grilled summer pizza with roasted red pepper sauce and goat cheese (and a vegan version, too!)

As summer winds down, we're looking for any opportunity to steal away to the porch for an early supper al fresco, or perhaps late evening snack, at dusk, where we might, if we look really hard, see a firefly, or two, just as night falls.  I wonder if the fireflies try to catch a glimpse of us, too, milling about as the sun sets?  

A great way to stay out of the kitchen, and keep the heat out, too, we like to fire up the grill and celebrate the last of the late summer garden's harvest all piled up and toasted on a crust, perhaps with a creamy goat cheese topping, or this roasted pepper cream sauce, for a vegan version.

Know what my favorite thing about this pizza is? Vegan, Vegetarian, Meatless, Low Fat, doesn't matter. I don't give that one thought when i'm eating it. It's not almost as good as its less healthy cousins.  It's just good.

grilled summer pizza with goat cheese and roasted pepper sauce

Who doesn't love pizza?  With, or without, meat, cheese, bell peppers, whatever...there is a pizza for everybody.  Pile your favorites on this crispy crust over a base of sweet, smoky roasted pepper sauce, and top it with some creamy cheese, or a little more of the same.

Scrape grill to clean and brush with oil.  Preheat to around 500 degrees.

We started building our pizza with Udi's brand gluten-free pizza crust. You can use your own homemade crust, or any other pre-made crust you prefer. We brushed one side with olive oil. Placed it, oil side up, on the grill and closed the top. Cooked for 5 minutes. Turned and brushed other side with oil. Cooked in closed grill 5 minutes more. (Why are we cooking it before topping it? It seals the crust and keeps it from getting all soggy and yuck when the toppings begin cooking and releasing juices.)

Remove from grill and spread roasted pepper sauce, below, around top of crust. Top with fresh, seasonal vegetables of your choice. We've used red and yellow onions, red, green and golden sweet peppers, crimini mushrooms, yellow, orange, and red pear tomatoes, and fresh sage leaves. For the vegetarian version, we've added from maggie's farm herbes de provence goat cheese. You may use any soft, creamy goat cheese you prefer 

For the vegan version, we left the goat cheese off, and adopted the vegan options (below) when making the roasted red pepper cream sauce, which we dotted atop, as well as spread around for the base.

Transfer pizza to grill.  Notice all that stuff on the pizza peel? It's cornmeal, and it will make that pizza glide off with ease. Some of it will stick to the bottom of the pizza...and that's good. It adds a tiny bit of crunch to the bottom crust.  

Close the grill top and let pizza roast until the cheese is luscious and melty and/or vegetables are browned to your likeness. The more they cook, the softer they'll become. We like ours a little crispy, with the edges browned, cooked about 15 minutes.  

roasted red pepper sauce

Roast peppers like we did on this post. Peel, or leave some skins on for a smokier flavor, to yield two cups of cored, seeded pepper halves . Transfer to a food processor bowl, add 2 tablespoons of non fat sour cream, or 2 tablespoons silken tofu, for vegan version. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Process in quick pulses until thick consistency is achieved. Occasionally, peppers may yield more juice-- Mother Nature is not exact-- and be too thin to spread. To remedy this, we often add parsley and parmesan cheese, or nutritional yeast for a vegan version, to acquire the thicker paste we're going for here. You can even use walnuts or almonds, too. Kind of like a pesto with no oil, and no basil. Okay, not much like a pesto, but the consistency of pesto.

Besides a unique base for pizza, this roasted pepper sauce is quite versatile.  Toss with warm pasta, dress up a simple chicken breast, dip toasted baguette slices in a bowlful.  Use to perk up the plainest of dishes, and keep a jar refrigerated (for up to as long as a month), to dress up dinner when you are all out of creative food thoughts.  

Yeah, it happens sometimes, doesn't it?  Even to me.

Join us tomorrow when we try to get a handle on all these unique diets and eating lifestyle on Tips for Tuesday: You Are What You Eat.

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