Pizza with olive paste, caramelized onions and tofu feta

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In this week's plant based cooking challenge week 10 we had six choices as usual for ingredients. The sweet side and the savory. I tend to lean toward savory most of the time because I don't have much of a sweet tooth most of the time.

When I saw olives and onions I immediately when to the middle east. I remembered a Lebanese take out place years ago where there were the usual shawarmas, falafels and they had pizzas and flatbreads that were different from the usual ones.

Today I made a pizza in a pan on top of the stove. My oven has a broken bottom element so I used the broiler just at the end. It worked fine. No need for a pizza oven.

The base sauce was an olive paste.

Olive paste

1 can or jar of kalamata olives pitted
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup walnuts
Juice of a lemon or more
4 cloves garlic
olive oil (enough to turn the blender and make a paste)

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These olives were salty so there was no need for added salt.

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You could use any nuts or tahini or any nut butter. I had these things in the cupboard so I used them. It would be a fine paste if it were nut free as well.

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I like lemon juice in this but if you are not a fan you can just use water or more oil to grind into a paste.

Add to a blender or food processor and make a smooth paste. I ground up the nuts first into a powder so there wouldn't be any crunchy lumps.

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I added some Lebanese seasoning mix called zaatar which can be purchased already mixed but it's easy to make if you can get the ingredients. A friend of mine went to Lebanon and brought a jar back for me. I didn't hear of it before but I really loved it. Then I figured out that I could just make it myself instead of waiting for another souvenir from Lebanon.

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There are different variations of this but this is the basic mix with added cumin. There are also different ratios to this but I did what I like and added the amounts that I wanted of each item.

Zaatar mix

2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons thyme
2 tablespoons marjoram
1/4 cup sumac
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
pinch of cumin powder
pinch of coriander powder

Most recipes call for less sumac and seeds but that is what I love the most so I just add more to suit my taste.

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Another topping was tofu which I ground up to simulate feta cheese by simply marinating in lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and nutritional yeast. Let it sit for the time it takes to make the dough.

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The toppings for the pizza were all cooked separately since I would not be baking the pizza.

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The final ingredient was caramelized onions which were done with oil in a pan and deglazed with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

For the dough, I wanted it kept as soft as possible so I started with 1 and a half cup of warm water, 1 and 1/4 teaspoon yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and let it sit in a warm spot to bubble. I just put a pan of hot water in the oven and keep it in there.

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After it bubbled I added flour not measuring but just enough so I could form a dough that I could work with. I oiled it and put it in my makeshift oven proofer to rise.

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I used all purpose flour for the dough but when I needed flour to roll it out on the board, I didn't have any more so I used whole wheat.

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On medium high heat I added the pizza which made two pan sized ones. I left it for a few minutes or so then flipped it back and forth covering each time in between.

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At the end I uncovered it and flipped it until it was obviously cooked inside.

I suppose flatbreads are made this way, rotis, naan and such but this really had a pizza quality which I was surprised about.

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It was then time to top it starting with the olive paste, the onion, the tofu which was cooked in a pan first, then some extra zaatar mix on top.

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Because my top element on the oven works, I finished it off under a high heat for a few minutes to get an extra toasted top. This is not important if you don't have an oven. Everything is precooked first anyway.

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To feel less guilty for eating pizza, I accompanied with salad. The only problem is that after two pieces of pizza and salad I couldn't eat anymore. The real problem was that there was no pizza left over when I wanted a late night snack. Marc ate it all!

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Wishing you all peace and thank you for stopping by.

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