All your vegan pizza dreams came true with this meatball pizza. Tempeh meatballs, tofu ricotta (or vegan cheese of your choice), and veggies bake up into pizza perfection atop a homemade spelt pizza crust. Take it over the top by serving it with my Green Goddess Ranch Dip.
Recently, a number of high profile (high profile on social media channels, at least) vegans have come out and confessed that they have had to go back to eating animal products because years of veganism had made them sick. Bonny Rebecca, Rawvana, and most recently, Raw Alignment have all published videos outlining why they are no longer vegan. Now, I’m not a health professional, but what I have observed in many of the popular vegan YouTubers is an incredibly restrictive diet lacking in protein, fat (particularly omega-3 essential fatty acids), and numerous important micronutrients like iron and vitamin B12. It bothers me that people with such influence have been so irresponsible for so long, and profited handsomely off of spreading misinformation to millions of followers. By the looks of what they were eating (or not eating, in the example of Rawvana, who went on a 25-day water fast at one point), their behaviours were those of people with restrictive eating disorders, and can’t be blamed on the vegan diet. They were not eating a balanced vegan diet, and years of engaging in these restrictive habits will eventually catch up to anyone, vegan or not. (I don’t know how many of you know about Mic the Vegan, but he has skillfully dissected many ex-vegans’ claims using scientific evidence. I’d encourage you to check him out if you’re curious about digging deeper into the facts.)
I try to have compassion for everyone, and I would never judge a person because they weren’t vegan. That isn’t my point at all. My point is that a balanced vegan diet that incorporates plenty of healthy fat, protein, carbohydrates, and micronutrients should be maintainable for life. Some people choose to go back to eating animal products for various reasons, but if you’re doing veganism properly, health shouldn’t be one of them.
My food philosophy echoes Michael Pollan’s well-known adage: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” I think food has become really over-complicated in the digital age, with the next fad right around the corner, and it’s been made worse by influencers on social media such as the ones I just discussed who have only cursory knowledge of nutrition but proclaim themselves as experts.
This meatball pizza recipe is a celebration of enjoying a balanced vegan diet. It isn’t raw. There’s both tofu and tempeh on it (I know, soy, gasp!). It isn’t green (although the Green Goddess Ranch sauce just happens to be green, heh heh). You’ll probably go back for seconds and thirds. You’ll enjoy this with some beer. And that’s okay! That’s healthy. Enjoying an abundance of foods–both “clean” and not– is what will allow you to sustain veganism for years to come, if you decide that it works for you and aligns with your health, ethical, and environmental values.
Vegan Meatball Pizza with Green Goddess Ranch Dip
- 1 batch Easy as Pie Spelt Pizza Dough* (see instructions for recipe link)
- 1 batch Tempeh Meatballs, made into 24 small meatballs* (see instructions for recipe link)
- 1/2 batch Tofu Ricotta (recipe follows)
- 1-1 1/2 cups pizza sauce
- 1 small red onion
- 10 medium cremini mushrooms
- 1 454 g package firm or extra-firm tofu (organic and non-GMO, please)
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil 1
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp mellow white or chickpea miso
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2-1 tsp fine sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Green Goddess Ranch Dip
- 1/2 a medium ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped out
- 1/2 cup hemp hearts
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, stems removed, chopped
- Prepare the Easy as Pie Spelt Pizza Dough according to the instructions.
- Prepare the Tempeh Meatballs according to the instructions, but form into 24 small balls as opposed to the 12 larger balls indicated in the original recipe.
- While the dough is rising and the meatballs are baking, make the tofu ricotta. Combine all ingredients together in a food process and blend until very smooth and creamy. Add more salt, lemon juice, or nutritional yeast to taste.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F if you will be using a pizza stone, or 450 degrees F if you will be using a metal sheet. If you will be using a pizza stone or other stoneware, put it into the oven to preheat now.
- Peel and thinly slice the red onion. Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth and thinly slice those, too. If you do not like mushrooms, you may substitute a thinly sliced red bell pepper.
- Once the dough is ready and you have divided it in two and rolled out a round of dough, transfer it to a sheet of parchment paper that fits your pan. Lightly brush the edges of the pizza dough with some extra-virgin olive oil- this helps the crust brown and crisp up as it bakes. Spread 1/2 to 3/4 cup of pizza sauce on it, followed by 12 of the meatballs and half of the onions and mushrooms. Dollop on half of the tofu ricotta (you can also use your desired amount of your favourite vegan cheese, such as cashew cheese, if you do not feel like the tofu ricotta). If you have leftover nut Parmesan from making the tempeh meatballs, you may sprinkle that on top.
- Repeat this step with the second round of pizza dough. If you have two pizza stones or pans, you can bake the pizzas at the same time. Transfer each unbaked pizza to a pre-heated stone and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are nicely browned and the tofu ricotta has turned golden and appears to have crisped up.
- While the pizza is baking, make the Green Goddess Ranch dip. Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
- Remove the pizza from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving with a generous amount of Green Goddess Ranch Dip (that stuff is addictive!). And beer. Don’t forget the craft beer.
Thank you for sticking with me through this rather long post! It was something I felt I needed to get off of my chest. I’d love to hear your thoughts on veganism/ex-veganism and/or this pizza!