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Fruits and Vengeance: Easy Pizza Recipe

Picking what to eat becomes a lot more complicated when you think about more than just what tastes good. As a person who prides herself on being environmentally friendly and an animal lover, I have been asked, on a number of occasions, if I am a vegetarian. This question has always been answered with a wimpy “no”, followed by a slew of lame excuses.

The plain truth is that I was raised a carnivore. My father filled my childhood with an endless array of delectable Mexican dishes, all of which revolved around meat. He even converted my once vegetarian mother to his carnivorous ways. To this day, she makes a mean batch of enchiladas with pulled pork.

Photo courtesy of Christie Merino/Gavel Media

Photo courtesy of Christie Merino/Gavel Media

Cutting out meat from your diet sounds pretty impossible to most people. The inevitable “I can’t be vegetarian/vegan, I love _____ too much” is enough to deter most people from even trying. Instead of associating vegetarian or vegan eating with restriction, it’s time we all recognize that cutting back on animal-based foods will go a long way in preserving the planet and maintaining a healthy diet.

I promise I’m not some arrogant, indie-hipster college student trying to make you all feel bad for not being vegan, because I’m not even a vegetarian. Telling my Dad that I was vegetarian or, heaven forbid, vegan, might’ve given him a myocardial infarction.  When I told him about my vegan friend, he shook his head in disbelief and simply said, “That is not right”. Thanks for the support, Dad.

I, an admittedly picky eater, have chosen these recipes to show how anyone can make a small effort to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. I know the flavor and the satisfaction you can get from eating a juicy piece of steak or a plate of spicy wings. But I also know the peace of mind I get from making the effort to add a little more green to my plate in place of the meat.  Not to mention, nothing compares to the lightness I feel after a day without dairy.

Photo courtesy of Christie Merino/Gavel Media

Photo courtesy of Christie Merino/Gavel Media

A good slice of pizza can make any day a little brighter. Since this week in suburban Connecticut looks like it will be filled with lots of rain, I decided to try my hand at making pizza from scratch. Pizza is truly a versatile food: both meat lovers and veg-heads can make it their own. However, the vegan pie presents a unique problem. The gooey cheese on top is what really makes pizza one of my personal favorites. For this simple recipe, I recommend purchasing a vegan cheese. Instead of depending on the cheese, add some heat with red pepper flakes and familiar flavor by topping it off with your favorite veggies. I love the sweet flavor of bell peppers and sun-dried tomatoes and the color they add to any dish. This particular recipe was from Healthy. Happy. Life.

Pizza Sauce

1 cup san marzano tomatoes

1-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic

pinch of salt and pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

gavel3

Pizza dough

2 1/3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 cup warm water

1 packet of yeast

Toppings

Vegan cheese (I used Trader Joe’s Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds)

Vegetables of choice

Directions:

1. Add one packet of yeast and water to a large mixing bowl. Stir until the yeast has dissolved.

2. Add in 1 cup of flour and the salt and stir until sticky. Then add in the remaining 1 1/3 cups flour a scoop at a time - kneading all the way through. Knead this mixture for a few minutes right into the large bowl until a soft pillow-y ball of dough forms.

3. Flour and oil spray the bowl so the dough doesn't stick to the bowl as it rise. Cover with a clean cloth or a few paper towels and allow the dough to rise for a good hour in a warm spot.

Photo courtesy of Christie Merino/Gavel Media

Photo courtesy of Christie Merino/Gavel Media

4. As the dough sits, mix all of your ingredients for the pizza sauce in a large bowl. Add salt and red pepper flakes to taste.

5. In an hour or so, punch out the dough. Add a few pinches of flour and start kneading the dough. The dough can be used for one large pizza or two mini pizzas, so split them at this point!

6. Start rolling, tossing and stretching the dough to form a pizza shell. Press out the dough on your baking sheet or pizza pan that will go in the oven.

7. Add a light spread of olive oil and enough sauce to lightly cover the dough. Sprinkle vegan cheese and vegetables of your choice on top. (My personal favorites are bell peppers and sun-dried tomatoes).

8. Bake the pizzas in the very hot 425 degree oven for 11-15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and form a crust.

El-Pelon-Ad81111

An avid tree-hugger and political junkie, trying to do good for the world one article at a time. Possibly the only student with good things to say about Edmond’s, she can be found in the kitchen or the library.

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