Let's admit, everyone loves a good pizza! It's the ultimate American comfort food, a staple found in almost every home. And with good reason; it's DELICIOUS!
However, with most pizzas found in the US comes a decadence that our bellies just can't tolerate. The mounds of cheese, processed meats, thick and rich bread; we're pretty much asking for a ticket to seldom move our bodies for the rest of the day. Ever pick up a slice and somewhat wince after seeing the pool of grease and cheese already beginning to fill that empty portion of the box? It's from those ingredients we can say hello to bloating, fatigue, indigestion, heart burn, etc. etc.
It's no surprise that a plant-based way of living far exceeds the benefits (both mentally, physically, and spiritually) compared to the meat and processed food heavy Standard American Diet. There's a reason it's acronym is literally SAD! With plants on the forefront, one feels much lighter on their feet; they have a pep in their step that allows them to keep on with their day despite the meal they just ate.
So how does one still indulge in a beloved comfort food, yet still have their sense of wellbeing in mind?
Enter: Create your own pizza! Yup, it's that simple.
It's amazingly easy. Ingredients can be found at most grocery stores, and it will be that much more satisfying knowing that you allowed your creativity to flow to devise your own flavor combination! Trader Joe's is one of my favorite places to shop at to find more 'pre-packaged,' yet still relatively healthy ingredients when you're short on time and just want to EAT!
Disclosure: Though I am fully aware that some of these ingredients are more processed, this recipe was designed for those days where you want to make something quick and easy, but still want to maintain your health routine (vegan, plant-based, more health-conscious-- you get the idea).
Now, pizza time.
What makes this recipe a little more jazzed up than your traditional red sauce pie?
Eggplant garlic spread by TJ's! This stuff is the bomb, guys. With basically all ingredients coming from vegetables and only 1g sugar per serving, its a great and interesting alternative!
For the crust, I used a frozen gluten free flatbread made by Glutenfreeda. This one also comes highly recommended, as one flatbread provides 220 cal, 8g protein, 6g fiber, 0g sugar! (Much better than most empty-calorie gluten free products).
Plant-Based Sausage, Mushroom, & Arugula Flatbread w/ Roasted Eggplant Spread
1 gluten free pizza crust (I used GlutenFreeda Artisan Flatbread)
2-3 Tbsp Trader Joe's Eggplant Garlic Spread
Trader Joe's Sausage-less Spicy Italian Sausage (3/4 of link or so for topping pizza)
1/4 C. vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya Brand)
2-3 brown mushrooms
2-3 tsp olive oil to sauté
handful of arugula
crushed red pepper flakes
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 F°. Take out a pizza or baking sheet, and place crust onto sheet to allow for it to thaw while you prep everything else.
In the meantime, begin to prepare your veggies. Although I only used maybe 2-3 mushrooms as a topping on the pizza, I find it's much easier (and efficient for healthy left overs!) if you just sauté a whole box of mushrooms. Wash and slice the mushrooms. In a sauce pan, heat 1-2 tsp of olive oil on medium, then toss mushrooms into pan. Allow mushrooms to cook and soften, stirring occasionally for 6-8 minutes.
In another sauce pan, pour in 1 tsp olive oil and heat to medium. Cut sausage links into 1/2 inch slices and sauté until both sides begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes.
Meanwhile, spread eggplant mixture evenly onto pizza crust. Top pizza with mushrooms, sausage, and then sprinkle cheese on top. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are nice and golden.
Take pizza out of oven, and garnish with arugula and crushed red pepper flakes.