A better-for-you [VEGAN] Minced Meatless Kheema Pizza made with shredded TVP/Soy Chunks topped on pizza dough and baked to fluffy perfection!
Disclosure: Special thanks to Calphalon for sponsoring this post and for choosing me as a Calphalon Cook brand Ambassador. All opinions, as always, are my own.
For some reason, a few weeks ago, I thought of Kheema (minced meat). Not so much a craving, rather a feeling of something fading from memory, that I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to let go just yet. Clearly, eating actual minced meat is out of the question for me, but I could replicate the flavor using the next best thing: Textured Vegetable Protein a.k.a TVP. If that name sounds too science lab-y, let me try out another: Soy chunks. Slightly more familiar? Maybe, especially if you grew up in India.
Soy chunks (as we knew TVP growing up) was that meat substitute all meat eaters unequivocally hated, and the thing that most vegetarians threw into biriyanis, pilafs, and other places you typically find meat in an effort to 1) get some protein and texture 2) appease their meat eating friends/family who’ve been invited to dinner.
Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. Now that actual meat is out of my diet, I’ve finally figured out what was wrong with the TVP tastings of my youth. It was spot on when it comes to texture. Excellent protein. What was missing was the flavor. Find a way to throw it in, and it is a surprisingly good meat substitute, if you know what to do with it; which is where the vegan no-chicken base comes in. Kheema was back on the menu for me!
Now that I had the VEGAN Kheema part figured out, and I needed a bread to pair it with, I chose pizza over the traditional naan or roti, so I can spare myself stove time, and instead, enjoy the bliss that comes with baking.
Ever since I got my hands on the NEW Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Oven, I’ve been baking more than usual – it preheats faster than my regular built-in oven, its Quartz Heat Technology delivers 40% more consistent heat (no hot spots!!) and the outside stays cool (75% cooler than regular ovens) even when I run the oven at it’s max temperature! How amazing is that?
Come summer, I have a feeling this baby is going to be the only thing I cook with. I know it’s only the start of Spring here, but hey, I’m practicing for summer.
The best part of making bread for me, is forming the dough. There’s something so mystical about working the dough: the smell of yeast, dough that springs back when you touch it, watching the yeast slowly stretch the gluten strands with infinite air bubbles until the dough doubles in size as if by magic…
Normally, I’d jump through hoops to get the oven warm for proofing, especially on cold days – warm water bath, preheating, then turning off the oven and hoping I didn’t preheat too much to kill the yeast – my two tried-and-tested methods to create a warm spot for the yeast to do its work.
But the PROOF function in the Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Oven makes short work of my usual labors. You turn a dial to turn on the preset function, slide the dough in, and in an hour, voila – perfectly proofed dough, right on time. No guesswork whatsoever! It just might be my favorite of this oven’s many, many functions.
While the dough is proofing, you get the toppings and fillings ready.
- The Kheema, ofcourse. What’s a Meatless Kheema Pizza without the Kheema?
Much like Tofu, the secret to making TVP taste remotely like meat, is to infuse it with flavor. I find this vegan certified No-Chicken Base [affiliate link] an indispensable part of my pantry. When re-hydrating the TVP/Soy Chunks, simply infuse the water with this flavoring agent, and while cooking, use a little more of the paste to flavor your dish, and you’ll forget this isn’t actually chicken you’re eating.
As the dough is proofing in the oven, get your kheema going. Saute onions, ginger, ground spices to flavor the re-hydrated soy chunks, which you’ve now shredded in the blender. Some tomato paste, more no-chicken base, and a little of the soaking water brings the meatless kheema together in just a few minutes.
2. My 5 minute marinara. I swear by this recipe – in fact, I’ve not bought a single jar of marinara since first tasting this one.
3. Non-dairy Mozzarella ‘cheese’. What’s pizza, even a not-so-traditional Kheema pizza, without some cheese?
4. Roasted vegetables – it might not be the norm for you to roast veggies before putting them on the pizza, but I find that the oven temperature that bakes the bread to fluffy perfection isn’t quite hot enough to cook and caramelize the veggies to their sweet, crunchy perfection. So I pre-roast them – blister on high heat for a minute or two just to get the flavor going.
Once you have the pizza assembled, bake in the preheated oven using the PIZZA function. That’s 400F for 17 minutes. Fluffy, soft pizza, evenly baked and browned, with no hard bits of crust you have to throw away at the end. Perfection in every bite!
If you’re quite not ready to eat just yet, the Keep Warm function keeps everything toasty warm for you to devour at your convenience.
I’m so glad I decided to go the pizza route with this kheema, instead of the stove-top flatbreads! This was delectable, from start to finish, in large part thanks to the brilliance of my new Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Oven!
Make sure to see this oven’s amazing features (including a Step cook function that’s just mind blowing!), and maybe consider getting yourself one from Calphalon.com!
I like to garnish this VEGAN Minced Meatless Kheema Pizza with a generous helping of cilantro and mint – somehow the flavors just pair beautifully.
It was so reminiscent of the kheema I remember eating, that I almost missed the raita that typically accompanies it. Oh well, if I can put kheema on a pizza, whatever could stop me from ladling raita on top as well? There’s no wrong way to eat food, right? Well, maybe next time.
When you make this amazing VEGAN Minced Meatless Kheema Pizza (which I really think you SHOULD!), be sure to SHARE YOUR PHOTOS with me through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I’d love to see what you cook from here!
