Saturday, February 2, 2013

No-Cheese Pizza: A Public Service Announcement

Pizza without cheese is an abomination. There, I said it. As you may recall from my post "What the $(&^ Did I Just Eat?" I had a minor meltdown and major bout of self-pity after eating a Tofurkey pizza.

I was too busy having a tantrum to take a picture of the real thing when it came out of the oven.
"Okay, okay," I thought, last Thursday night. "The Tofurkey pizza sucked. But maybe it was because of the fake meat and cheese. I've heard pretty good things about cheeseless pizza (Note to readers: No, these reports did not come from institutionalized friends). Maybe that will be the happy end to my quest for Swank-approved pizza!"

My husband was having dinner with a friend, so this was the perfect time to try the cheeseless pizza. He had expressed grave misgivings about this particular menu item, and since he wouldn't be home to witness me collapsing in a sobbing heap if the pizza turned out to be revolting, the time was nigh.

It LOOKED pretty good (well, the picture on the box looked pretty good):

Hey! That looks pretty darn tasty! 
Another selling point was the absence of any text on the box that might later prove to have been misleading. I know it's not easy to see, but on the Tofurkey box, there were promises that it was MEATLESS AND DELICIOUS! That the CHEESE REALLY MELTS! By contrast, the all-veg pizza box was simple, elegant, and tasteful. A good start.

I removed it from the box ('cause that's what the directions told me to do) and popped it in the oven. It was at this stage that I felt the first glimmerings of dismay. The pizza was roughly the diameter of a pita (little did I know this later would prove to be a blessing). I set the timer and trotted off to do something important for 10 minutes.

I skipped back into the kitchen after 10 minutes and the hell am I supposed to tell if the pizza is done? Ordinarily, the way one gauges the done-ness of a pizza is by the yummy bubbling ever-so-slightly browning cheese. I stared at the baseball-sized piece of crust in the oven, atop which rested some limp vegetables. It had been 10 minutes, but the pizza looked exactly the same as it had when I put it in the oven. The sauce still looked like someone very stingy and in a great hurry had painted a thin coat of ketchup beneath the vegetables. Oh, dear. The glimmerings of dismay turned to strobe lights.

"I know what will help," I thought, somewhat desperately. "I'll put it on a jaunty blue plate! That will add some cheer to this rather dismal-looking pizza."

Judge for yourself:

MMMMM! That jaunty blue plate really did make it look better! 
I regarded my dinner with great sadness. To my credit, I did not throw a tantrum. (There was no one to witness it, which is half the fun.) Instead, I shuffled to the couch and glumly ate it, grateful that it was so small. It could have used cheese, of course, but perhaps with a generous -- REALLY generous -- application of spices, it would have been better. The vegetables were soggy, but what can you expect from a frozen pizza? I suppose the thing to do is make one from scratch. There is a recipe in the Swank Diet book for pizza crust, and with my new cooking skills, I just may try it.

I haven't given up hope on frozen pizza entirely, though. I still have an Amy's Roasted Vegetable cheeseless frozen pizza that's big enough for two (lucky, lucky husband!), so I'll try that before abandoning the frozen pizza route forever.

In the meantime, next time you eat pizza, savor every bite. In the immortal words of '80s rock sensation Cinderella "You don't know what you got 'til it's gone."

What? You don't know the song? Well, here it is, for your listening/viewing pleasure:


  1. I feel your up cheese has been the hardest part for me. I think making your own might be the best option. I bought some raw whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe's, and then used yummy sauce, and LOTS of fresh veggies (green pepper, mushrooms, a few olives, spinach) and it was pretty good. It's not going to be as good as real pizza, but at least it wasn't depressing and I could feel like I was involved in family pizza night, rather than eating a salad by myself...

    1. I have seen that crust in Trader Joe's, so I'll make a point of picking some up. Did you try any fat-free cheese? My husband made a pizza last night with a whole-wheat pita (no tropical oils in the bread), yummy sauce, and vegetables that he stir fried with some olive oil and FF cheese. He said the oil from the stir fried vegetables would help make the cheese less...plastic. It turned out quite good! It wasn't the traditional-looking crust+sauce+cheese+toppings, it looked like stir fry atop a pita with tomato sauce, but it tasted good! By that point, I didn't care, as long as it wasn't total crap like the two frozen pizzas I've tried!

      p.s. Your family pizza night solution does sound far better than a depressing salad!

  2. Oh dear. You really should make your own pizza. Nothing frozen in a box is going to be any good, even if it has real cheese. I assure you, homemade food is the best, and worth the effort, even if you have cook within the Swank parameters.

    1. Karen, I know you are right. Takeout pizza used to be our go-to meal (far too many times in a week), so it's been a very hard adjustment. There have been several occasions when I've weakened and suggested we order pizza; to his great credit, my husband gently has said "no." Last night he volunteered to make a Swank-friendly pizza for me. It was quite good! I do have some recipes both from the Swank Diet book and from our own imaginations that I intend to post about. I'll stop whining about the good old days of pizza soon!

  3. I dunno, Amy's pizza looks pretty good to me. But then again, I have been known to enjoy peanut butter & baloney sandwiches as well as my hotpot special...tuna & pork-N-beans.

  4. MOS - the picture on the box LOOKS good; then again, so have all the others. However, I hear positive things about Amy's from trusted sources (J&S, I'm looking at you!). I have one lurking in the freezer and will report back when I'm brave enough to try it.

    p.s. your hotpot special sounds enticing.

    p.p.s. but not as good as PB & baloney!