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Tofurky Italian Sausage & Fire-Roasted Veggie Pizza

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Contrary to how it appears, the Tofurky Italian Sausage & Fire-Roasted Veggie Pizza is in fact, vegan.  The frozen pizza is topped with Tofurky meats and Daiya cheese.  I picked this one up at Viva La Vegan market in Santa Monica on our recent visit.  Viva La Vegan is pretty darn awesome – the have an entire vegan pizza section for goodness’ sake.  Without knowing where to begin, I chose a familiar brand and picked out the Tofurky Italian Sausage & Fire-Roasted Veggie Pizza.  It’s got three servings, so it’s about enough for three not too hungry people.

Tofurky Pizza | A Vegan in Progress

I never paid a whole lot of attention to Tofurky packaging before, but I happened to notice that the box says “if you reduce your meat consumption by only 20% (six meatless days a month) the energy saved will be equivalent to switching from driving a sedan car to a hybrid vehicle.”  I love that they include that information for veg-curious buyers.

Tofurky Pizza | A Vegan in Progress

Here’s the bad news: it tasted like any other mediocre frozen pizza.  It was also pretty small for the price.

The good news: it is really nice to have a convenient frozen pizza for when everyone else is chowing down on the cheesy kind.  It’s also great that you don’t have to go meatless and cheeseless or made from scratch to get a vegan pizza at home.

I’m likely to try a different brand next time, though because this tasted utterly machine made and boxed (especially with the very evenly diced vegetables topping it.

Tofurky Pizza | A Vegan in Progress

 

 

Vegan at BJ’s Brewhouse

I so appreciate the work that other vegan bloggers have put into researching vegan foods at chain restaurants.  Eric and I went to lunch with out of town family and his great grandmother had her heart set on ribs from BJ’s Brewhouse, so I checked out Quarrygirl for a rundown of vegan options.  Luckily, their pizza crust and marinara sauce are vegan, so I just had to choose a pizza and ask for no cheese or meat.  I went with the Mediterranean mini pizza with deep dish crust.  I asked for no chicken, no cheese, and marinara sauce instead of pesto (thinking it may have cheese in it).  The Mediterranean pizza comes with roasted garlic, Kalamata olives, sun-dried and seasoned tomatoes, and sliced peperoncinis.

Mediterranean Pizza - BJ's Brewhouse | A Vegan in Progress

Mediterranean Pizza

I think there may have been some confusion about the sauce request.  The waiter brought my pizza with a side of marinara sauce.  As you can see in the above picture, there”s just a brushing of marinara sauce and, therefore, the toppings didn’t stay on the pizza in the least.

Everything tasted really great and I ended up dipping the crust in the extra marinara sauce, but it was pretty annoying to have to scoop up the toppings and eat them off of my fork.  I don’t think I would go out of my way to eat there again, but Eric likes their food a lot and it’s nice to know that this opens up our dining options.

Vegan Recipe – Super Simple Mini Pizzas

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I was home for dinner on my own one night recently and wasn’t in the mood to cook much.  I looked through the pantry and finally settled on mini pizzas made on pita bread.  This is no ordinary pita bread.  It’s super thick and soft.  I buy it at the Sherman Oaks Farmers Market from the Brothers booth.  They sell also awesome hummus and garlic spreads as well as stuffed grape leaves.

Super Simple Mini Pizzas | A Vegan in Progress

INGREDIENTS:

  • Soft, thick pita bread
  • Daiya vegan mozzzarella cheese
  • Marinara sauce (or any vegan pasta sauce)
  • Toppings of your choice (I used sundried tomatoes and olives)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat the oven to 375
  • Spread sauce thinly over the pita (be careful not to get it too close to the edges)
  • Sprinkle Daiya cheese all over the top, but don’t cover every bit of the sauce like I did… this was too thick – let a little sauce peak through
  • Sprinkle toppings to your taste
  • Cook for about 20 minutes
  • Watch for the Daiya cheese to melt, that’s all you’re really waiting for since none of the raw ingredients will make you sick.  Just keep in mind that non-dairy cheese doesn’t melt exactly the same as traditional cheese, and you don’t want to overcook it.

