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Vegan Pizza: 50 Cheesy, Crispy, Healthy Recipes Paperback – September 3, 2013
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"If you think giving up meat means losing taste, think again. There's Thai peanut, pineapple and jalapeno, and cowboy pizza with barbecue sauce, vegan cheese and other goodies." (Chere Coen, Louisiana Book News, The Sunday Advertiser)
About the Author
Julie Hasson is the author of 7 cookbooks, including Vegan Diner and The Complete Book of Pies. She has over 20 years of experience in the food industry, including attending UCLA’s Culinary Arts/Professional Chef program, working at the famed Patina restaurant in Los Angeles, and serving as a private chef for celebrities and high-profile clients. Julie opened the original Babycakes Bakery (a wholesale bakery that supplied Los Angeles restaurants and coffeehouses with artisan baked goods); authored cookbooks; has contributed extensive articles and recipes to Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, Vegetarian Times, and Family Fun magazines; and is also the host of the popular Internet cooking show Everyday Dish. Julie has been featured in print, and on TV and radio, including the Cooking Channel; Good Food America; Better, Better Portland; Good Day Oregon; Martha Stewart Living Radio; VegNews Magazine; and Vegetarian Times, as well as numerous radio and TV shows across the country. Julie is currently the Healthy Living Expert on Good Day Oregon, and was one of the hosts of the TV cooking show 15 & Done.
Julie and her husband, Jay, run a hip little food cart in Portland, Oregon, called Native Bowl.
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Of course, a Vegan cook book devoted entirely to vegan pizza was too good a novelty to pass up and since my husband loves it so, I thought I'd throw caution to the wind, and against my better judgement purchase this book. Honestly, the negative reviews had me worried, and I was more then a little concerned that I would not like this book. I thought I'd find it too processed, too difficult, too uninspired, or worse still utterly useless. I am so, so happy that I didn't listen to the bad reviews, because I quickly discovered that I absolutely love this book! Really, it's not often that a cook book steals my heart and blows me away, especially not a simple, niche book such as this one, but that's precisely what's happened. Since I got this wonderful new book from Julie Hasson I've been making 2 pizza's a night for 8 nights straight - totally unprecedented! But the recipes are just so good, and so easy that I simply can't stop making them! Honestly, we haven't had a bad pizza yet. Each pie has come out of the oven the model of perfection, so different then my previous pizza making experiences.
There are so many things I love about this book. For one I love that there are several options for different kinds of pizza dough - although I would have liked even more options, such as options that include herbs or maybe even stuffed crusts - and I love that each dough is super easy. Really I have never had a quicker or easier time working with dough in all my life. You simply add the ingredients to a bowl in order, stir it together let it rise and voila, perfect pizza dough! It stretches, it doesn't crack or tear, or stick, it's absolutely perfect, and tastes delicious! Next I love that Hasson includes recipes for house-made meats. Buying vegan meat can be expensive and I prefer to eat as little processed food as possible so this is really great. I also love that her meat recipes use quinoa which is a great idea I never would have thought of. All of her meat recipes also use sweet white rice flour as a binder, and I could not find this so I subbed organic cornstarch instead and think it worked really well as far as making the meat clump together, so you may want to give this a try also if you can't find the flour. I also don't have access to soy curls where I live and so instead I used home-made seitan ham that I had in my freezer where these were called for and it worked out well. I also used home-made seitan sausage in the recipes that called for sausage. Her pizza recipes are flexible like that, and I appreciate that so much. My only complaint here is that all the meat recipes are relatively similar, one reviewer suggested that they should have been condensed as one recipe with variations freeing up more space in the book for other recipes and I would tend to agree with that.
Hasson also includes recipes for tomato sauce, 2 kinds of pesto, and a few cheese sauce options. I appreciate all of these although I would have liked some more variation on tomato sauces, as well as cheese sauces. The cheddary Cashew Cheese is my favorite of the cheese sauces, the flavor of this is so good it would fool just about any omnivore I think. It has a texture, and a flavor like mild cheeze-whiz. I also like that she doesn't use too much nutritional yeast. I like Nooch but I find a lot of cheese recipes call for way to much, where Hasson uses a conservative quarter cup, the perfect amount.
As for the pizzas themselves they are simple yet delicious, and many are quite creative. Some include ingredients that I never would have thought to put on pizza, truffle oil, peanut butter, bean sprouts, cilantro, corn, and many others. I've always appreciated creative pizza, even before I went vegan I was never a fan of straight up meat and cheese. I always liked a little extravagance with my pizzas. Hasson also includes a cool dessert pizza chapter. I have not yet made any of the dessert pizza's but I'm hoping to make one or two this week, they all sound so fantastic. Pizza for dessert, who would have thought?
