Monday, November 12, 2012

Salad Pizza and Vegan Frozen Pizzas

Since going vegan, I probably eat less pizza than I used to; I'm totally ok with that, since I think those pizza meals have been replaced by better, healthier options. But every now and then, you do just want some pizza! Or, you need to rely on a ridiculously easy dinner option with little to no effort. At least, I do. Recently, I've found two great, vegan frozen products that make for easy and delicious pizza meals.

Above and beyond opening the box, "Salad pizzas" make a typical frozen pizza more filling by piling on tons of greens and veggies, which can also help you eat less of the pizza. Also, opting for a pre-made, whole grain crust only, or a gluten-free or vegan frozen pizza can help make those quick frozen meals healthier, since they tend to be lower in fat, sodium, and processed ingredients. Here are some of my thoughts and ideas for easy salad pizzas.

Frozen Pizzas made into "Salad Pizzas":
  • Amy's brand has a pretty good frozen vegan pizza. It takes about 12 minutes to cook. It's a simple cheese pizza, so add on fresh spinach or other greens, plus pre-sliced mushrooms, or leftover veggies before you put it the oven. Or, throw on a pile- and I mean a giant pile- of fresh greens and tomatoes after it's cooked, and drizzle with balsamic. I call these "salad pizzas". It makes the pizza more exciting, more filling (so you won't overindulge in too many sodium-packed, processed slices), and just plain better. Everything's better with more fresh veggies :)
  • Even better, make your own pizza but use a pre-made dough. Trader Joe's has dough, but it needs to be rolled out, so that's a step above complete laziness (see my previous post on homemade pizzas with this dough for more on that!). Or, seek out these farro crusts
I found these in the frozen section at Whole Foods. Now, I like to keep one in the freezer for when I'm in a pinch. I am IN LOVE with these crusts- they are hearty, with a delicious whole-wheaty flavor and a good amount of protein from the farro, and they're soft on the inside and and crispy on the outside. Here are some variations I make:
  • Pumpkin arugula- use a little canned pumpkin as your 'sauce', and then load on a bunch of arugula, plus other veggies (broccoli goes well). You can sprinkle with a little Daiya mozzarella cheese, or leave without cheese; you'd be surprised by how you don't seem to miss the cheese when there are veggies and fresh ingredient flavors piled on.
  • Balsamic veggies - drizzle the crust with a tiny bit of olive oil and balsamic, then load on greens and veggies (finely chopped broccoli, swiss chard, asparagus, mushrooms). Daiya cheese optional. Add tomatoes after cooking, and drizzle with a little more balsamic after. 
  • Beet greens & beets- as above, but use beet greens and roasted beets (this is easy if you've roasted the beets the day before and have leftovers- you can just add 'em on after cooking the pizza if you don't mind cold ones, or add them about a minute or two before the pizza is done if you want them heated). 

You get the idea; I LOAD UP these crusts or pre-made pizzas with fresh veg. Often, I also add on fresh basil or rosemary. A little bit of Daiya goes a long way; I don't use very much at all, since I find I don't even miss the cheese with tons of veggies, balsamic, and fresh herbs.  Play around with flavor combos. Yes, chopping veggies takes some time, but you can usually do this in the amount of time it takes the oven to get up to temp.

In a world where I don't know anyone who works less than an 8 hour day (and that would be considered short), sometimes you just don't have time or energy to really prep a meal. Sometimes you're in a pinch. And sometimes you just want a dang quesadilla. And that's ok, sometimes. But that doesn't mean you can't add in a serving (or two, or three) of veggies at the same time. Like a giant salad on top of your pizza!

(As a sidenote, I also tend to do the same thing with cans of soup- I load in a handful or two of fresh kale or spinach. It's a good way to add in more veggies & nutrients, and make your typical can of soup more filling).

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha a dang quesadilla- Love that movie! I am a total pizza salad girl too - arugula is my preferred green ;) Justin doesn't quite get my salad pizza's...I am totally jealous of those farro crusts, I am going to see if I can track those down in my area!


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