These mini-pizzas came out great.  The pita bread, which started out incredibly fluffy and thick, became a little thinner and stiffer – much more crust-like.  I loved it and will make it again when I’m fending for myself for dinner or Eric and I are each making our own meals (he wouldn’t like this much).  The leftovers also held up surprisingly well.

Super Simple Mini Pizzas | A Vegan in Progress

Vegan at Tomato Joe’s Pizza, Valencia

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My sister Alli and I were sort of in the area for another visit to Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Acres, so I looked up a few places for good vegan food on our way home.  We decided on pizza after seeing that Tomato Joe’s Pizza in Valencia offered gluten-free crust (Alli’s preference) and vegan mozzarella cheese.

Here’s what I got:

Tomato Joe's, Valencia | A Vegan in Progress

My pizza from Tomato Joe’s

I ordered a whole wheat crust (only available in 14″ or larger) with vine ripened tomato sauce, artichoke hearts, black olives, and sun dried tomatoes with vegan mozzarella cheese.  I thought it was really good, but I still prefer Cruzer’s.

Alli ordered a pizza with the only crust they offer for an 8″ personal pizza, the thin crust.

Tomato Joe's, Valencia | A Vegan in Progress

Alli’s pizza from Tomato Joe’s

She got the bar-b-que sauce with onions and artichoke hearts.

Their menu offers a variety of items, not just pizza, but the only vegan non-pizza options are salads.  Their fresh garden salad without croutons and with balsamic dressing is vegan, as is their greek salad without cheese or croutons, but this would also have to be with balsamic dressing since it is the only vegan choice.

They have many specialty pizzas, but it’s simpler just to design your own pizza with all vegan ingredients.  Choices are as follows:

1.  CRUST

  • Thin crust
  • Beer batter crust
  • Whole wheat crust
  • Gluten-free crust (made with rice and potato flours), additional charge

2.  SAUCE

  • Vine ripened tomato sauce
  • Creamy dijon sauce
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Bar-b-que sauce
  • Chipotle pesto sauce (I will definitely be trying this one next time!)

3.  TOPPINGS

  • Artichoke hearts
  • Fresh spinach
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Roasted garlic
  • Green peppers
  • Jalapenos
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Olives (black, kalamata, spanish green)
  • Pepperoncini
  • Pineapple
  • Red onions
  • Tomatoes (fresh and sun dried)
  • Fresh mushrooms
  • Cashews
  • Almond slivers
  • Canned mushrooms
  • Vegan italian sausage, additional charge
  • Vegan pepperoni, additional charge
  • Vegan chicken, additional charge
  • Vegan mozzarella, additional charge

Prices are as follows:

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Their website suggests asking for a multi-topping discount if you order 3 or more, since the cost adds up quickly.

The company has made an effort to convey a kooky and friendly atmosphere, as evidenced by their sales pitch on the website:

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I will likely go there again for the rare vegan pizza with vegan cheese as opposed to the standard cheeseless pizza from Papa John’s.

Vegan at California Pizza Kitchen

I have categorized this post both under dining out and dual dining because California Pizza Kitchen is a great place for vegans and omnivores to eat in mixed company.

My mom works as a preschool teacher and some of the parents gave her generous gifts this holiday season.  She invited my sister and me to have lunch with her at California Pizza Kitchen, courtesy of a gift card from a parent.  We researched ahead of time and saw that on the menu page of their website, they have a special menu for vegetarians and vegans (I have attached the PDF here: CPK_vegetarian_and_vegan_menu).  Here’s a summary of their offerings:

Pizzas:  Thin crust only with pizza marinara, vegetarian black bean, and spicy marinara sauce only.  Ask for any thin crust pizza with one of those sauces without any meats or cheeses.  The California Veggie is already vegan (with minor modification).

Pastas:  Avoid multigrain penne, tomato basil sauce is the only vegan one that they offer.  Ask for any of the pastas with tomato basil sauce without any meats or cheeses.  Tomato Basil Spaghettini is already vegan (with minor modification).

Salads:  Any salad with fat-free balsamic, lemon herb vinaigrette, or hoisin ginger vinaigrette dressing is vegan as long as you ask for it without any meats or cheeses.  Chinese Chicken (no chicken or wontons), Field Greens (no Dijon balsamic or candied walnuts), Quinoa and Arugula (no cheese or Champagne vinaigrette), and Roasted Veggie (no Dijon balsamic) are already vegan (with minor modifications).

