Home-made pizza is such an easy go-to meal in our home, however, it struck me that most typical vegan and vegetarian pizza combos are pretty low in protein. Most contain just a mixture of various vegetables and cheese. As a vegetarian, the majority of the protein comes from the cheese, as a vegan it depends on the type of cheese used (if any at all). All of this is likely not enough to be genuinely satisfying and good for blood sugar balance. I use soy-based cheese that I get from a deli in Melbourne but I also have a great homemade mozzarella cheese sauce recipe which you can find here.
An easy way to up to the protein content of a pizza is to use whole grain dough. Whole wheat is actually a fairly good source of protein and other grains such as spelt can offer even more protein. Personally, I purchase some wholemeal spelt sourdough pizza bases from the health store and I have been doing so for years. It’s a quick and convenient way to make homemade pizza. Although I would love to say that I also make my own pizza dough regularly, I really don’t. I have tried it before and landed on an easy pizza dough made from wholemeal spelt that works well. I will share the recipe for the dough in this blog post, however, to say that I make this dough all the time would be a lie. I simply don’t have time and don’t enjoy working with dough so I prefer the convenience of purchasing some good quality pizza bases instead.
Simply improving the quality of the crust by using wholegrain flour is still likely not enough to get enough protein so I have taken to sprinkling on various beans and legumes to pretty much any pizza combo I make. I usually use canned lentils, but depending on the pizza I also use berlotti beans, green peas, chickpeas and cannellini beans. It’s a little weird at first because beans are not a common pizza topping, but I find that beans and legumes have a very mild taste so can easily be incorporated into anything. For me, legumes (beans) were by far the hardest thing to add to my diet. Legumes are a very common FODMAP food and cause digestive upset in quite a lot of people, myself included. When I first started eating beans I would have extreme abdominal pain and of course quite a lot of gas associated with it. At first, I would only eat any sort of legume maybe once a week or so, but over time I slowly and thoughtfully added in more and more legumes and my gut adjusted. Now I am able to eat normal-sized portions of legumes with my meals regularly and not have gut issues anymore but this took years. Because it took me so long to be able to properly digest beans, I learned to cook plant-based without heavy reliance on beans, which in my opinion was a bit of a mistake. Now I am learning to incorporate more beans and legumes into our everyday foods so my family and I can reap the benefits. Beans and legumes are absolutely foundational for health. They are high in plant protein and beneficial fibres for the gut microbiome and because of this, they can help to lower inflammation in the body by up to 40%. It’s no wonder that beans have been associated with increased life span and also improved cardiovascular health.
Another quick tip to boost the protein of a plant-based pizza is to sprinkle on nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast has a cheesy flavour and is a great source of B Vitamins especially Vitamin B12 (if fortified) which is necessary on plant-based diets, but many people don’t know that nutritional yeast is also a very good source of protein. One TBSP will provide at least 5g of protein. Sprinkling a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast onto homemade pizza helps add a cheesy flavour and also boosts the protein content.
Today I am sharing a very satisfying bean and potato pizza with a spelt pizza crust. If you are not vegan or don’t have a dairy allergy/intolerance you can use regular dairy cheese if you prefer, or you can use your favourite store-bought vegan cheese or use the homemade mozzarella cheese recipe I have linked above. There are also plenty of other recipes online for vegan cheeses you can try. I also use a good quality store-bought pizza sauce because I do not have time to make my own (for me pizza is a quick meal and not one I want to labour over for hours) but you can, of course, make your own pizza sauce too. I will add a homemade pizza sauce recipe below.
|Vegan Bean and Potato Pizza with Spelt Crust|| |
- SPELT PIZZA BASE:
- 1⅓ cups wholemeal spelt flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 6 TBSP water
- PIZZA SAUCE:
- 1 cup passata sauce
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ½ TBSP dried oregano
- 1 TBSP Italian herb mix
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp coconut sugar
- pepper to taste
- 2 pre-boiled potatoes - sliced*
- ½ cup canned berlotti beans (drained and rinsed
- ½ cup shredded vegan cheese (or see above for home-made cheese sauce recipe)
- 1 rosemary spring
- 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
- For the pizza base: mix together the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Add oil and 1 TBSP of water at a time. Knead the dough for 1 minute. Let the dough sit for 10 minutes. Roll with a rolling pin into a pizza shape and pierce with a fork. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 200 C before adding toppings.
- For the sauce: stir all ingredients together in a bowl. Use immediately and store leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Once the dough has been baked for 10 minutes, spread pizza sauce, layer on sliced potatoes, and sprinkle on beans, cheese, nutritional yeast and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake in the oven for another 7-10 minutes until the cheese has melted well. Slice and enjoy with a rocket side salad.
- *can use raw potato slices but must be sliced very thin to cook properly.