Italian Easter Pizzagaina

Easter is just around the corner and always brings back lots of memories for me.  I remember wearing matching Easter dresses with my sister with shiny white shoes and bonnets (with that annoying/painful elastic strap around our necks)… and lots of delicious food!  There was always homemade gnocchi, pizzagaina and lemon cookies.  The lemon cookies would lose their ball-shape for Easter and would be made into Easter baskets and twists. These would be frosted and decorated with colored sprinkles, and we could eat them for breakfast (cookies for breakfast, yay!). I went out on a limb here and have attempted to make a vegan pizzagaina. The original is just loaded with animal products and I was convinced I could create (somewhat) of the same thing, cruelty free!  It worked.  I hope you try it.  The recipe below will make two pies.  Although I will be in the mountains for Easter (trying to ski on those last patches of snow) my thoughts will be on the East coast with my family…xoxo

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My sister Lisa and I in some of our Easter best… oh man.

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1 package vegan Italian deli (or something similar)

1 package vegan bologna (or something similar)

1 package extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

3/4 bag of vegan mozzarella cheese

2 flax eggs (2 TBS ground flax mixed with 5 TBS warm water; sit for 10 min in bowl)

2 organic vegan 9″ pie shells (the ones I found were called ‘wholly wholesome’)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional, no worries if you don’t have it)

1 TBS vegan parmesan cheese

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The lifesavers… (literally, these products save animals lives!)

Start by following the instructions on your pie shells.  The ones I bought (which were frozen) said to defrost on the counter first for 10 minutes, then prick all over with a fork then cook in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, then take out and rest for another 10 minutes before adding the filling.

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While the pie crust is doing its thing, you can get the filling ready.  First put your flax egg together and set aside.  Next, chop all the vegan meat into cubes and set aside.

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Don’t be scared of this… be scared of the real thing!

Next, take half of the vegan mozzarella and chop into smaller pieces and set that aside.  In a mixing bowl, crumble the (drained & pressed) tofu with your hands so it resembles ricotta.

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Next, add in the salt, pepper, nutritional yeast and vegan parmesan to the crumbled tofu.  Mix well with your hands (if you don’t mind).  Next add in the chopped mozzarella, flax egg and the vegan meat.  Combine well (hands are best).

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Divide the mixture in half and spread in each of the pie shells, using a spatula to flatten the top.  Top each with the remaining vegan mozzarella cheese.

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Turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for approximately 45 minutes (depending on what your pie shell package may say).  Keep an eye on them so as not to burn the crusts.

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When they’re done, let sit for a good 10-20 minutes before serving.  Serve warm.

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It’s possible – a VEGAN pizzagaina!


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