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Pizza, Hold the Tomato, Cheese, and Nuts


Have knives, will travel has been my motto for the past few weeks. I am lucky to have so many great friends in the area that I could stay with during the time when I was homeless... er, kitchen challenged?  Or how about we just say during my gap in housing. I tried to be a good guest by at least making some food for my hosts! This meal was particularly tricky. My friend Tina was craving some good pizza. Tina however is allergic to tomatoes, dairy, and tree nuts! I like me a good challenge, so after brainstorming for a few nights, I came up with a pizza that had a red pepper based sauce and a fake "ricotta" made with tofu.

The fake ricotta was my favorite part of this meal. I was pretty skeptical of the whole thing, but it came out great! Even the people who weren't allergic to cheese were impressed by how good it came out.  It was really easy too, just break up some firm tofu with your fingers, drain out excess water, and add your seasonings.

Roasted red peppers for the sauce.

Into the pot with lots of oil and some onions and garlic.

Red pepper sauce, tofu "ricotta", caramelized onions, and a thin layer of salami. Normally I use a peel and stone to make my pizza, but since I was not in my own kitchen, I had to improvise. This pizza screen actually worked great! I got it for 6 bucks at Homegoods on my way to their apartment.

The tofu actually browned up a little on the tips.

I also made one with shrimp and arugula, but we all agreed it was missing some sort of salty element. An olive tapenade might have been just the thing.

So tasty! Eating these pizzas you wouldn't really know they were specifically made to meet allergy needs.

For the sauce broil 7 red peppers until the skins are black. Place them in a bowl and cover to allow them to steam for about a half hour. Then with your hands remove the skins and seeds and stems. Other than the peppers being really hot, this should be a pretty easy process if the roasting and steaming parts have been done correctly. More info on this process here. Next, simmer about half an onion diced in a good half cup of olive oil. Add salt and pepper. After about 5 minutes, add in a few big cloves of garlic minced and some crushed red pepper flakes. 2 minutes later dump in your roasted red peppers with any acquired juices. Bring this to a simmer for about 15 minutes, then puree the whole thing in a blender. Salt and pepper to taste, and finish with some oregano and balsamic vinegar. If you like that sort of thing.

The "ricotta" was one package of extra firm tofu. Crumble it up with your hands and use paper towels to try and remove as much liquid as possible. Salt and pepper, juice of a lemon, fresh oregano, a small amount of grated onion and garlic, and a few big spoonfuls of plain hummus finish it off. Stir to combine.


Nice work! We make a very similar "ricotta" at home (via Post Punk Kitchen) and use it for a ton of different things - lasagna, stuffed shells, etc. It's really fantastic stuff, and have convinced a number of omnivores that tofu can be good! Thanks for the wonderful post and photos.

I LOVED LOVED LOVED this pizza. Thank you so much for making it for me. We ended up using the extra red pepper sauce with pasta. It has become a favorite in our house now. We are going to try stuff shells with the tofu. You brought italian food back into my life!

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