Appetizers and Sides:  The following are the only vegan options… asparagus and arugula salad (no cheese), white corn guacamole and chips, lettuce wraps (ask for only Chinese vegetables), Tuscan hummus (ask for thin crust instead of pita bread).

Soups:  Currently, the only vegan soup is the Dakota smashed pea and barley soup.

Sandwiches:  Currently, there are no vegan options available for sandwiches.

Desserts:  Currently, there are no vegan options available for desserts.

To start, we ordered the white corn guacamole and chips.  I didn’t try the corn guacamole (I believe I may be allergic to avocado), but my mom and sister thought it was good, but a little bland.  The chips were tasty, but it was a very small appetizer for the price.

CPK - guac and chips | A Vegan in Progress

We ordered the California Veggie pizza on thin crust with spicy marinara sauce, although the pizza came out of the kitchen with regular marinara.  It was very tasty.  I don’t usually like thin crust pizzas, but this was a winner and not hard at all.  It comes with “baby broccoli, eggplant, corn, red onions, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, Mozzarella and tomato sauce,” so we asked for no cheese and got the traditionally original crust pizza on thin crust instead.

CPK - veggie pizza | A Vegan in Progress

We also got the Roasted Veggie salad.  The website says it includes, “warm artichoke hearts, asparagus, eggplant, red and yellow peppers, corn and sun-dried tomatoes served over cool Romaine, avocado and housemade Dijon balsamic vinaigrette,” so we ordered it sans Dijon balsamic, with balsamic vinegar instead and the avocado on the side.  This was a really great, light, but flavorful salad.  I would order it again, but I definitely preferred the pizza.  It’s probably what you’re in the mood for if you’re dining at the California Pizza Kitchen anyway.  Please excuse the blurry photo.

CPK - roasted veggie salad | A Vegan in Progress

Overall, CPK offers tasty options for vegans.  While many restaurants just offer meals that are acceptable, these are actually enjoyable.

Cruzer Pizza, Los Angeles & National Vegan Pizza Day

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Yesterday was National Vegan Pizza Day, so my family and I got together for dinner. We were celebrating the 20th birthday of my younger sister, Alli, who has been instrumental in my change to a vegan diet. We went to Cruzer Pizza, which boasts that they are the only 100% Vegan Pizzeria in Los Angeles.

Cruzer Pizza | A Vegan in Progress

They were offering 30% off pizzas for the occasion. It’s a tiny place, really only fitting for pick up of your telephone order, but what they lack in space, they make up for in menu. There was so much to choose from, we really had a difficult time deciding. We ended up getting four pizzas and some delicious Cheese Bread Sticks (seen below).

Vegan Cheese Breadsticks - Cruzer Pizza | A Vegan in Progress

First, the Gourmet Pesto Pizza (pesto sauce, spinach, artichoke, garlic, and Daiya vegan cheese) was really tasty, I liked the thicker crust that we ordered on it as well.

Pesto and Veggie Pizza - Cruzer Pizza | A Vegan in Progress

The Vegetable Pizza that we ordered was my favorite. You can choose up to 6 toppings; we got extra artichoke, olive, onion, green peppers, and garlic. I found that the Daiya cheese was very creamy and more like a delicious cheese sauce than grated and melted cheese.

We also ordered the Hawaiian Pizza (Vegan ham, pineapple, and extra Daiya vegan cheese) and the Meat Pizza (Vegan sausage, pepperoni, and ham). I didn’t try either of those, but my husband, Eric, really enjoyed the Hawaiian. He is not generally a fan of vegan substitutes, but described the vegan meat and vegan cheese as having pretty accurate flavors, without being as strong as the real thing.

Hawaiian and Vegan Meat - Cruzer Pizza | A Vegan in Progress

Ordering out should really be a relatively rare occasion rather than a weekly occurrence, and places like Cruzer give you more of a gourmet experience for a totally reasonable price. I will be ordering Cruzer pizza again, especially knowing that Eric enjoyed it as well!