For the pizza dough
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 3/4 c lukewarm water (110F)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 c multigrain wheat flour - substitute w/ whole wheat flour
- 1 c all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp dairy-free yogurt (unflavored)
- 2 tsp olive oil + more for greasing
For the Kheema topping
- 1 c TVP / Soya Chunks
- 2 c hot water
- 1/2 tsp Better than Bouillion No-Chicken base
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 c red onion, chopped
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4-1/2 tsp red chilli powder (substitute paprika)
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- a pinch of ground cumin
- Salt, to taste
- 1/4 tsp Better than Bouillion No-Chicken base
- 1 tsp tomato paste (unsalted, unflavored)
- 1/2 c marinara
- 1/2 c - 1 c dairy-free mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 c onion, sliced and roasted
- 1/2 c bell pepper, sliced and roasted
- A handful of chopped mint + cilantro
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1-2 tsp cornmeal (optional)
- 1-2 tsp non-dairy milk, for brushing
- 1 tbsp olive oil, for brushing
Make the Pizza dough
- Microwave/heat water until the temperature reads 105°F - 110°F. This is the optimum temperature to activate yeast. Too hot, the yeast will die. Not hot enough, the yeast won't activate and rise.
- Stir in the sugar and yeast into the lukewarm water until dissolved. Let sit for 2-5 minutes, until the top looks frothy. That means the yeast is activated.
- In the meantime, combine the flours, salt and yogurt in a mixing bowl.
- Make a well in the center and pour the activated yeast mixture. Knead until soft and the dough is slightly sticky but not crumbly. Add two tsp oil and continue kneading until soft. The oil will help reduce stickiness. Once the dough is springy to the touch, lift dough from bowl and grease the bowl generously with more oil. Place dough back inside, greasing the dough with oil to prevent drying out. Cover bowl with a damp, clean kitchen towel.
- Turn ON the Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Oven, rotate dial to the PROOF function. Press start.
- Place dough inside the oven and let it rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Alternatively, you can try this method.
Make the Kheema filling
- Combine the TVP/Soya Chunks, hot water and NO-Chicken base in a bowl, stirring well to ensure the base is dissolved. Let it sit for 5-6 minutes, or until the TVP to re-hydrate and soften like a sponge. Don't let it soak for longer than necessary. If you do, when you try to shred it, it will puree instead.
- Squeeze out the liquid from the TVP (but don't discard this liquid yet) and place wrung out TVP into a blender. Pulse until shredded. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a medium skillet and add chopped onion, grated ginger. Saute until the onion softens and becomes fragrant. Season with the ground spices (turmeric, paprika, coriander, cumin).
- Add the shredded TVP and saute until the spices turn fragrant and the TVP dries out a bit, turning fluffier.
- Stir in the No Chicken Base, tomato paste and upto 2-3 tsp of the TVP soaking water.
- Taste and adjust salt. Remember, the No Chicken base is salted, so taste first before adding salt.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
Ready the pizza toppings
- If you haven't already, roast the vegetables. I've only listed onion and bell peppers, but feel free to use whatever veggies you like. To roast them, I simply heat up oil in a skillet until smoking hot, then toss the veggies and cook them until they are blistered, but still have a bite to them. Shouldn't take more than 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to stop the cooking process.
- If your marinara is in the fridge, bring it up to room temp to make spreading easier.
Prep the dough for assembly
- Once the dough is proofed and risen to double its original size, remove the dough from the bowl and punch it down. Knead a few times to make it soft and pliable again, using a little flour, if necessary.
- Sprinkle a 12" round pizza pan with cornmeal (optional).
- Roll out the dough to about 14" round. Transfer to the pizza pan, letting the excess dough overhang from the pan.
- Roll the excess dough around the edge to form a border that's thicker than the middle.
- Brush the outside edge with non-dairy milk and the inside with olive oil. The milk will brown the edges, while the olive oil in the center will prevent the marinara from making the dough soggy as it bakes.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. In the Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Oven, simply turn the dial to the PIZZA function.
- Spread the marinara over the dough. Then sprinkle the non-dairy cheese (I used only half cup, but feel free to use more, to preference). You can also do half cup on the bottom, and half cup on top.
- On top of the cheese, add 1 1/4 c kheema. You will have more kheema leftover, which I love to use in burritos, tacos, rice bowls, etc.
- Top the kheema layer with the roasted veggies.
- Bake in the preheated oven at 400°F for 17 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, and brush edges with a little olive oil.
- Slice, garnish with chopped herbs, red pepper flakes (to taste) and serve immediately.
- If you want to make the pizza ahead of time, use the KEEP WARM function to keep it toasty warm until you are ready to eat.
- If you can't get your hands on the Better than Bouillion No Chicken Base (which is a vegan certified chicken-like flavoring base), use vegetable stock.
- If you don't like spicy foods, skip the red chilli powder.
- This recipe makes a 12" thick crust pizza, which will feed two very hungry adults. You can double or triple the recipe to suit your needs. Refrigerate excess dough for upto a week. Freeze for upto 6 months.
- To thaw frozen dough, use the DEFROST function in the Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Oven, which will thaw frozen dough in 1 hour. Alternatively, you can thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- To reheat excess pizza that was refrigerated, use the REHEAT function in the Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Oven. If your pizza was already at room temperature, adjust timer to reheat for 5 minutes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1541Total Fat: 51gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 1813mgCarbohydrates: 214gFiber: 24gSugar: 33gProtein: 68g
Disclaimer: This nutritional data is calculated using third party tools and is only intended as a reference.