My sourdough starter is finally ready to use!! I decided to start with something easy this week (or at least something that looked easy) – pizza crust – because I’m still trying to learn the ins and outs of sourdough and I’m not ready for anything too complicated yet. Also, because I have a ton of fresh asparagus in the fridge that needs to get used, I decided to make a Shaved Asparagus Pizza with Lemon. And because it’s Vegan MoFo, the whole shebang is vegan.
First, here’s how my pizza crust went… I started with the easiest recipe I could find and scaled it down a little because I didn’t have quite enough starter to spare. I ended up using 1 cup of sourdough starter, 1 cup of flour (plus at least another 1/2 cup during the kneading process), a little salt, and a Tablespoon of olive oil. I also tossed in about a teaspoon of pizza seasoning to give it a little kick. I followed the directions as given and kneaded it by hand for about 8 minutes. (Sourdough seems to be much stickier than regular bread dough.) If I make this particular recipe again, I’ll do a couple things differently: I won’t roll it quite as thin, and I’ll let it rise for an hour or so after the crust is formed. The flavor was good, but it got too crisp, more like a cracker, around the edges. All in all, I think it was a good first attempt. Next time, I think I will try the method on the King Arthur Flour Company website. It’s a little more involved, but my impression is that it will yield a softer crust.
So I had my crust done – or at least prebaked. It was time to make pizza. The recipe that inspired this pizza (and the one that turned me from an Asparagus Hater to an Asparagus Appreciater), is not the most vegan-friendly thing ever. Two of the five main components in the original recipe are deeply dairy-based: a creamy Alfredo sauce and a load of mozzarella cheese. After a little experimenting, I found that a simple white sauce made from cashew sour cream and roasted garlic was my favorite vegan-friendly sauce solution. But then there was the “cheese” issue.
Vegan cheese. Well, um…hmmm… My vegan friends keep telling me that it’s getting better, and I have to admit that they’re right. In fact, some varieties actually hit pretty close to the mark. Which is to say, vegan cheese still doesn’t actually taste like “cheese” to me, but at least it tastes like something I might like to eat. And it melts… a little. Which is WAAAAYY better than it was just a few years ago. Here’s how it all goes together:
- 1 - 12-14 inch Pizza Crust
- 1 batch Garlic Cream Sauce
- ½ lb fresh asparagus, shaved thin
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1½ cups Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds
- 1 lemon, sliced
- Roast Garlic. Prepare Cashew Sour Cream according to recipe directions. Squeeze cooled, roasted garlic into a bowl and smash with a fork. Stir in Cashew Sour Cream. Season to taste.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prebake pizza crust if necessary.
- Prepare the asparagus by individually placing them against a cutting board and using a vegetable peeler to create long shavings of asparagus. Put all of the shavings in a bowl with the olive oil and a generous grind of salt and pepper and toss until evenly coated. Set aside.
- Spread prebaked crust with a layer of Garlic Cream Sauce. Remove from the oven and spread with a thin layer of white sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese, then pile on the shaved asparagus until it covers the pizza. Bake (according to dough recipe) until crust is golden, cheese is melted and asparagus is just barely starting to brown in some places. Remove from the oven.
- Serve each piece with a slice of fresh lemon for squeezing over the top.