We have tried so many pizza options as a family, and basically had just given up on pizza for the most part because of the cheese issue. We don’t want to eat real cow milk cheese, and the vegan cheese just isn’t that good (plus it’s crazy expensive and often has even more saturated fat than real cheese!). So we’ve tried some homemade cheeses that are ok, but not really worth making again. But we finally found a recipe we like! Although it will truly not ever be AS good or addicting as real cheese, it’s a yummy, creamy, white, salty substance to put on pizza that we enjoy!
We like to make heart-shaped pizzas on Valentines Day and this cheese makes it possible to do again. The crust is easy and soft and the rest is customizable to you: choose which cheese and vegetables you want.
One of our family’s favorite restaurants is Blaze Pizza, because we have one nearby our house and it’s actually easy to eat vegan there. They do have vegan cheese and chorizo, but they also have so many other toppings that you don’t even need any type of cheese. So when we make pizza at home, I try to mimic Blaze and have as many toppings options as we can find. Some ideas are peppers, mushrooms, onions, artichoke hearts, olives, basil, pineapple, red pepper flakes, jalepenos, roasted vegetables.
About the Cheese
I’ve tried a lot of cheese sauces with tapioca flour, and it indeed makes a more cheese-like texture that is very gooey and stringy, but it just doesn’t taste amazing. I also have seen recipes that use carageenan or agar agar powder, but I don’t like to share recipes that overwhelm readers with unusual ingredients that they have to special-order.
I finally tried the Vegan 8 Mozarella Cheese recipe that I have seen all over Instagram. I had never tried it because it uses cashews, which seem to bother me and give me mucous in my throat. Her recipe also had too many random ingredients like cooked potato and cooked white rice. It seemed like such a fuss. But I tried it, and it wasn’t that hard to make at all, and it was really good! I highly recommend you go to her site and try it out.
Since I seem to have a sensitivity to cashews, and a lot of people do or are allergic to tree nuts, I created a nut-free version below. If you don’t need nut-free, just use Brandi’s original recipe here on the Vegan 8 Website (I love her website!). I froze some of the cheese I made following her recipe exactly, and it froze well. The texture was thicker but tasted great. So, you can make cheese less often and get some from the freezer for pizza nights.
My nut-free version uses more rice and potato and adds a little olive oil to replace the cashews.
Cut the dough into eights for mini pizzas. You can see that my kids just like olives and pineapple on theirs.
To make the pizza:
Start the dough at least one hour and a half before you want to eat (more is fine, it’s ok if it rises longer than one hour). While it’s rising, you can prepare the toppings you want, and make the sauce.
3/4 cup jarred marinara sauce
2 TBSP tomato paste
Stir together to create a thick sauce.
Once dough is ready, use it to make either one large pizza, or cut into fourths or eights to make four personal pizzas or 8 kid-sized pizzas. Place on a pizza stone or baking sheet with a silicone baking mat on it. Spread the sauce over in a smooth, thin layer, and then drizzle the cheese sauce over in strips. Let everyone in your family customize their pizzas. Sprinkle the toppings on and then some herbs if desired (Italian seasoning, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, etc). Bake on the middle rack or lower rack at 500 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until the bottom is just golden brown when you lift it with a spatula.
Serve with a salad or roasted broccoli and some sparkling apple juice for a fancy Valentines Day meal.
White and creamy like mozzarella, this nut-free and vegan cheese sauce is tangy, salty, and delicious on pizza or grilled cheese sandwiches. Adapted from The Best Vegan Mozzarella Cheese from the Vegan 8 website (which I highly recommend for a sauce using nuts!).
- 1/3 cup vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup (60 g) dairy-free unsweetened yogurt (soy, almond, cashew, coconut)
- 2/3 cup (150 g) packed cooked peeled gold potato
- 1/2 cup (100 g) packed cooked white rice
- 1/2 TBSP white distilled vinegar
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 TBSP olive oil (optional)
For the potato, I just put one large gold/ Yukon potato in the microwave for a few minutes until soft, then peel the skin off.
Ideally, if you have a scale, put your blender jar onto the scale and zero it. Add the ingredients by weight, zeroing the scale after every addition. Blend all together until very, very smooth. It is ready to use!
Use a spoon to drizzle it thickly onto pizza, or use it to make a grilled cheese sandwich, or just spread on bread and warm up in the microwave. Pairs very well with fresh basil leaves or pesto on the pizza or sandwich.
*Use sticky cooked white rice, and you may want to heat it up before using if it is cold so it blends more smoothly.
*Use high-fat plant yogurt (I use Silk almond yogurt that is 16 g fat per serving) and make sure it is not flavored or sweetened. Plain yogurt sometimes still has a little added sugar (just a few grams) and that is ok, it's not noticeable. You just don't want hints of vanilla in your cheese.
This pizza crust makes one large pizza (the size of a standard cookie sheet, or about a 16 inch round pizza pan). While you could use 100% whole wheat flour, I usually use 1/2 white flour, so it's light like traditional crust.
It takes about 10 minutes to prep, 60 minutes to rise, then about 10 minutes to bake. You could have pizza in just over an hour!
- 2 1/4 cups flour (I use 1 cup white bread flour and 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour)
- 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast (1 packet)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 1 cup lukewarm water
Mix the flours and salt in a large bowl.
In a liquid measuring cup, stir warm water, honey and yeast together. Let the yeast activate and foam for 5 minutes.
Pour water into flour mixture. Dump onto clean counter and knead for 7 minutes or use the dough hook of a stand mixer.
Shape into a ball and place dough in a floured or greased bowl. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. I like to put it in my oven with the light on if it's chilly in the house.
After rising, press dough onto pizza pan and cover with desired toppings. Bake at 500 degrees for 7-10 minutes.