The way we consume food has a large impact on the future of our planet, far beyond our plate. Meat consumption in particular affects land use, deforestation, desertification and climate change. Climate Tracker is launching a new series on sustainable food called CookThePlanetClean, in which Bea Goddard and others offer you a fun guide to reducing your ecological footprint while still enjoying the food you love. Enjoy!
We all love pizza, and pizza by definition means CHEESE.
However, the dairy industry is a major producer of greenhouse gases. The animals who produce milk for cheese – goats, sheep and cows – are ruminant animals whose digestive systems produce considerable amounts of methane gas due to the microbiological process of enteric fermentation. Around 20% of global methane production is due to animal agriculture, and methane is a greenhouse gas with nearly 30 times the heat-trapping potential of CO2. Dairy is scary my friends.
Therefore, I have laboured to create the ultimate tomato sauce, so good that you won’t even notice that your environmentally friendly pizza is dairy-free. I like to follow the words of Gordon Rasmey ‘keep it simple stupid!’, so I keep my recipes easy to make, without silly ingredients, but always tasty as heck.
Note, not all pizza bases are dairy/egg free so look out for this while shopping. Or if you can, make your own for reduced packaging!
- 1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
- 1.5-2 tbsp olive oil (trust me on this, the extra oil helps provide the greasy goodness the cheese would have otherwise, but with both planetary and bodily health benefits!)
- 1 handful of fresh basil
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tsp chili flakes (alter this to taste, I like spicy)
- A couple of pinches of salt and pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan for a few seconds (it is important to use a frying pan rather than saucepan to help it reduce later).
- Add the garlic, chilli flakes, ¾ of the basil, salt and pepper to the oil and heat until the garlic begins to sizzle and turn golden. This will infuse the oil with the flavours and spread them better through the sauce. Be careful not to burn the garlic by following the next step as soon as you see the colour changing!
- Now add your tomatoes*, being careful to pour them slowly. I have ruined many a white t-shirt with tomato splashes…
- Mix so that the oil mixture is spread nicely through the tomatoes and leave the sauce to simmer and reduce to a thick consistency, stirring occasionally. This will take around 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your saucepan; the wider saucepan the quicker the process will take due to a larger surface area for evaporation of water. This is a great time to call mum/sign some petitions against fracking and new airline runways/chop up toppings!
- To come to the advice of Gordon Ramsey again, ‘Taste Taste Taste’!
- Test a small amount of the sauce with a spoon (please be careful if it’s hot, I feel responsible for your safety here so don’t be dumb). More salt, pepper and chilli may be needed here.
- Stir in the rest of the fresh basil and take the pan off the heat.
- Lather the sauce onto dough nice and thickly and top with veggies – cut veggies thinly to ensure they cook through! My favourite combo is olives, sweetcorn, thinly sliced peppers and mushrooms.
- Cook as per the instructions for the dough.
Serve with a rocket salad and an ethically sourced lemonade or beer. Enjoy saving the planet one pizza at a time!
*TOP TIP IF USING A TIN OF TOMATOES: Add a tiny dash of water to the can and swirl it round to get the last dregs of tomato from the sides! Don’t worry about the extra water being added to the sauce as it will evaporate during step four*
This also doubles as a great pasta sauce for two! Or just for one if you’re a saucy person like me…
Over and out, Bea