Ever have to reduce the size of a photo so much – you’re not sure you even want to use the weird blurry thing that comes out anymore? We’re still working out the bugs on this new blog and wondering what are the benefits of WordPress on pretty much a daily basis… especially when it comes to photos. So we apologize that this photo just doesn’t do this pizza justice. We ask that you don’t take it out on the pizza. It did it’s job well and deserved better than this.
We’ve been wanting to post this recipe for awhile now but there have been some things that have gotten in the way… like trying to find jackfruit in New York City to begin with. We’d track some down in an Asian market to only find it packed in a can full of syrup. “Jerkfruit” as we’ve come to call it was a elusive unicorn in our lives till we just gave in and ordered a bunch from Amazon.
Since then, we’ve been a little jackfruit crazy around here. We’ve been all hopped up on tacos, “tuna” melts and all types of “meaty” meals made with jackfruit replacing the animals… we’ve come to feel pretty comfortable with this ingredient that in many ways is similar to artichoke hearts yet different enough to justify hunting it down.
In this post, we paired a spicy Jamaican jerk seasoned jackfruit with a smoky almond “cheese” that I used to make back in the days before you could actually buy vegan cheese in stores. Some of you who knew me when I lived in Olympia and Atlanta might remember this “cheese” from the vegan-rella sticks I used to make for special occasions like the 90201 (the original*) series finale or Tuesday*. I will admit that I made the batch of almond cheese in this photo while simultaneously trying to entertain our new daughter and watching Supernatural reruns and didn’t follow my own instructions. Almonds are harder than cashews so they have to be ground up for longer in the food processor to make creamy. You can’t be impatient (like me) and just blend ’em till they’re a paste. For the best results, you need to blend them for 4-5 minutes until they’re downright creamy with a light grit due to the almond “skin.” Altogether – not counting the soaking of your almonds overnight – this cheese recipe should take you about 10 minutes to make. You can also of course just make this pizza with some shredded Daiya or Follow Your Heart because after searching the world for jackfruit – you’re now exhausted. We’d support that as well.
This recipe represents the spirit of never giving up! Despite all the odds being against us. We procured jackfruit. Made a batch of almond cheese. Put them together into this awesome pizza AND baked it. THEN we ate the pizza and played with our new baby. It’s a modern day hero’s tale***.
Jerk Jackfruit & Pineapple Pizza with Smoky Almond Cheese
1 Whole Wheat Pizza Crust (you can use a vegan premade crust or use this recipe)
1 Batch Smoky Almond Cheese (see recipe below)
1 20oz can Jackfruit in Brine, drained and pulled apart into small chunks
1 large Roma Tomato, diced
1 Large Red Onion, diced
1 7oz can Tomato Paste
2 dashes Liquid Smoke
2 Tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids or Soy Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Jerk Seasoning in Oil (add more if you like it spicier – we recommend using the Trader Joe’s Brand)
2/3 cup Pineapple Chunks in Juice
Cornmeal to dust your pizza stone or pan
Chopped Fresh Cilantro to sprinkle over the top
Make your Smoky Almond Cheese following the instructions below first.
Heat oven following instructions in your recipe or on your package of pre-made crust. It will probably be around 425. Prepare your crust following the instructions in the recipe or package and move to a cornmeal dusted pan or stone.
In a deep skillet, mix your jackfruit, tomato, onion, tomato paste, liquid smoke, Braggs, paprika and jerk seasoning. Heat over a medium heat and cook while gently mixing and turning with a large spoon to keep your tomato paste from sticking. Once your jackfruit, onion and tomato are tender and your mix begins to bubble, remove from heat.
Spread your jackfruit mix over your pizza crust leaving a 1/2 inch around the outside open. Place your pineapple chunks on your pizza – gently press into your jackfruit a little. Don’t worry about the pineapple juice, the sweetness it’ll add will actually be really good with the spicy jerk flavors.
Use a large soup spoon to place little chunks of Smoky Almond Cheese all over your pizza.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until your crust is a golden brown, your pineapple has roasted edges and your cheese is a little crispy.
Cut into slices and serve hot with some fresh cilantro sprinkled over the top.
Smoky Almond Cheese****
3/4 cup Raw Almonds
1 cup Soy milk or Almond Milk (it’s creamy with soy milk)
3/4 cup Water, boiling
3 Tablespoons Tapioca Flour
3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1/4 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/2 teaspoons Sea Salt
1 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons White Wine
3 teaspoons Olive Oil
Soak your almonds in warm water for 24 hours.
After your almonds have soaked, toss all your ingredients into a food processor or fancy blender and puree until creamy. Our food processor takes about 4-5 minutes. Like I said in the intro – don’t be impatient though. You’ll be glad you did. Even if your food processor is super loud and makes it so you can’t hear plot points about hunting monsters on your favorite TV show or you’re worried it will make your normally cheerful baby freak out.
Once your mix is blended, pour it into a deep saucepan and heat over a medium heat while stirring constantly to keep your cheese from sticking to the sides. Once your mix begins to thicken, reduce heat to a simmer.
It will look a lot like oatmeal at first but will eventually thicken into a type of smooth paste.
Now you can put this in a bowl and put it in the fridge to cool. Then slice it and enjoy it with crackers or on a sandwich. Or you can drop it on a pizza and bake it or mix it in with pasta or top a lasagna. Really the world is now your vegan cheese wonderland.
Soon I’m going to post the recipe for the vegan-rella sticks I used to make in my youth – since I now know you all aren’t afraid of tapioca flour! HOW EXCITING!
* Stupid Online Quiz! You’re the worst. I’m so not a Brenda. You’re a Brenda Online Quiz!
** For most of my college life I worked multiple jobs – projectionist at a movie theatre and bartender primarily. Thus Tuesday night was usually the beginning of my weekend. Tuesday is still my special night though. We watch Face Off and order take out and it’s pretty much the best.
*** Of course, we are kinda joking. There are real heroes all over the world right now standing up to oppression and injustice, risking and losing their lives to expose what is happening in places where people are being hurt and killed, or just choosing to give their time and money to help others. A kind-hearted pizza recipe probably won’t make you a hero… except to those dairy cows and other animals who you won’t be eating.
**** Some of you will probably recognize that the seasoning of this cheese sauce is familiar to what we do in our Mac and Cheese and Fondue recipes. Not sure what to say about that except – yep – that’s how we like our vegan cheese around here. It’s freaking good.