My husband and I have been vegetarians for 43 years. For most of those years we were lacto vegetarians and enjoyed many a meal that featured foods smothered in cheese. One of those favorites was pizza. For the last year, my husband has been gluten and dairy free due to a health condition that is exacerbated by those foods. Because his health is somewhat fragile, he is very careful with his diet. This often makes it difficult for the cook – me! It has meant learning a whole new way of preparing meals, especially those involving flours and grains.
Have you tried finding dairy and gluten free products in the markets? Breads often have eggs or their texture and taste leave a lot to be desired. That means making bread products oursleves. Have you ever tried to find a gluten free pizza crust in a restaurant? Same story. One of our local pizza parlours advertises a gluten free crust – made from sausage! Unbelieveable! So, if Al wants pizza, we make it ourselves. We usually use a mix that we have purchased. That is until we found this recipe adapted from one I found at Fat Free Vegan Kitchen: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2006/09/potato-pizzas.html.
Potatoes form the base for the toppings on these mini pizzas. I am not particularly fond of potatoes and so this dish, to me, was okay but my husband who would eat potatoes every day of the week if I would fix them, raved about it. He said he liked it better than using pizza crust as a base. I think overall, it is healthier than using a crust, so I told him to let me know when he had a pizza craving and I would have the potatoes ready!
Use any toppings that you ordinarily put on top of pizza. We used spinach and mushrooms. The sauce has lots of onions so, no need to add those. If you still eat dairy, top your creations with mozarella. If you want to try vegan cheese, use that instead of the cheeze sauce. Or leave off all cheese and cheeze types and eat them plain. They are still delicious. Also, I am on a very low sodium diet so I made the sauce almost from scratch using no sodium tomatoes and low sodium crushed tomatoes to cut our favorite marinara sauce that I am still trying to use up. To speed the whole meal up, you could use a bottled marinara sauce, but I thought the almost homemade one was very delicious.
- 4 large baking potatoes (or one for every person)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- Pizza toppings of your choice: mushrooms, spinach, peppers, artichokes, zucchini, etc.
- Cheeze sauce or mozzarella (dairy or vegan) cheese
Set your oven temperature at 350 degrees.
Slice your potatoes in three long slices. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or brush oil on the pan to prevent the potatoes from sticking (I used the paper) and place the potatoes on the baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the potato is cooked. Test by piercing with a knife. Take the potatoes out of the oven and set aside until ready to make the pizzas. This could be done earlier in the day and assembled when the family is ready to eat.
While the potatoes are baking, prepare the sauce. Saute the onions with a bit of oil. You can skip the oil by turning the heat down slightly and putting a lid on the fry pan as the onions cook in a 1/4 cup of water or vegetable broth. They steam and start to caramelize after about 8-10 minutes. When it gets close to the time, you have to watch the onions closely so they don’t burn. Whether steaming or using oil, keep stirring the onions often until they turn a little brown. When they reach this stage, add the tomato products, the garlic and basil. Lower the temperature and simmer while the potatoes cook. As with the potatoes, the sauce can be done earlier in the day and be refrigerated until ready to assemble the pizzas.
Prepare the toppings and the cheeze sauce. This can be done at the same time as you prepare the pizza sauce or if you have cooked the potatoes and sauce earlier in the day, you can make the cheeze sauce while the pizzas are baked during the second cooking stage.
To Assemble the Pizzas:
Take the baked potato slices and cover them with the pizza sauce. Add the pizza toppings of your choice. If you are using cheese or vegan cheese, sprinkle the potatoes with that, too. If you are using the cheeze sauce, wait until pizzas come out of the oven and cover the pizzas with the sauce. Bake the pizzas for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.
- 2 tablespoon tahini
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1 cup rice milk (or other non-dairy milk)
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoons flour, cornstarch or non-gluten flour
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Put the ingredients into a Vitamix and blend until smooth and creamy. Place in a skillet and cook until bubbling and thickened.