Are you tired of wraps and salads but still want to pack in your veggies?
Enter Pizza Bella: a raw portobello mushroom pizza.
Since our move, Rob and I have lost easy access to a barbecue but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying portobello mushrooms. I still adore grilled portobello bliss but variety is the spice of life. With my leftover cocktail sauce from the Raw King Oyster “Calamari”, I knew I wanted to use it towards pizza on a fungi.
In fact, my idea for this came from my visit to Houston, where I had a similar meal from Pat Greer’s Kitchen (see Ashley’s Pizza Bella review here). Everyone keeps reminding me that Houston is America’s fattest city and they only eat meat. I protest, you can find healthy take-away foods, even in Houston: you just need to know where to look. When I had my interview in Houston, I wasn’t able to visit the store front of Pat Greer’s Kitchen, but with advance ordering, she was able to deliver her foods to a nearby My Fit Foods store. With a few fresh, raw meals now packed in my hotel mini-fridge, I was all set to bring my A game for my marathon of interviews.
Pat’s Pizza Bella: made with breath, love, and portabella mushroom, and organic: sunflower seeds, cashews, carrots, zucchini, wild kalamata olives, local tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, dried basil, dried oregano, tahini, garlic powder, and sea salt
What I was most impressed at was that the mushroom seemed to be raw. I wasn’t even sure it was marinaded, but as a raw mushroom, it kept its shape well while holding a nice tomato sauce, a sunflower-cashew cheese, topped with spiralized zucchini, olives and carrots.
For my version, I opted to marinate the mushroom in a touch of apple cider vinegar to soften it slightly as I prepped my sauces. My tomato sauce was ready-to-go but now I had to decide on a cheese flavour. In the end, I went with Gena’s Italian cashew cheese flavoured with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. I made it with my food processor, instead of my Vitamix, hoping to get a more cheese-like consistency, but it still was no match to real ricotta cheese. It still tasted great, though, and worked really well with the contrast from the lemon-tomato sauce. I like the shredded zucchini and olives from Pat’s version, so I included that, along with a mound of sprouts as toppings.
I ran out of mushrooms, so I ended up freezing the extra cashew cheese in ice cube trays, so I can pop them out whenever I want a single serving of pizza cheese (thanks for the tip, Zoa!). This set of ingredients would also work well in a collard wrap, or overtop zucchini noodles.
Pizza Bella (Raw Portobello Pizza)
8 large Portobello mushrooms, cleaned, destemmed and degilled (peel off the skin, too, if you desire)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar)
1/2 recipe cocktail tomato sauce (or your favourite raw marinara sauce)
1 recipe Italian Cashew Cheese with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil (see below)
1 zucchini, spiralized
8 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup sprouts (I used clover sprouts)
+your other favourite pizza toppings!
1. Marinate the cleaned mushrooms in lemon juice as you prepare the rest of your ingredients (gently rub it all over the mushrooms).
2. Top your mushroom with the tomato sauce, Italian cashew cheese, zucchini, olives and sprouts.
Italian Cashew Cheese with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil
Adapted from Choosing Raw
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for two hours or more
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 tsp white miso
2 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes (water reserved), chopped
1/8 cup basil, chopped
1. Throw nuts in a food processor and process till ground well.Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
2. Add salt, lemon juice, and miso. Scrape sides of bowl and run processor again, this time drizzling some reserved tomato water until the cheese reaches your desired consistency (I added around 3-4 tbsp).
3. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and basil and quickly pulse to incorporate.
Makes 1/2 cup. Can be frozen (try it in ice cube trays!).