This vegan pizza is a perfect weeknight fix and is quite the crowd-pleaser. It’s an easy base to add to as well, in case you’re one of those people who eat pineapple on pizza and want to see how it goes with veggie meatballs.
Why go vegan? Several reasons:
- For Your Health
Well-planned vegan diets follow healthy eating guidelines, and contain all the nutrients that our bodies need. Both the British Dietetic Association and the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognise that they are suitable for every age and stage of life. Some research has linked vegan diets with lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.
Going vegan is a great opportunity to learn more about nutrition and cooking, and improve your diet. Getting your nutrients from plant foods allows more room in your diet for health-promoting options like whole grains, fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables, which are packed full of beneficial fibre, vitamins and minerals.
- For The Animals
Preventing the exploitation of animals is not the only reason for becoming vegan, but for many it remains the key factor in their decision to go vegan and stay vegan. Having emotional attachments with animals may form part of that reason, while many believe that all sentient creatures have a right to life and freedom. Specifics aside, avoiding animal products is one of the most obvious ways you can take a stand against animal cruelty and animal exploitation everywhere. A more detailed overview on why being vegan demonstrates true compassion for animals can be found here.
- For The Environment
The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment – from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. In Brazil alone, the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soya beans for animals in Europe. This land contributes to developing world malnutrition by driving impoverished populations to grow cash crops for animal feed, rather than food for themselves. On the other hand, considerably lower quantities of crops and water are required to sustain a vegan diet, making the switch to veganism one of the easiest, most enjoyable and most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment. For more on how veganism is the way forward for the environment, click here.
- For People
Just like veganism is the sustainable option when it comes to looking after our planet, plant-based living is also a more sustainable way of feeding the human family. A plant-based diet requires only one third of the land needed to support a meat and dairy diet. With rising global food and water insecurity due to a myriad of environmental and socio-economic problems, there’s never been a better time to adopt a more sustainable way of living. Avoiding animal products is not just one of the simplest ways an individual can reduce the strain on food as well as other resources, it’s the simplest way to take a stand against inefficient food systems which disproportionately affects the poorest people all over the world. Read more here on how vegan diets can help people.
Technique tip: For the “mozzarella” sauce, if you are not using a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, soak cashews overnight or boil for 10 minutes and drain. This will soften them and ensure a silky smooth cream. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to four days or frozen for up to one month and thawed before using.
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 pound pizza dough
1 cup tomato sauce
3/4 cup mozzarella sauce
1 cup Vegetarian Meatballs
Optional toppings: Caramelized onions, fresh basil, sliced tomato, crushed red pepper
1½ cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1½ teaspoons sea salt
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly brush a large baking sheet (approximately 9- x 13-inch) with olive oil.
2. Sprinkle the bottom of the baking sheet with cornmeal. On a lightly floured surface, roll or stretch the dough into a large rectangle. Fit it into the baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Spread enough tomato sauce to generously cover the dough, leaving about a ¾-inch border. Top with meatballs and any optional toppings. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until edges are golden.
3. For the “mozzarella” sauce, in a high powered blender, combine cashews and water. Blend on high until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice, salt, garlic, onion powder, and cornstarch and blend until smooth.
4. Remove pizza from oven, lightly drizzle with Mozzarella Sauce, then bake for 1 minute more. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before slicing. If desired, season with crushed red pepper before eating.