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Cornmeal Crust Pizza with Cashew "Gorgonzola" and Escarole

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

Years ago, pre-plant-based, we made a pizza from Gourmet magazine that was quite unusual. That pizza had no red or white sauce. It was on a no-rise cornmeal crust and topped with gorgonzola and mozzarella cheeses along with escarole, red peppers and garlic. And as is typical with the standard American diet, It also used lots of olive oil drizzled everywhere. In this healthier version, I use a cashew-based "gorgonzola cheese" made with kale to give it that swirly green-blue look.

I used Darshana Thacker's gluten-free quick cornmeal pizza crust from the Forks Over Knives website. I do have to say that the dough came out more like pancake batter so if you use that recipe, I would cut the plant milk down to 1/2 cup. Or just use your own favorite pizza crust recipe. The recipe for the toppings makes enough for two 6-inch rounds or one 12-inch round.

Cornmeal Crust Pizza with Cashew "Gorgonzola" and Escarole

1 recipe quick cornmeal crust or use your favorite pizza crust (12-inch or 2 6-inch)

1 recipe "gorgonzola cheese" (below)

1/4 lb escarole, roughly chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips

1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary (1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped)

Make cornmeal crusts as directed in recipe (or pre-bake your own pizza crust until ready to top) and set aside. Remove all but the lowest rack of the oven and raise oven temperature to 500. Dry sauté the escarole in a non-stick pan for 2 minutes until wilted (if no non-stick just use about 1 tablespoon water to prevent sticking) . Add the garlic and continue cooking one minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

Using a teaspoon, drop small dollops of the "gorgonzola cheese" on the prepared crusts. Divide the escarole evenly over the crusts. Lay the red pepper strips across the escarole and sprinkle each pizza with the rosemary. Bake 10 minutes in hot oven. Let cool slightly and slice as desired.

"Gorgonzola Cheese" Recipe

(Note: this recipe requires a high-powered blender to make a smooth "cheese". If using a regular blender, you will need to soak the nuts for several hours before blending).

1 kale leaf, torn from center rib

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried marjoram

2/3 cup raw cashews

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (see Note)

pinch of salt, optional

Put 1/2 cup water, kale leaf, oregano and marjoram in a high-powered blender. Blend on highest speed until smooth. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Rinse out blender. Put cashews, lemon juice, vinegar, and nutritional yeast in blender. Blend on highest speed until smooth. Transfer nut mixture to a separate bowl. Using the tip of a very thin knife (a popsicle stick or chopstick will work too), dip into the kale mixture and then swirl it into the white "cheese" mixture. Repeat several times. This will give it that marbled gorgonzola look (see photo). You will not use all of the "kale water" so you can save it for another use such as mixing into soup. Chill in refrigerator for several hours to thicken. This "cheese" is great served on crackers too.

"Gorgonzola Cheese"

Note: Not familiar with nutritional yeast? Nutritional yeast is a very healthy deactivated yeast packed with B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein. You can find it at Whole Foods or in health and natural food stores. It does not in any way resemble or taste like brewers yeast or bread yeast. It is a yellow flake (use the flake kind not the powder if possible) that dissolves into the food you add it to imparting that cheese-nut flavor. You can find it at Whole Foods, health food stores, or buy it online here.

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