Failcess – Vegan Pizza

So this is probably one of my weirder experiments. I tried to make a totally vegan cheese pizza. It also happened to be gluten free or potentially gluten free if you want to go for the whole pop hypochondria thing.  If this sounds weird, you don’t know me.

So, this potential mad creation of mine was . . . failure and success.  Let’s take a look.


The cheese is purely from the Forks Over Knives Cookbook. It’s simple and it was “cheeseque” – good enough to use as cheese in something that needs a taste kind of like cheese.  It wasn’t cheese but, well, close enough for this.

  • One white onion, diced
  • One red pepper, seeded, diced
  • One tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast.

Just puree all of these in a blender- it’s surprisingly easy. I puree the red pepper and onion in batches, and it’s surprisingly “liquidy.” I then blend in the peanut butter and then the yeast.


I used a can of tomato sauce. Because I was being lazy.


  • 3 cups besan (chickpea) flour (by the way, this awesome high-protein flour is great for nutrtion, cooking, chips, pudding, and more)
  • 6 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tbsp baking powder.
  • 1 cup water

Mix the dry ingredients together, then slowly stir in the water. Finally coat your hands with chickpea flour and knead it a bit. Then place it in a nonstick pizza pan.

To cook this, I tried

  1. Cook the crust for 8 minutes.
  2. Remove, add tomato sauce as needed (about a cup)
  3. drizzle cheese sauce (about 3/4 of it)
  4. Cook for 12 minutes.

And how did it come out?

Imagine an extremely lame homemade pizza. Dough wasn’t quite done, the tomato sauce soaked in, the sauce didn’t cook in well, everything was drippy. It tasted “eh” but didn’t quite blend so was ultimately unsatisfying.

Except . . . it was recognizable as a pizza. Just a really bad one.  It was a failure as a pizza, but a success in that I made a completely vegan low-fat pizza that still had quite a protein kick due to the chickpea flour and nutritional yeast.  It was just a bad pizza.

Failure as a pizza, but at least it was a pizza.

So I think there are ways to improve this:

  1. The crust probably needs a bit of a sweetener and/or salt.  Not a bad idea as the only sodium source was the sauce – and next time i’ll use homemade.
  2. I’d also flip the crust over before adding toppings so they don’t soak in so much and the other side gets to cook.
  3. Go easy on the tomato sauce.  Also crushed tomatoes may work as well.
  4. I wonder if I could thicken the cheese sauce a bit, perhaps chilling it, cooking it and then adding some arrowroot.
  5. Overall it needs to be baked longer – probably 8-10 minutes, flip it over and add toppings, and then 15 or so.

So a failure on one level, a success on another.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, publishes books on career and culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at