National Pizza Day

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Today is National Pizza Day and Travis’s latest issues of Highlights magazine had lots of fun topping ideas to help us celebrate the day. It seemed such a shame to choose just one that we made it more of a pizza week, testing out the following over a few days.

Of course we also celebrated by learning a little pizza history (Google the story behind the margherita pizza, for example, for some fun trivia facts).

For all of the following pizzas, we used the premade crust from Banza; the crust is vegan and gets a nice protein boost from chickpea flour! I didn’t bother to measure the quantities of ingredients for any of Highlights’ suggested toppings; just add as much of each as feels right for your family!

Bright and Early: For this breakfast spin, we spooned pesto onto the crust in place of tomato sauce, then sprinkled with a little of our favorite scrambled tofu (1 block of crumbled firm tofu sauteed in oil with 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, and 1 teaspoon turmeric). Sprinkle on a little chopped red bell pepper. After baking according to pizza crust directions, top with avocado slices.

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Tasty Taco: This time we spooned salsa on top of the crust in place of tomato sauce. Layer that with cooked meatless crumbles, a sprinkle of shredded vegan colby jack, and sliced black olives. Bake according to pizza crust directions, then add a little shredded lettuce and a drizzle of non-dairy sour cream before serving.

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Bold Barbecue: Spoon on a little barbecue sauce in place of tomato sauce. Arrange torn slices of vegan Gouda over the sauce, then sprinkle with chopped and cooked Gardein chick’n, thinly sliced red onion, and chopped cilantro. Cook according to pizza crust directions.

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Keen on Green: Leave the pizza crust white and sprinkle with lots of vegan cheddar. Add chopped steamed broccoli florets and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with oregano… or add red pepper flakes if your kids like a little heat!

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The final night was a return to the classic margherita in the colors of the Italian flag: red tomato sauce, white mozzarella, and green fresh basil leaves.

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Which does your family like best? Please share in the comments!

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Santa Hat Pizzas

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Put a Christmas spin on pizza night in the days leading up to the holiday with this quick recipe!

To start, we stretched out a store-bought pizza dough and then cut into triangles with a pizza rolled. Fold up the bottom edge of the triangle to make a cuff.

Next, we spooned tomato sauce over the triangles, leaving the cuffs plain. Add non-dairy cheese along the cuff for Santa’s white trim. We used vegan feta, but next time I would probably dollop on crumbled tofu instead for a fluffier look!

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Bake at 430 degrees F for 8 minutes, or until the crust just starts to brown. This made pizza night a ho-ho-holiday treat.

Creamy Spinach Pita Pizza

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A creamy spinach sauce takes the place of tomato sauce in this recipe, which is perfect for the next time you need a novel spin on pizza night.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4 tablespoons plain non-dairy milk
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach, finely chopped
  • 2 whole-wheat pitas
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 2 tablespoons shredded vegan Parmesan
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the flour, then add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring to combine.
  3. Add the spinach and cook for about 2 minutes, just until wilted.
  4. To prepare the pizzas, spread each pita with about 1/3 cup spinach mixture. Top evenly with the tomato slices and sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan.
  5. Broil for 2 minutes, checking to make sure the pitas don’t burn. Cut into wedges to serve.

Barbecue Chick’n Pizza

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This recipe makes for a loaded pizza topping! Marinara sauce is spiked with barbecue sauce for a zesty update over standard pizza night.


  • 1 pizza crust (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 1 (10-ounce) package Gardein chick’n strips, cooked and chopped
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 3/4 cup shredded vegan cheddar
  • 3/4 cup shredded vegan mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  1. Place your pizza crust on a baking sheet; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the marinara and barbecue sauce and spread evenly over the pizza crust.
  3. Top evenly with the cooked chick’n, red onion, and cheese.
  4. Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro before cutting into slices to serve.

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Treasure-Map Pizza

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This pizza was so fun to put together, complete with a tropical island background, an X-marks-the-spot, and golden treasure! You can prepare your edible mini maps on individual pita pockets, or do as Travis did and make a full-size pizza.

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To start, pat pizza dough onto a pizza pan, then spread with tomato sauce, leaving a 1/2-inch crust. Sprinkle with your favorite non-dairy mozzarella.

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Travis loved assembling a little pirate island that included the following: two bell pepper strips to mark an X for treasure; palm trees made of orange bell pepper trunks and green bell pepper fronds; mushroom rocks; olive footprints leading to the treasure; and corn kernels as nuggets of gold.

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The kids had so much fun peaking while it baked!

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Bubbles in the crust after baking even meant that we had some fun topography, like a little “hill” now below our X.

