People have a lot of opinions about pizza. There are certain toppings that seem to invite controversy — anchovies, black olives, pineapple — and certain preparations that stoke the ire of entire swaths of the country. Being back in Chicago, for example, I'm used to jokes about how our deep-dish pizza is really just a casserole.
But I've never met someone who doesn't like a good pizza bagel now and again. After all, as the preeminent pizza bagel company, Bagel Bites, writes, "when pizza and a bagel come together, snack time can be any time."
While growing up, my family only ever bought the pepperoni variety — and that was pretty sparingly. However, I recently found out — about a decade too late — that the Bagel Bites roster of flavors also includes sausage and pepperoni, supreme, cheesy garlic bread and "extreme nacho." Plus, there's an entire line of "breakfast bites," so I figured, why not expand the pizza bagel universe even further? Why not make a white pie bagel bite?
As the name suggests, a white pie, or pizza bianca, has a white cheese and olive oil base in place of the traditional tomato sauce. And while a cheese-heavy pizza may sound difficult to adapt for a plant-based diet, it's actually a snap thanks to the ever-growing selection of vegan cheeses. Here, we'll use tangy, creamy almond milk ricotta — which adds a tremendously luxe texture to the pizza bagels — and plant-based mozzarella. A few sprinkles of nutritional yeast really enhance the "cheesy" flavor, as well.
From there, the topping options are endless, though my favorite combination includes spinach, sautéed mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. Finally, there are numerous vegan bagels on the market, but I'm partial to the Thomas' Everything Bagel Thins.
- 2 bagel thins
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup mushrooms of choice, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh spinach, chopped
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons almond milk ricotta
- 4 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- 4 teaspoons lemon zest
- 4 tablespoons vegan mozzarella
- Salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium-sized pan, add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic. Stir over medium heat until the garlic begins to soften and becomes aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and spinach to the pan. Sauté until the mushrooms have softened and the spinach has wilted. Add salt to taste and remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, mix the ricotta, nutritional yeast and lemon zest. Add salt to taste.
Divide the ricotta mixture among the four bagel halves and spread it evenly across the surface of the bagels. Next, sprinkle the vegan mozzarella evenly among the bagels. Divide the mushroom and spinach across the bagels, followed by the chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the pizza bagels and allow them to cool before eating.
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