Spicy Sausage, Mushroom & Kale Pesto Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes
Pizza pizzazz! You want pizza? Yeah! You want classic flavors like sausage and mushroom? Yeah! You want fast and easy and delicious? Yeah! You want it to be vegan? Record scratch... How could something with no meat and no dairy taste like a classic and delicious pizza? With some vegan magic baby!
First, pizza crust matters so pay attention to what you buy / make; don't just get a pre-baked crust! Second, you have to mix textures and herbs to get the "right" combination for your plant-based meat to taste like meat (for sausage, that means fennel seeds). Third, and most importantly, don't be shy about "good" fats (like the oil), garlic, onion and salt. Layers and layers of flavors and voila! Masterpiece.
Sustainability Spotlight: Just like the notes above on this recipe, focusing on what will make you successful in this vegan endeavor, the "what" component of sustainability matters just as much as the "why" and the "how." The "what" is the start of any recipe for success (pun totally intended and I hope you eye-rolled a little ; ). When you need to accomplish any task, often you need to assemble the correct tools and resources; these are the "what" items. What do I need to be successful?
The building blocks of any sustainability effort must be the "what" - what does any one person, or community need in order to live more sustainably? I'm talking about those that are affluent and less fortunate, the young and elderly, the city dwellers and rural farms; all walks of life, all people and all cultures. Each person might need a different collection of "what" to be successful. Without acknowledging the individual has different motivations, constraints, thoughts, feelings, and opinions about how they live their life, the "what" becomes difficult to ascertain.
It is clear that the world understands the "why" we need to live more sustainably (i.e. - resource overuse and scarcity, climate shift, and pollution). And, we have some of the mechanisms for "how" already (diversification into renewable resources for energy consumption; reduce, reuse, and recycle; and educational programs and outreach to cleanup pollution to name a few). But...the very basic of "what" isn't addressed or given the attention it needs. Largely, the "what" assumes it can be sought out, explored and promoted by the individual; alone.
This notation (that the "what" is not readily known by the individual) is the reason I believe that sustainability is a challenge the world over. We have different cultural perspectives, infrastructure, society norms, language, and geophysical considerations which vary globally and prevent a unified approach to sustainability. I contend, though, that the only unification we truly need in order to achieve a goal of living more sustainably is the individual choice to act. And, the ready supply of the "what" (i.e. - tools & resources to succeed).
My blog, these words, your reading / engaging with them each, along with countless other voices are giving out the "What." We are educating, offering outreach, providing products (this is the only case of me supporting all the marketing / ads for purchase of goods / material items), and offering recipes or ways to be sustainable / live a vegan lifestyle which all help you identify what tools & resources YOU need to live sustainably. No singular answer will get us to the ultimate goal, but as long a the free flowing ideas continue for the "what" on sustainability, I believe wholeheartedly that we can achieve a better tomorrow.
For now, I hope some tips and tricks in this recipe and in these notations gave you at least the "what" for dinner - and that my friends can be the whole win for your day and our future!
1 lb pizza dough (thawed if frozen)
1 tbsp avocado oil
1 plant-based sausage roll (I used Impossible Foods Savory Sausage Roll)
1/4 tsp (or one good pinch full) of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp fresh oregano (diced)
4-5 leaves of kale (de-ribbed and sliced in half then sliced again on the bias)
8 oz. oyster mushrooms (diced)
1/2-3/4 cup of my Mediterranean Pesto Sauce (Another use for the leftover big-batch pesto!)
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes (halved)
Shredded Vegan Mozzarella Cheese (I used Lisanatti brand Almond Mozzarella block) - to taste!
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F
Place a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tbsp avocado oil; once it shimmers, swirl to coat.
Add the contents of the sausage roll, breaking into pieces with your hands. Saute 3-4 minutes until beginning to brown, then add the crushed red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, oregano, kale and oyster mushrooms.
Saute vegetables with plant-based sausage for another 5-7 minutes until the mushrooms have "juiced" and the sausage is crisped and browned. Remove from heat.
While the sausage mixture is cooking, roll out your pizza dough on a flat surface into a large (15-in diameter or so) circle. Place your dough onto a pizza pan (or if using a sheet pan, sprinkle some cornmeal and then place dough (so it doesn't stick).
Spread 1/2-3/4 cup of pesto over the entirety of the pizza crust leaving a scant border.
Evenly sprinkle / spread your sausage mixture over the pesto once it is done cooking.
Evenly sprinkle plant-based mozzarella over the sausage mixture (to taste) then top with cherry tomatoes.
Slide into oven and back for 15-18 minutes; for the last few minutes switch to broil (High) to brown your crust edges, and bubble your vegan cheese. No need to pull the pizza out, just fire up that broiler and watch the magic happen through your oven window!
Remove the pizza from the oven (Carefully! it's very hot) and set aside to cool slightly before cutting.
Serve pizza squares or wedges with some fresh fruit or a simple salad for a complete meal!
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie