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Homemade White Pizza with Spinach and Tomatoes

White pizza with broccoli...I had this all the time before I became vegan. It had ricotta and mozzarella cheese and it was so delish. Then I tried Two Boots white pizza (it's called the vegan Larry Tate) and I was astonished at how it took me back to my regular pizza eating days, the days when I ate cheese without thinking about where it came from. I don't deny even today that cheese from cow's milk is good but knowing what I know about its origin doesn't allow me to enjoy it anymore. There is no reason not to enjoy a vegan white pizza when it tastes just as good and is just as easy to make as a non vegan version. So read on for a cruelty free, completely delicious pizza recipe.

You can make this with the ricotta or without, it depends on how involved you want to get with this pizza and of course how much time you have. This week I made this pizza without the ricotta because I concentrated on sweating the onions and garlic. Sweating is a term that is used by cooks which means to slowly heat a veggie in either olive oil or water. Sweating brings out the flavor of the food; onions are a great veggie to sweat because they get flavorful and translucent when they're done. I will, however, give you the tofu ricotta recipe.

Lately, I have not had time for much of anything except my workshops and taking care of kiddies part time and going out with friends. I've also had the blues since returning to the city after Thanksgiving with my family, I was super depressed and super tired and just wanted to eat carbs and veg. I snapped out of it after I went for a 6 mile run this past weekend, then I just started getting happy and realizing how lucky I am to be living in NYC, taking an online cooking class, teaching meditation, running a yoga studio, finding my group of friends...things are just looking up and I only realize this when I stop and focus on it. I'm still tired and just want to sleep and be in my apartment but I'm feeling better.

Tomorrow I'm headed home for Christmas which I'm totally stoked about because I get to see my little niece, my family and my friends. I just want to chill, relax, enjoy the suburbs, come in out of the rain, sleep in, move slowly, run hills in a local park, make healthy Christmas food, love my family, appreciate my life.

I just signed up for the NYC half and FULL marathon through the kids charity which means I agreed to raise $3500 by next October. As in I can't back out. As in my running game needs to be up to par. I still can't wrap my brain around running 26.2 miles, I'm sure it will click once I get to maybe 17 miles but a part of me thinks I'm totally nuts. I need to clean up my eating. No more of this leaning on carbs and sugar. I know what I need to do, I just need to do it. I know that protein, fruit and veggies will fuel me but I'd rather have the cookies and veg out, actually. I'd rather sleep in or blog or watch Wet Hot American Summer on Netflix. But that won't get me closer to my goal of completing the marathon next fall. So, early bedtime, early rise, clean eating, running, yoga and strength training...that is my life in 2016. And I plan on documenting it all here so stayed tuned.

So yeah...that pizza recipe. It's seriously here right now in this post. Before you begin, pick out a whole wheat crust with the least amount of ingredients and all whole ingredients. No preservatives, conditioners etc. Whole Foods has the Engine 2 plant based crust in their freezer section. You get two crusts and they are made with whole wheat flour, maple syrup, yeast and spices. Cornmeal crusts work too but make sure it's non GMO.

To make the vegan ricotta:
1/2 block of silken tofu (you can use firm too)
Juice from 1/2 of a big lemon
3 tbsp of nutritional yeast
2 tsp of sea salt
2 tbsp of non dairy milk

Put everything in your food processor and blend. Add the milk to keep it going. Then taste. Add more lemon juice or sea salt if needed. If you want it to be cheesier, add more nutritional yeast. Set the ricotta aside.

Pizza Ingredients:
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of nutritional yeast
1 small sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
A handful of organic spinach leaves
4 cherry or 1 Roma tomato, sliced
1/2 cup of Daiya (or another brand) mozzarella cheese

Place your crust on a cookie sheet. In a pan, add 2 tbsp of olive oil and heat. When the oil is heated well, add the chopped onion and fresh garlic. Let them sizzle but not brown so turn down the heat. Once the onion is translucent and the garlic smells great, scoop out and place on top of your crust, covering the entire crust. Sprinkle your nutritional yeast on top. If you made it, add a few small spoonfuls of your vegan ricotta to the crust. Then slice up your tomatoes and add them. Sprinkle on your mozzarella cheese and finish with the spinach. Add a little more mozzarella on top of the spinach. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 450 degrees or follow the directions for your crust. Cut with a pizza cutter and serve.

Notes: This is pretty low fat but you can ditch the oil and just spread the ricotta on the crust first and sweat the onions in water and their own juices to place on top of the ricotta. Add more veggies or use different ones. Can't eat soy? Use cashews instead of the tofu for the ricotta or ditch it altogether. Or make it a pizza with red sauce instead of the ricotta.

If you need carbs this holiday season (let's not kid ourselves, we do need carbs) but need a break from fruit, make pizza. Just keep it real over the holidays, real food, real, whole ingredients and even if you overdo it, you will at least be eating food in its natural state. Eat fruit for breakfast. Make a smoothie. Try to balance as much as you can. It's difficult, trust me, I write this blog because I'm NOT perfect, because I want to help people love their body and love that you love carbs. Just make them healthy carbs.

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