Aside from the actual recipes other big selling points for me on this book are the simple, clean layout. I love it, the book is easy to navigate, easy to read, the instructions are easy to follow, and it just looks good. Crisp and clean, free of clutter. I like Hasson's tips and suggestions as well. My only real complaints are that I would have liked some pictures. I typically hate cook books that do not include pictures and this book doesn't have a single one. However the recipes are so stellar that I find this doesn't bother me too much with this book. Still it would have been nice, but maybe next time. Vegan Pizza volume 2? Secondly I would have liked more recipes. I know it says right on the cover that there are only 50 recipes, but this could easily have been a book of 100 recipes. So many options and variations on meats, sauces, and pizza's, and I selfishly want more! Ha. Oh well, overall I think this is a great primer cook book for learning to make - and love - vegan pizza. I would highly recommend this to any new vegan, any novice pizza maker, and even a seasoned pizza maker.
Though there are a few things you may wish to consider before buying this book. 1 there is no nutritional information given on any of the recipes. I do not care about this whatsoever because lets face it, we're talking pizza here, you know? But I realize that no nutritional info is a deal-breaker for some. Also the recipes do call for store-bought vegan cheese. To be fair Hasson lists the cheese as optional but some reviewers have heavily criticized her for including it in her recipes anyway. Personally I have nothing against store-bought vegan cheese, I like it though I rarely eat it. Of course if I'm making pizza I know ahead of time that I'm not making something particularly `healthy' and so I just go with it, I splurge, get the vegan cheese and don't worry too much about it. It really doesn't take much ½ cup most of the time or a little more, so it hardly seems worth complaining about but to each their own. My feelings on this are if you don't like store-bought vegan cheese then make your own. I own 3 vegan cheese cook books, I can easily make my own cheese at home and use it on Hasson's pizzas if I so choose. If you're a processed vegan cheese hater then you can do this too and it isn't a big deal. Certainly it isn't worth panning the book over when so much in the book is phenomenal. Of course, if that still doesn't do it for you there is at least one vegan pizza cook book on the market that's goal is to create heart healthy whole food pizzas. If that's your thing, then buy that book instead of this one. If like me you don't mind indulging now and then, you're going to love this book. Seriously, vegan pizza has never been easier, ever! I know that I'll be making lots and lots of pizza in the future, no longer will this be a twice a year occurrence in my house.
So, in the past eight days I've made quite a few recipes, these are the ones I've tried and this is what I thought.
Dough and Crust
Easy-Peasy Pizza Dough - Loved it! (My new favorite go-to pizza dough)
Pizza Dough for a Crowd - Loved it! (This is essentially the Easy-Peasy Dough doubled)
White Whole Wheat Pizza Dough - Pretty good!
Spelt Dough - Pretty good!
Cornmeal Dough - Loved it! (My other new favorite go-to pizza dough)
Burger Crumbled - Loved it!
Pepperoni Crumbles - Loved it! (My new favorite vegan pepperoni)
Cheddary Cashew Cheese - Loved it! (My new favorite cheese sauce)
Smokey White Cashew Cheese - Pretty good
Sun-dried Tomato, Basil, and Arugula Pesto - LOVED IT! (My new favorite pesto)
Tomato-Garlic Sauce - Love it
Zesty Pesto - Love it
Garlic, Sausage and Onion Pizza - Loved it! (Favorite)
Plain Jane Pizza - Loved it!
Spinach, Onion, Mushroom, and Pepperoni Pizza - Loved it! (Favorite)
Meatball Pizza - Loved it!
Valentine's Pizza - Loved it! (Favorite)
Corn, Pesto, Zucchini and Tomato Pizza - Pretty good!
Mushroom, Broccoli, and Sun-dried Tomato Pizza - Loved it! (Favorite)
Pineapple and Jalapeno Pizza - Loved it! (Favorite)
Smokey Wild Mushroom and Potato Pizza - Pretty good!
Sweet Potato and Kale Pizza - Pretty good!
Scalloped Potato Pizza - Loved it! (Favorite)
Broccoli and Cheddar Pizza - Loved it! (Favorite)
Cheeseburger Pizza - Loved it! (Favorite)
Cowboy Pizza - Loved it! (Favorite)
Peanut Barbeque Pizza - Pretty good!
Pub Pizza - Loved it! (Favorite)
Bibimbap Pizza - Loved it!
Babka Pizza - Loved it!
Coconut Caramel Pizza - Pretty good, but the Caramel got very hard.
As you can see I've tried many of the recipes in this book, and each one has been a great success. My husband too loved each pizza I made, and the ones listed favorite were favorites for both of us. I really can't say enough good things about this book, and I can't wait to try the rest of the pizzas, especially the dessert pizzas. When I do I'll try and remember to update this review for you.