I’ve always had a weak spot for pizza. When I was younger, that meant pizza with tons and tons of cheese. In my twenties as I started to eat healthier, and then in my thirties as I started phasing dairy out of my diet, I would order tomato pie, which is basically a crust and sauce without cheese. Nice for a carb fix and all, but kind of boring for a serious pizza lover. But I was never a big fan of store bought vegan cheese, so what other options were there?
Eventually I realized there were lots of options. A pizza crust is basically a vehicle for whatever you want. As long as you’ve got a nice saucy base and plenty of flavor, you’re good.
So I started throwing all kinds of things on pizza, sans cheese, and it turns out they were all delicious. (Hummus pizza, anyone?)
While Indian food might not be a traditional pizza topper, is a perfect fit.
Chilli paneer was always one of my favorite Indian restaurant dishes. If you’re not familiar, it’s basically cheese slices served in a really spicy tomato sauce with peppers and onions, and if you’re lucky it’s served on a sizzling platter. I love it so much I went and made a vegan version a while back using tofu in place of cheese. This time around I decided to try adding the spicy sauce to some chickpeas. As it turns out, super spicy chickpeas and pizza are a match made in heaven. I topped everything off with a drizzle of tahini, which may not fit with conventional Indian food or pizza, but trust me, it’s delicious.
A quick word to the wise: like I mentioned above, this one is spicy! I went all out in an attempt to make the sauce taste as close as possible to the stuff I’ve gotten while dining out. If you’re sensitive to heat, this might not be the pizza for you, and if you’re not sure how you’ll tolerate the heat, just decrease the amount of sriracha and cayenne pepper in the recipe, perhaps starting with a tiny bit of each and adding in increments. You could also serve this pizza up with some plain yogurt (dairy-free if you’re vegan), or cashew cream to help quell the fire.
This recipe will give you a very spicy pizza. If you'd like a milder version, start with just a teaspoon of sriracha sauce and no cayenne pepper. Taste test and add a bit of each until you're happy with the heat level.
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