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Then it was time to gobble up the treasure.

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Pesto Chick’n Pizza

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This pizza recipe looks gourmet, so shh! Don’t tell the kids that it’s ridiculously easy to put together.


  • 1 pound whole wheat pizza dough
  • 1/3 cup vegan pesto
  • 1 cup shredded Daiya mozzarella
  • 1 package Gardein chick’n strips, cooked and shredded
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced
  1. Pat the pizza dough to the edges of a pizza pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 minutes.
  2. Pat the dough with a spatula anywhere it has puffed up, then spread with the pesto and sprinkle with the cheese.
  3. Top evenly with the chick’n and sliced tomatoes. Return to the oven and bake a final 7 minutes.

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BLT Pita Pizzas

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Quick, easy… and there’s vegan bacon. That makes this the perfect supper after a day back at school!


  • 4 slices Lightlife bacon
  • 2 (6-inch) whole wheat pitas
  • 1/4 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded Daiya cheddar
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 tablespoons bottled vinaigrette
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  1. Cook the bacon slices according to package directions; chop and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, spread about 2 tablespoons pizza sauce over each pita. Top each with about 1/4 cup cheese. Bake at 450 degrees F for 5 to 6 minutes, until the cheese melts.
  3. Toss the arugula with the vinaigrette, and divide evenly among the pizza tops. Top evenly with the tomato halves and chopped bacon.

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Zucchini Pizza Snacks

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Pizza for snacktime? Kids will be thrilled when you announce that’s what’s on the menu, and hardly disappointed at all when they learn there is no crust involved.

Cut 1 large zucchini into long diagonal slices (about 1/2-inch thick) and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Spoon a little tomato sauce over each slice, and add your favorite vegan cheese on top. Cheese shreds would work great, but we also like the Chao slices from Field Roast.

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Broil for 2 to 4 minutes, until the cheese is melty and the zucchini is tender.


Pizza Hearts and Sweet Stuffed Celery

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Here’s the perfect little lunch to put together for your kids this Valentine’s Day! Serve it at home, or pack it up for school; it travels easily in the compartments of a lunchbox.

For the deli slices, you can use a good vegan pepperoni (such as Yves Veggie) if your children like the taste. My son finds pepperoni too spicy, so I use milder deli slices from Field Roast, torn into small pieces.


  • 1 pound refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1/3 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded Daiya mozzarella
  • 1 package vegan deli slices or pepperoni
  • Celery sticks
  • Non-dairy cream cheese
  • 1 red bell pepper
  1. To prepare the pizza hearts, divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll into a 14×7-inch rectangle. Spread the dough with half of the sauce, leaving a 1/2-inch border free of sauce along one long edge.
  2. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese, and cut the rectangle into 10 strips. Top the strips evenly with half of the pepperoni or deli meat.
  3. Roll up two strips towards the unsauced end, leaving the end unrolled, and place next to each other on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pinch the tips of the “heart” together to seal. Pizza Hearts (1)
  4. Repeat with the remaining strips, and then repeat steps 1 through 3 with the remaining half of the dough for 10 hearts total.
  5. Bake at 425 degrees F for 18 minutes, until cooked through.
  6. To prepare the stuffed celery, fill celery pieces with your favorite vegan cream cheese.
  7. Wash and core the bell pepper. Using a small heart-shaped cookie cutter, punch out heart shapes and top each celery piece with a heart.

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Hope your kids eat their heart out!

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Sweet Strawberry Pizza

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Pizza for dessert? Yes please! We absolutely had to try this recipe from High 5 magazine. It can take some searching to find frozen pizza dough that is vegan, but Wholly Wholesome and Gillian’s both fit the bill. Be sure to thaw the dough ahead of time, or you’ll be caught with frozen dough when you promised your little chef that it’s pizza time!

Adults: First line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Next, I enlisted Travis’s help to roll our dough into a large oval. The dough was a little finicky, but between rolling, patting, and stretching we got it into a rather free-form oval/rectangle on our baking sheet.

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Travis loved the next step – brushing 2 tablespoons melted Earth Balance butter over the top of the dough – this was like painting with butter!

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I had sliced 12 strawberries for him ahead of time, so all Travis had to do was arrange them over the top of the dough. I stepped in just to make sure they didn’t overlap too much, but otherwise left this step up to him.

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Finally, we combined 2 tablespoons coconut sugar and 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a small bowl, and sprinkled evenly over the strawberries.

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Adults: Bake the pizza at 375 degrees F for 23 minutes. Dessert is served!