Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Veggie Pizza

This pizza is pretty self-explanatory and thus I'm not sure it warrants its own blog entry, but it looked so pretty that I had to share.

Once an adamant supporter of the "pizza without cheese is not pizza" school of thought, hail the vegan gods, I am a convert.

I never realized how distracting the flavour of cheese was until I stopped eating it. So it's not surprising that the "pizza without cheese is not pizza" ideology exists, because it becomes (quite tragically, I think) the very essence of the meal in all its grease-high glory. It becomes how we define the actual thing we are talking about. So naturally when you suggest removing the "essence" it is often equated with blasphemy. Honestly, I wasn't sure how I felt about cheeseless pizza after going vegan so it took me awhile to even try it, assuming it would just "not be the same" and somehow disappoint me, or make me sad to be vegan, or what have you. I was wrong. I couldn't be more wrong.

I've always been somewhat okay with name-calling so call me what you will...I still suggest trying pizza without cheese.

Honestly. I never realized how overpowering it was and how it could take away from how good a spicy tomato sauce can be. And how amazing the fresh-cut vegetables always are. Instead, on traditional pizzas all of this variety gets suffocated under heaps of cheese that in turn sit like a huge lump in the gut area and cause you to curse yourself the next morning when you try and button your favourite jeans.

Now, I won't front like I didn't fancy me some cheese-on-everything back in the day. That overpowering, all consuming flavour almost becomes addictive, doesn't it? Even though I am now all but repulsed by it (seriously...everyone thinks I'm lying when I say that) I understand the difficulty people have with the thought of a life without cheese and quite honestly it was once upon a time my biggest obstacle in moving into la vida vegan. Especially when our culture seems to want to put it on absolutely everything with reckless abandon. I definitely get the apprehension.

However, when I finally determined that my interest in veganism and animal rights and solid nutritional health was stronger than my addiction to dairy products, I realized how much flavour I had been missing by hiding absolutely everything under a ridiculous amount of cheese. Especially in the case of pizza. Instead of the cheese it's now flavoured by the bright tomato sauce, the copious amounts of mushrooms, the fresh bell pepper, the artichokes and the garlic. For once I can actually taste all of it. It's almost refreshing, which is something I never thought pizza could be. Pizza was a meal for eating in sweatpants and sweatpants only, and feeling like a balloon post-ingestion. Now I have no problem having pizza for lunch and then going for a long walk after (I was going to say run......but who am I kidding), instead of groaning in agony on the couch (okay yes, I am starting to get ridiculous here and I do realize -at least hope- most people don't eat five slices of Little Caesar's PLUS crazy bread like I used to).

Further, when I went vegetarian I noticed some differences in how I felt but nothing compared to when I cut out all dairy. I can seriously cut my life in I felt while I ate cheese and how I felt when I stopped and that feeling alone has curbed any sort of non-vegan craving. For real.

In summary: This picture is pretty. Cheese-less pizza is good. And I can't stay away from a good rant to save my life.


taleoftwovegans said...

I (and I bet most vegans!) couldn't agree more! I remember that I would have pizzas with enough crappy cheese on them that they would form a cud of unchewable grossness that had to be spit out. *shudder* Naaasty. Dairy free is the way to be! :) -Eve

Toni said...

In my own research concerning vegetarianism and veganism I've found that cheese is that one thing that people can't seem to let go. I'm really glad you did, and lived to tell about it in your second life. :) There's cheese in our fridge right now, but I think once it runs out I'm not going to buy any more for a bit and see if me or the husband feel a difference.

PS: Very pretty pizza!

Sophia.Pflieger said...

I used to have an addiction to cheese as well. It's been a year and I still crave it. vegan pizza is awesome though!

Lena said...

Hey we made a pizza last nite without cheese and one with mozarrella soy cheese...we realized though we didnt even need the soy cheese on one of them because it tasted amazing without it...ive found that cutting dairy out of my life definitely has made everyday seem just more fresh and my body feels good! plus the pizza just tasted like a fresh garden YUM!

Mary said...

Sophie - hang in there...I know you are not alone in your cravings and the cheese thing is quite difficult for many people to move past, even years after going vegan.

Lena - It's so true!! I find using soy cheese is almost counter productive in a lot of's just not needed, but you just sometimes feel like it is needed because you're used to eating something (like pizza) a certain way. It took me awhile to even think about making pizza because it just seemed not possible without some sort of cheese. It really is funny how difficult it can be to think outside the box sometimes!

lalalillian said...

Mmmmmmm after reading your blog, I'm craving some vegan pizza. When I tried my first vegan pizza, it tasted AMAZING! I totally agree with you on the whole cheese masking the flavor. People think that I'M missing out when I eat my cheeseless pizzas, but little do they know, the joke is on them!

I also like to throw some pineapples to make it more tropical :)

and I actually enjoy your rants :)

Mary said...

So very true! And pineapples are a great idea!

Thanks - it's nice to know there's someone out there who also enjoys a good rant!

Velovegan said...

I love your blog! Randomly just came across it and have read back through so many posts :) I love pizza with refried beans and a salsa tomato sauce on it instead of cheese. There is a place here in Dublin called "Hell Pizza" and they do this one vegan pizza called the "Sinister", and it is SO GOOD. Every time I have taken friends there, they've either been coaxed into getting the vegan pizza or at least sampled a bit of mine... and each and every one of them has LOVED it and has seriously said that they didn't miss the cheese at all! Hooray! :)

Mary said...

Thanks for checking the blog out!!
And refried beans on pizza - I never even thought of that before, I will definitely have to try that!

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