You don’t need cheese substitute to have a fun, delicious vegan pizza

THE WASHINGTON POST – The Washington Post Food staff recently answered questions about all things edible. Here are edited excerpts from that chat.

Q: I’m vegan and love pizza, but have yet to find a non-dairy cheese that I enjoy. My solution was to not replace the cheese and have fun with non-traditional toppings instead. I think my favourite creation was bulgogi mushroom and kimchi pizza. Looking forward to trying your pizza ideas.

A: Oooh, that sounds fantastic! As far as other vegan options, richly caramelised and softened onions would be great. And also baba ghanouj. – Becky Krystal (BK)

Q: I bought some (white) miso paste to use in a recipe, and it calls for one tablespoon but I bought several ounces. What should I use it in? Does it keep? Bonus points if I can use my new Dutch oven!

A: It does keep – for about a year, but check your package – and it’s very versatile. It primarily adds salinity, but also a rich umami flavour. I use white miso paste in so many things: Try adding a dab to a pan sauce after you saute meat or fish, to pot roast or any meaty stew, to brothy soups, pasta, dressings . . . it’s always in my fridge because I never know what I’ll decide to use it in next! – Daniela Galarza

Vegan Pizza with Miso Caramelised Onions and Shiitake (L) and Vegan White Pizza with Artichoke Tofu Ricotta and Roasted Garlic. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

Q: I have some parsnips in the fridge, a couple weeks old, that I just stored loose so now they’re all floppy. They look fine otherwise. OK to cook? Maybe roast or steam and then mash, or slice and cook in coins? Also, I’ve stopped bothering to peel carrots – are parsnips OK to cook with the peel too?

A: Totally OK to cook! I love parsnips – and now can’t stop thinking about the mash that you mentioned first, cause I love them that way, so you should do that if only to satisfy me even at a distance. I’m a big proponent of not bothering to peel most vegetables, so I support you on this, too. – Joe Yonan

Q: I have a can of pumpkin puree and want to make a pumpkin bread. Instead of sugar, I’ll use honey. Please advise about quantity of honey for one bread. Also, a recipe I found uses baking soda and baking powder. I only have baking soda.

A: To swap in honey for sugar, use 7/8 cup honey to replace one cup of sugar and then reduce the liquid in the recipe by three tablespoons. The baking soda/powder thing is trickier, as they behave differently. Baking soda reacts in the presence of acid/moisture and has a more immediate reaction. Baking powder is double-acting, so it reacts in the presence of moisture AND heat, so it gets another boost in the oven. If you’re going to use baking soda only, you have to act quickly to get the bread in the oven. Use a quarter teaspoon baking soda, one teaspoon cornstarch and half teaspoon cream of tartar per one teaspoon baking powder. – BK

Q: What to do with an opened but barely used pint of heavy cream. I don’t think I’ll need whipped cream for anything in the near future. Can it be frozen without sacrificing quality? The expiration date is February, but I don’t know if that’s true if the bottle was opened.

A: I would probably reserve frozen heavy cream more for baking purposes, as it might not whip up quite as well. – BK