We hosted survived my son’s 9th birthday party last weekend ☺️. His birthday is January 3rd (which typically happens to fall during the school break for the holidays) so we are used to doing a celebration for him in mid-to-late January. For the past couple years we’ve been having the kids’ birthday parties at an indoor playground or party room at the YMCA, but this year we decided it would be more memorable if the kids were allowed to invite two or three of their closest friends and have them for a birthday sleepover. Clearly, we did not consider how memorable a sleepover with five boys would be for mom and dad, lol. All the chaos aside, it went pretty well. The kids ate dinner, enjoyed cake, watched The Emoji Movie, slept (somewhat), ate breakfast together and had more than their monthly quota of video game time in just one day.
In previous years – as recent as last year’s birthday party – whenever we hosted a birthday party at our house we would order pizza from our neighbourhood pizza shop. This year we decided to have a ‘make your own’ pizza night which would allow the kids to have fun and (selfishly) ensure the integrity of our vegan pizza 😊. Janik made from-scratch pizza dough (courtesy of our Thermomix Cookbook) and half-baked the crusts ahead of the kids’ arrival so it would be easy for the kids to add their toppings and throw back in the oven for a few minutes to cook. The smorgasbord of ‘topping fare’ included bowl of Earth Island®/Follow Your Heart® cheese shreds, tomato sauce, vegan parmesan cheese, tofu pepperoni, sliced sweet bell peppers, mushrooms and chili peppers. The kids had a blast arranging their personal pizzas, and not one child asked “where’s the sausage or bacon?” Janik and I could easily have joined the “kiddo table” and dressed our pizza crust – which was the original plan — but the food blogger in me could only think what new pizza could I could sneak into the mix. I grabbed two pizza crusts from the prep table and started to whip up an “adult” pizza…
I was craving a pesto pizza, but didn’t have any basil on hand. I had just picked up a jar of oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes the weekend prior that was collecting dust (I typically buy with serious intent which means I’ll normally use an ingredient within a week or so of buying it, lol). Then it clicked. Tonight was going to be Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pizza. Blitzing together raw almonds, fresh garlic and olive oil paired with sun-dried tomatoes in my Thermomix would be simple and fast…there was no reason I couldn’t have our pizzas ready in under 15 minutes. This recipe calls for oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes but the dry-packed variety could also work (I prefer the oil variety myself, especially since the oil is so full of flavour and can be used for sauces and spreads). Just remember that since sun-dried tomatoes are dried at their peak of ripeness their flavour profile is quite robust – a little bit of these sweet-tart tomatoes go a long way. The combination of sun-dried tomatoes with fresh basil and shaved smoked gouda-style vegan cheese is phenomenal. This recipe is FULL of flavour — you won’t be disappointed. If you’re looking for other inspiration, why not try our VARIETY OF PIZZA’S: Tomato-Basil Pesto, Rustic Potato, Balsamic Glazed Bruschetta and Three Cheese .
- 1/Make one batch of Homemade Pizza Dough [makes Qty-2 Large (12-inch) crusts or Qty-4 Small (9-inch) crusts]
- 2/Make one batch of our Savoury Parmesan Cheese or store-bought vegan variety
- 3/Preheat oven to 425F
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto:
- 1/2 cup raw, whole almonds (75g)
- 4 Small garlic cloves or 2 Large Red Russian/Elephant garlic cloves, peeled (15g)
- 1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (125g)
- 1/3 cup olive oil (from jar of oil-packed Sun-Dried tomatoes) (50g)
- 1/3 cup olive oil (65g)
- 1/4 cup savoury parmesan cheese (50g)
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
Pizza Assembly (Use amount of each ingredient to your liking):
- Pizza crust
- Olive oil + extra (before baking)
- Dry basil leaves
- Himalayan pink salt
- Daiya® Smoked Gouda-style Cheese Block, shaved
- Savoury Parmesan Cheese
- Fresh basil leaves
- 1/Add raw almonds to your Thermomix mixing bowl. Grind 10 sec/Speed 7. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
- 2/Add garlic cloves and sun-dried tomatoes to the TM Bowl. Chop 8 sec/Speed 6. Once again, use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
- 3/Add olive oil and reserved olive oil (from jar of Sun-Dried Tomatoes), parmesan cheese, and pinch of salt to the TM bowl. Cook 3 min/90C/Speed 1 (Reverse blade). Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to collect the pesto at the base of the bowl.
- 4/Brush olive oil over prepared pizza crust. Add a few pinches of dry basil leaves and Himalayan pink salt. Spread Sun-Dried Tomato Pestoover the crust. Add grated Daiya Smoked-Gouda style cheese (or similar), a generous amount of parmesan cheese and a few fresh basil leaves. Finish by drizzling some olive oil over the toppings. Bake at 450F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
*How to make savoury parmesan cheese: Ingredients
- 3/4 cup cashews, raw (110g)
- 1 tsp hemp seeds, raw and unshelled
- 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp lemon juice, fresh
- 1/Place cashews and hemp seeds in the Thermomix mixing bowl. Grind 7 sec/Speed 7.Note: Be careful not to overgrind.
- 2/Add salt and garlic powder to the TM bowl. Using the Turbo setting (1.0 sec) pulse twice.
- 3/Add lemon juice to the TM bowl. Using the Turbo setting( 0.5 sec) plus three times.Transfer the prepared cheese to a small mixing bowl; set aside.
Note: This recipe was made using a Thermomix appliance; however, it can easily be adapted using similar food prep tools (e.g. multi-function processor, immersion blender etc).