For Vegan Pizza Day my husband and I made a pie from Heart Healthy Pizza: Over 100 Plant-based Recipes for the Most Nutritious Pizza in the World by Mark Sutton.
Today I’m going to share my review of this cookbook and offer you a chance to win a signed copy!
First, let me tell you how Mark and I met. I wrote this post: Quorn goes vegan (What the hell is mycoprotein?). I mentioned Mark Sutton’s critique of vegan food bloggers and Mark read the post. We respected one another’s perspective and a friendship was formed.
Now, on to Mark’s book. Put simply, he redefines pizza.
Mark Sutton spent five years creating pizza recipes that are nutritious, delicious and inventive. The result is a collection of over 100 no-added oil recipes. In four chapters Sutton reconstructs the pizza:
- Firm foundations. In this first chapter Sutton literally lays down the foundation of how to go about making heart healthy pizzas. He offer tips and techniques and super-creative ingredients to make a variety of dough: Wheat & Millet, Corn Polenta, Whole Grain Rice & Chickpea, to name a few.
- Amazing Gracious Sauces. This chapter serves up recipes for the first layer, or “bottom sauce,” to go on top of your crust of choice and are divided in red, green and “white” categories. Recipes range from raw tomato sauce to carrot sauce to rosemary pesto to tofu ricotta. TIP: Sutton suggests using leftover chili or a stew as a bottom layer. I like that idea!
- No Nonsense Non-Cheese. These no-added oil recipes were not developed to replace cheese but rather offer an alternative to the cheese substitute we so often find on a vegan pizza. The base of the topping sauces are vegetables, legumes, and/or whole grains. Top layer sauce recipes include barley and almond; millet, avocado, and oregano; oats, cannellini beans, and garlic; navy bean and pecans; tofu and lemon sauce.
- Powerful Pizza Possibilities. It’s time to top off that pizza. Sutton encourages you to think about flavor profiles and texture as you mix and match your crust, sauces and toppings. Suggested recipes include nods to old world pizza (Pizza Putanesca with Tempeh Anchovies and Pizza Fungi) and to newer, innovate approaches to pizza (Nearly Nouveaux Mex and Friendly Frankfurters & Kale)
My regular readers know that I am a fan of intuitive cooking; if you, too, like a guide but prefer to use your imagination to pull things together, this book is for you. Mark Sutton offers four elements for the redefined pizza and then it’s left to you – cook’s choice!
My husband and I scoured the book and selected elements that appealed to us. We started with the corn polenta crust and opted for a salsa recipe for the bottom sauce. We skipped the second sauce, because we were in the midst of a heat wave and were keen on a light pizza. We loved the veggies in the Fungi Pizza recipe so we topped off our corn polenta and salsa pizza with Gimme Lean vegan sausage, baby bella mushrooms and green peppers.
The corn meal cooked up well in the saucepan, the salsa recipe was simple and flavorful and we loved the smell of the toppings when we popped the pizza in the hot oven.
The pizza was beautiful.
Then we had a little trouble. The polenta crust simply didn’t bake up well. Though it didn’t come off the baking sheet like a slice, the flavor was outstanding (I am now a huge fan of a salsa-style sauce). As a vegan who loves to eat “bowl” type dishes, I enjoyed my plate of home-made polenta topped off with salsa, veggies and vegan sausage.
I got in touch with Mark Sutton about the trouble I had with the crust; he confirmed that his final recipe for this crust did not make it into the book (the polenta recipe has been corrected in subsequent copies of this self-published book) and graciously provided me the final corn polenta crust recipe, which I can share with you here.
Corn Polenta by Mark SuttonINGREDIENTS:
• 1 cup cornmeal (roasted corn meal, if available)
• 2 cups water
• 1/4 t. salt (optional)
• 1 cup low-fat soy milk (or water)
• ground black pepper (to taste)METHOD:
1. Bring water or milk and salt to a slow boil in a pot. Whisk in cornmeal at first, and then stir repeatedly with wooden spoon carefully at a simmer to reduce lumps. Sprinkle in black pepper. Stirring frequently, the polenta should thicken sufficiently in about 10 to 20 minutes (the spoon will stand up straight in the polenta and not fall down). Remove from heat and let rest a few minutes.
2. Spread the cooked polenta onto a non-stick baking sheet in a lightly oiled 9 x 13″ glass baking dish. Use a little water on fingertips or the back of a spoon/spatula, if necessary, to smooth the surface and help with shaping.
3. Bake polenta at 400 degrees F. until firm and the bottom and edges start to get crisp and golden (about 20 to 30 minutes).
4. Add desired toppings and sauce(s), and put back into oven for 20 to 30 minutes (until toppings are cooked). If desired, lightly broil for a few minutes.NOTES:
1. The polenta may stick to a non-stick pan if the pan has a lot of “browned” areas from prior use. A lightly oiled casserole dish works best, and will generally make for a thicker crust.
2. Don’t use too much bottom sauce or your polenta pizza will get a bit mushy.
He also shared a photo of one of his own pizza creations using the Corn Polenta crust.
You can order a copy of Heart Healthy Pizza: Over 100 Plant-based Recipes for the Most Nutritious Pizza in the World for yourself … and you can also enter to win a copy (open to anyone in the U.S.)!