I know I’m not the first one to say it, but it’s still coming from the heart, Happy Earth Day! So many ideas came to mind of recipes to share on a special day like this, but I decided on a Deep Dish Vegan Pepperoni Pizza. Why? Because pizza was the quintessential symbol of comfort food for me in my pre-vegan days and I really liked deep dish pizza! Even though I thought honoring the earth through a vegan diet would mean pasty skin, crunchy granola and adopting foraging behaviors, I still took the leap. I’ve since learned that a vegan diet can be friendly to the planet…and not too bad on the taste buds too.
Do you ever find yourself absorbed in today’s politics and feel like your voice doesn’t count. That there’s nothing you can do to impact change?
Believe it or not, you can make a difference. According to the World Preservation Foundation report, the best thing you can do to preserve the environment and reduce global climate change is to take on a vegan diet.
That’s what I would call “change you can count on!”
Here’s some interesting statistics from that WPF report:
- A vegan diet is 7 times more effective at reducing greenhouse emissions
- Carbon emissions related to our diets would go down 87% if we adopted a global vegan diet!
- For those of us wanting to save money, a vegan diet would cut the cost of fighting climate change by 80%
And there’s other reasons to consider going vegan (links to resources provided below).
- It may take as much as 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of U.S. beef. It only takes 24 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of potatoes.
- The number one reason for the destruction of our world’s tropical rain forests (that produce much of our global oxygen) is to create more acreage for cattle grazing. Norman Myers refers to it as the “hamburgerization of the forests.”
- In 1999, the economic losses from weather-related disasters was over $67 billion
- Overfishing and trawling have led to a 30% decline in coral reefs in our oceans.
- Nearly 90% of large ocean predators have been depleted because of industrial fishing fleets (marlin, swordfish, shark, cod, halibut, and flounder).
And if you can eat things like Deep Dish Vegan Pizza and help out the planet…then why not? This would definitely be the week to do it, because VegWeek 2013 is going on right now! It’s their fifth year of encouraging folks to give vegetarian/vegan a try. So give the earth a break, give your body a break…and bake this pizza!
One editorial note. I know Jon Stewart is not a fan of eating pizza with a fork. I furrow my brows and ponder this a bit. Hmm, I wonder if he’s ever tried a deep-dish pizza?
Because you can eat this pizza sans fork, but you may miss some of the vegan cheesy goodness if you do. And one more thing, this pizza heats up nicely in the toaster oven on day two…that is, if you end up with any leftovers!
Deep Dish Vegan Pepperoni Pizza
Inspired by: Uno’s Chicago Grill Pizza
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 3 Basil leaves, fresh (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 teaspoon dried Oregano
- 2 tablespoons Vegan Parmesan Cheese (plus additional for topping)
- 1 cup vegan Jack Cheese, thinly sliced (I used Daiya’s Jack Wedges)
- 1 package vegan mozzarella cheese, shredded (I used Follow Your Heart’s new Shredded Mozzarella)
- 24 slices Vegan Pepperoni, chopped
- Pour the water in a small bowl and heat in the microwave about 11 seconds. You should be able to dip your finger in the bowl and not feel it’s either too hot or too cold. Once the temperature is just right, add the yeast and sugar and stir. Set aside to proof the yeast, about 5 minutes. Once it’s proven itself, add the vegetable oil. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flours, salt, and ground flax seed. Stir together, until well combined.
- Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl with the flour and stir vigorously for several minutes. This is a nice, pliable dough so I was able to knead it right in the bowl for 5 – 7 minutes. You want to reach the point where you can make an impression with your thumb in the middle of the dough and the dough raises back. Pour the olive oil over the dough and turn it several times to ensure both the dough and the bowl are coated with oil. Cover and set aside to rise. It will need about 2 hours to rise.
- Once the dough is ready, cover it with a large sheet of waxed paper and use a rolling pin to spread it out to the dimensions of your pan. This will fit a 12″ deep dish pizza pan. Make sure you allow the dough to fit up the sides of the pan a bit to create a sort of deep-dish pizza bowl! Set aside to prepare your toppings.
- Whenever you’re ready to prepare your topping, begin by heating your oven to 450F.
- Next, place the thinly sliced vegan Jack cheese across the bottom of the dough. Cover that with the shredded vegan mozzarella. Spread it out so you don’t see any of the pizza dough coming through.
- Place the chopped tomatoes in a food processor along with the basil, oregano, and vegan parmesan. Pulse for just a few seconds. You want the tomatoes to be fairly ground, but still with lots of texture. Spread the tomato mixture over the cheese.
- Spread the chopped slices of vegan pepperoni evenly over the top of the tomato mixture.
- Sprinkle with additional vegan parmesan.
- Place in your prepared oven for 20 – 25 minutes. The dough should be showing through with a nice golden color. Allow the pizza to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.