Search This Blog

Friday, February 19, 2010

Pizza Minus Dairy


I don't think I'd be saying anything too shocking by stating that it's difficult to eat healthy or cook at home all of the time as a full-time student. A lot of evenings when I come home from a long day of classes, knowing that I have to invest more time in studying for an exam the next day, I just crack open a jar of pasta sauce and boil some spaghetti. On even lazier days, I just dial the number for the Chinese restaurant down the street. I do really enjoy cooking, but sometimes it seems impossible, or I'm just too exhausted.

When I stopped eating dairy, I was almost positive I was going to have to say goodbye to my dear friend pizza, but the huge amount of dairy-free cheese alternatives on the market made it remarkably simple to adapt it into something I could eat. Let me say this, however: not all dairy-free cheeses are created equal. Tofutti makes a great cream cheese and a great sour cream, and they even make some decent ice cream alternatives, but their sliced cheeses (to me at least) are plain awful. I'm not trying to be cruel to the company or anything, but the first time I tried one of their cheeses I spit it out because I thought it had been spoiled.

This is the part where I would usually lay out a recipe for you, but writing a recipe for pizza seems pretty silly. Pizza is extremely versatile, and the ingredients can be changed based on how much of a rush you are in. I'm not a huge fan of the pre-baked crusts they sell in stores, but I'm also not above using them. Fresh pizza dough is obviously the best, but I was also surprised to find pre-made refrigerated pizza dough in a can (like crescent rolls or dinner rolls,) and it also happens to be dairy free. Pizza sauce can also be bought in a jar pre-made for the ultimate "I-need-to-go-study" dinner.

Assemble a dairy-free pizza the same way you would assemble any pizza. Lay out your crust/dough, spread pizza sauce on top, and cover it with dairy-free shredded cheese. It might take some time to learn the characteristics of the different dairy-free cheeses out there. I find that when using some of the pre-shredded brands available, adding too many toppings to a pizza keeps the cheeses from melting together into one mass. It still tastes fine, but it's not as aesthetically close to what you would expect from pizza. One of my favorite toppings is black olives because they don't take up too much real-estate on the pizza and they allow the cheese to melt together nicely.

Bake your pizza in a 425º oven for 13 minutes or longer, until the crust is browned and your cheese starts to bubble a bit. I always serve this with quick salad so that when we sit down to eat, it actually feels like I spent time making something (I didn't.)

No comments:

Post a Comment