Vegan Pizza: 50 Cheesy, Crispy, Healthy Recipes by Julie Hasson is the latest in her series of cookbooks which includeVegan Diner. Hasson has been in the food industry for the past twenty years. She has been a personal chef for celebrities, contributed to Bon Appetit, Cookng Light, Vegitarian Times, and VegNews. She as also appeared on the Cooking Channel, local television and Martha Stewart Living Radio. She currently runs Julie’s Original (gluten free baking mixes) and the Native Bowl.
Two points on this reviewer. As a long time strict vegetarian, I jumped at the chance to review and try some of the recipes in this book. I prefer the term strict vegetarian over vegan and look at the big picture of things. Petroleum, oil, road expansions, and cars do a great deal of harm to the environment which is the reason I don’t drive a car. But ask a vegan if they drive and you are more than likely to get a “Yeah, of course. I need to get around.” When asked if they know the damage that does you will usually get the less than idealistic response of “that’s unavoidable”. In short, I am at odds with the word “vegan” as a meaningful term. Secondly, I have never reviewed a cookbook before, but why not start with something I know.
The book has everything a good standalone cookbook should have:
Pantry, explaining all the ingredients that you may not be familiar with like spelt, quinoa, and agave syrup.
Equipment, all the pots, pans, thermometers, and anything else you need.
Tips and Tricks, including what you need to know about diary free cheese.
Resources, at the back of the book, lists sources for equipment like food processors and blenders.
There is also contact and web page information for specialty ingredients as well as the metric conversions.
The main section of the book contain recipes for a variety of pizza doughs from traditional, to gluten free to corn meal. The recipes are clearly written and all the ingredients are readily available from you average supermarket. The “meat” recipes are also clear and easy to follow, although, depending on where you live, you may need to find a store other than you average supermarket for Textured Vegetable Protein.
The sauce section gives you everything from the traditional tomato based sauces as well as a some “cheese” sauces that are cashew based. All the ingredients are readily available, but again depending on where you live, you may need a specialty store for nutritional yeast. The cheese is store bought. Daiya is a brand I am familiar with and very good. If you are “vegan” check the labels of the brands. Several brands use casein, milk protein, in their inaccurately labeled “dairy free” cheese.
Hasson supplies the reader with several traditional pizzas made vegan and a section called Farmer’s Market Pizzas. The latter contains interesting combinations like Pineapple and Jalapeno, Sweet potato and Kale, and Wild Mushroom and Potato Pizza. Not Your Usual Suspects has Cheeseburger Pizza (with pickles), a Cowboy Pizza (with Broccoli?!?), and Peanut Barbecue Pizza (think Thai). Also included are Global Flavors like Eggplant Parmesan, Taco, and Bibimbap (Korean sweet and spicy) and sweet pizzas like berry pie and coconut caramel.
Vegan Pizza is well written, clear, and imaginative. Unlike several vegan cookbooks I have read, the ingredients are readily available. This book would make many weeks of different pizzas and fuel ideas for many more. An excellent cookbook, even for omnivores.