Hey, friends! We're just back from a long weekend here in Canada while our neighbours to the south are about to head into their own one this coming week. To me these back to back holiday long weekends are a sure fire sign that summer and good weather on it's way. The dreary and record wet winter/spring we've been having has finally broke, and signs of sunshine are everywhere.
Our little corner of Vancouver is relatively sleepy 99% percent of the time. Sandwiched in between the University and downtown, our neighbourhood is made up of sleepy bike paths, shady tree lined streets, and numerous doughnut shops, yet come the first hot day of the year it explodes into a frenzy of people. The close vicinity of our neighbourhood to the beach means that everyone from all over town piles into this small little neck of the woods. Cafe's and restaurants I didn't know existed most of the year spread out onto the street, music blasts from car stereos, and the quiet and often deserted beach (come fall, winter, and spring) opens up to a sea of volleyball nets, and beach towels.
This is the time of year when we mostly stick at home. Neither of us of one for crowds, loud music, or machismo culture, so we tend to find the most relaxation in our own backyard. We recently bought a hibachi which we test drove the other night with a BBQ dinner party. We devoured tofu and veggie kabobs, grilled corn, and a herby summer salad. It's the essence of summer for me. Having quick and easy fuss free and transportable food is essential for our summer impromptu bike rides or drinks on the patio with friends.
Pizza is one of our all time favourite foods to entertain with. It's easy to make, feeds a crowd, and can be catered to everyone's tastes (extra olives anyone?). This pizza is unlike most I've made as it uses soaked quinoa (kind of like the Unbelievable Bread ) for the base and is therefore perfect for those who are avoiding gluten, or yeast. And the best part is, it comes together so fast and easy, and all in a blender.
I topped this pizza with typical pizza veggies like tomatoes, basil, and other greens, but it's forgiving to what you have on hand. Personally, the star of the show is the kale pesto (but any pesto will work) and the creamy vegan cheese which is more like a mild mozzarella or béchamel due to it's mild taste and soft texture (and best of all, it browns!!!)
Happy long weekend to my America neighbours and I hope you all can get out there and enjoy some outdoor eating!
This pizza kind of has a pizza margherita vibe, but feel free to use any number of spring and summer produce to create endless winning combinations. Here are some other gluten free + vegan pizzas to help inspire you.
QUINOA PIZZA MARGHERITA WITH KALE PESTO + CREAMY VEGAN CHEESE
Serves 2. Print Recipe Here
Inspired and adapted from Solla Eiriksdottir pizza from BBC Vegetarian
If you're wanting to feed more people, simply double this recipe and make two pizzas. The pesto and cheese recipe will make enough to top both
1 Cup Quinoa
1/4 Cup Water
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
1 Tbsp. Oil (I used Avocado)
2 tsp. Mixed Dried Herbs (I used Basil and Oregano)
Pinch Black Pepper
Tomato Sauce (I used this brand)
Kale Pesto (Recipe Below)
Creamy Vegan Cheese (Recipe Below)
Handful Cherry Tomatoes, Chopped
Handful Basil, Chopped
Chilli Flakes, Optional
- Begin the night before, or the morning of, by soaking the quinoa in enough water to cover it by several cm/inches. Let it soak for at least 8 hours.
- After its soak, drain the quinoa (discard the water) and combine it in a blender with the 1/4 cup water, salt, baking powder, nutritional yeast, oil, herbs and pepper. Puree until smooth. Pour the batter on a parchment lined tray and spread it evenly to make a 22 cm (9 inch) circle. Bake for 15 minutes at 218 C (425 F), then gently flip it and bake for another 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- The the crust can be cooled and used at a later date, or can be used immediately. To make this pizza, begin by loading it up with some sauce, some dollops of kale pesto, some spoonfuls of creamy vegan cheese, and some chopped cherry tomatoes. Bake it at 218 C (425 F) for 7-10 minutes until it is warmed through and the cheese melted.
- Garnish the pizza with a handful of arugula, some chopped basil and chilli flakes (if you're anything like me) before serving.
Makes enough for two pizzas
1 Bunch Kale, torn off the stem (about 2 Cups)
1/4 Cup (Packed) Fresh Basil
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Toasted Walnuts
3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
Zest of 1/2 lemon
- Combine the kale, basil, garlic and nuts in a food processor and plus until chunky. Continue to blend while adding the salt, oil, and lemon. Puree just until smooth.
CREAMY VEGAN CHEESE
Adapted from this recipe
Makes enough for two pizzas
1/3 Cup Raw Cashews
1 Cup Cold Water
2 Tbsp. Tapioca Starch
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. Nutritional Yeast
- Combine everything in a blender and puree until smooth. Once smooth, pour the contents into a small pot and cook over low heat whisking constantly. Soon the mixture will get lumpy and look curdled, but continue to cook it and whisk. Soon it will all come together to make a creamy cheese sauce. Once it's thick, remove it from the heat and cool. Once cool, you can break off little chunks as though it was buffalo mozzarella. Alternatively, you can use the sauce warm and spread it on top of a lasagna or moussaka.