Friday, November 9, 2012

Mushroom Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Arugula

Pizza has pretty much been my favorite food since I was about 5 years old, so it was one of the only things that was difficult for me to give up when I switched to a vegan diet. In fact, pizza is the reason I stayed "vegetarian" for so long rather than just eating an all vegan diet. Vegan cheese, as far as I'm concerned, cannot really be compared to dairy cheese and with a few exceptions vegan cheese kinda bums me out. Being the pizza snob that I am, I think that these caramelized onion pizzas I keep coming up with can satisfy vegan and non-vegan pizza lovers alike without pretending to have cheese on them.

1 pizza crust, store bought or homemade
About 1/4 c. vegan pesto (optional but very good)
2 yellow or white onions, halved and thinly sliced and caramelized in a little extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (optional)
4 c. various mushrooms, sliced (crimini, button, shiitake, portabello, etc.)
1/2 tsp. oregano
3-4 c. baby arugula

1) Preheat the oven according to the instructions for the crust you are using. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil (maybe 2-3 tsp.) in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the onion slices and a pinch of sea salt. Toss the onions to coat them in the oil and then let them sit for about 5-7 minutes until they start to brown. Give them another toss and let them sit for about 5 more minutes. Once they really start to evenly brown add the garlic if you're using it and turn the heat down to medium and stir them frequently until they are fully caramelized. Then spread a little vegan pesto over the crust and place the onions evenly over the crust.

2) Return the saute pan to the stove and add a little more olive oil if necessary (but it's probably not necessary) and begin to saute the mushrooms. Once they are softened add a pinch of sea salt and the oregano and toss the mushrooms around to coat with the salt and herbs and then place the mushrooms evenly atop the onions.

3) Bake the pizza according to the directions for the crust you are using. Once you remove the pizza from the oven immediately place the baby arugula on top so that it gets a little wilted from the heat of the freshly baked pizza.

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