Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Vegan Mini Pizzas...35 calories?!

Pin It Yes this is a vegan recipe, but no I am not vegan by any means.  I do, however, think it is important to cut down on our red meat (primarily beef) consumption.  Without going into a lot of details, the hamburgers, steaks, and roasts we all know and love are not exactly friendly to Mother Earth...nor our own health for that matter.  I'm not saying you need to cut it out of your diet entirely, but do a little research on what America's beef consumption is doing to the planet and your health.  You might be surprised...Where should I get my protein then you might ask?  Well if you have the option venison is a great option because it is both a sustainable food (better for our planet) and its much leaner than the beef you buy at the store.  Chicken and turkey are also leaner than beef, but they are not as sustainable as something like venison.  Fish is also a better option.  Plus it is much healthier than beef due to the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. 

Here's me and my dad with my first deer!  I was so excited!  But if you don't have the option of going hunting to get your own deer, ask around to your friends and neighbors to see if they hunt.  A lot of hunters hunt for sport and not for the meat, so after they shoot a deer they just give the meat away to whoever wants it.  

One easy way to do you part in saving the earth is to participate in the new trend called Meatless Mondays.  This means that every Monday (or even any other day of the week) you eat only non-meat sources of protein like TVP (textured vegetable protein), soy products (tofu), tempeh, beans, lentils, quinoa...the possibilities are endless!  If you have any questions about non-meat sources of protein feel free to leave a comment here on my post. 

Here's a list of recipes I've made with non-meat protein options:

Guacamole Soup
Lentil Fajitas
Quinoa Stir Fry (Leave out the chicken!)
Southwestern Spaghetti Squash (Try adding tofu or TVP)
Spicy Kale Lentil Tacos
Tofu Stir Fry
Veggie Pizza (Different way of doing a meatless pizza)
*Note: These are not all vegan.

P.S. I am in no way an expert on the topic of sustainable foods or even nutrition for that matter, so take everything I say/suggest with a grain of salt and do your own research to find out more.  This past year I helped organize a National Food Day Photo Campaign at my school, so I do have a little background in sustainable food education.   I am also happy to do some researching of my own if you have any questions.  Answering your nutrition questions is one of my favorite things to do! 

To the right is a picture of my roommate and I at the National Food Day Photo Campaign.  It was a huge success!

Olive oil cooking spray
1 medium Eggplant
1/2 cup TVP (Textured vegetable protein)
1/2-1 tsp Pizza seasoning
1 tbsp Nutritional yeast*

*This is something new I tried when making this recipe.  I bought it in the bulk food section at our local co-op, so it was much cheaper than the normal stuff you can buy at the grocery store.  If you don't want to try it or can't find it, you can either omit it or sub a small amount of cheese.  For those of you who don't even know what it is, it looks flakey, has a yellowish color, and has sort of a "nutty cheesy" flavor.  A lot of vegans use it as a substitute for cheese and as a way to get vitamin B12 which is missing from plant foods.  Plus, as it's name suggests it is pack with nutrition especially B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein!  I dare you to try it!

1. Preheat your oven to 425 F degrees.
2. Slice the eggplant into about 1/2 inch slices.
3. Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil for an easy clean up and spread out the eggplant slices.
4. Spray the top of the eggplant with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle with pizza seasoning.
5. Bake for a total of about 30 minutes (make sure they don't burn) and flip halfway through.
6. While the eggplant is baking mix the TVP with 1 cup of water and 1/2 tsp pizza seasoning in a bowl and let sit until the eggplant is done.
7. Once the eggplant and TVP are ready, mix the TVP and pizza sauce together and top each mini pizza base.  I didn't use all the sauce at first, but I  used more on the side later.  You can decide how much you use depending on your own personal preference.
9. Sprinkle each pizza with nutritional yeast.
10.  Bake for another 4-5 minutes.
11. Enjoy!
Makes about 10 mini pizzas.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 35
Total Fat: 0.1 g
     Sat. Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 168.3mg
Total Carbs: 5.6 g
     Dietary Fiber: 3.2 g
     Sugars: 2.7 g
Protein: 2.9 g
Vitamin A: 2.4 %
Vitamin C: 4.1 %
Calcium: 1.2 %
Iron: 1.8 %

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