful salad with homemade candied pecans, homemade Chex mix, guacamole, and cranberry sauce. Her friend Kristin made mashed potatoes, stuffing, a beautiful baked brie, and spiced hot cider. I’m sure there were other things I forgot, too! Check out the absurdity of our spread:

coffee & quinoa

The food prep was not without drama, though. I mentioned on Thursday that my apple pie was a minor disaster. Welllll let me tell you what happened. Basically, I’ve never really been scared of pie dough like some people are, although rolling out a double crust is generally a little more effort than I like to put in. I usually mix my crust by hand, but having recently bought a food processor and heard how amazing it is for pie crusts, I decided I would use it to save a few minutes. It was also my first time making a crust with vegan butter. I should NOT have tried two new things at once. I ended up making the crust way too wet and doubling the recipe without realizing it, which led to a thick and doughy crust:

coffee & quinoa

Then, to make matters worse, I forgot to dot the apples with butter before I put the top crust on. I was convinced the pie was ruined. I agonized about it for a while before I made a trip to the supermarket and bought ingredients for a new pie. That might sound ridiculous… OK, it was a little ridiculous… but I know people think the vegan thing is kind of weird, and I definitely didn’t want anyone’s first experience with vegan pie to be disappointing in any way. It turned out the “reject” pie was actually not bad at all – we ate it the whole rest of the weekend. I’ll call it a win – extra leftover pie can’t possibly be a bad thing.

So that made Thursday morning a little crazier. In addition to the stuffing and biscuits I had planned to make, I was also making a second apple pie. So much for my carefully drawn out plans!

coffee & quinoa

This time I overcorrected a little on the crust and probably could have added another tablespoon of water. Whatever, it was extra flaky. And I made sure to add that butter before closing up the pie!

coffee & quinoa

coffee & quinoa

Also, make sure to note the pi sign on the pie… har har har. My dad started that tradition!

My hand was sore all weekend from peeling and coring all the apples… seriously.

coffee & quinoa

I escaped with only one addition to my collection of forearm burns, although I think Kate ended up with a few more from the turkey. That was it for holiday drama, fortunately. Once our umpteen dishes were ready, we ate…

coffee & quinoa

…the boys watched football…

coffee & quinoa

…and I fell asleep on the couch once the Pats were up 28-0 and may or may not have been out for the next 3 hours. We played Jenga…

coffee & quinoa

…and watched the Adjustment Bureau and part of The Descendants., followed by Megamind (a surprisingly good movie!) the next morning. We definitely got our share of movies in this weekend! Perfectly relaxing.

We had such a good time celebrating Thanksgiving with friends! I was proud of us girls for doing so well with the food. Does that mean we’re finally adults? I guess I have to admit that we are.

Other weekend activities included watching more football, shopping, lots of pie eating, even more football, running (!), skiiing, oh did I mention football? and demolishing all of our leftovers. It was a great long weekend! I have to say I didn’t do much cooking after the craziness of Thanksgiving prep, so this week may be a little light on recipes. Forgive me? I’ll get back into the swing of things soon!

Hope you had a great holiday weekend!

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