These white pie pizza bagels topped with cheese and mushrooms are the grown-up snack you deserve.

People have a lot of opinions about pizza. There are certain toppings that seem to be controversial – anchovies, black olives, pineapple – and certain preparations that incite the ire of whole swaths of the country. Back in Chicago, for example, I’m used to jokes about how our deep-dish pizza is really just a pan.

But I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like a good bagel once in a while. After all, as Bagel Bites, the eminent pizza bagel company, writes, “when pizza and bagel come together, snack time can be anytime.”

Growing up, my family only ever bought the pepperoni variety – and it was pretty sparing. However, I recently discovered – about a decade too late – that Bagel Bites’ flavor list also includes sausage and pepperoni, garlic bread and cheese supreme, and “nacho extreme.” Plus, there’s a whole range of “breakfast bites”, so I thought, why not expand the universe of pizza bagels even further? Why not make a white pie bagel bite?

As its name suggests, a white pie, or pizza bianca, has a base of cottage cheese and olive oil instead of the traditional tomato sauce. And while a cheese-based pizza may seem difficult to adapt to a plant-based diet, it’s actually a cinch thanks to the ever-growing selection of vegan cheeses. Here we’ll be using tangy and creamy almond milk ricotta – which adds an extremely luxurious texture to pizza bagels – and plant-based mozzarella. A few pinches of nutritional yeast also enhance the “cheesy” flavor.

From there, the topping options are endless, though my favorite combination includes spinach, sautéed mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes. Finally, there are many vegan bagels on the market, but I have a soft spot for Thomas’ Everything Bagel Thins.

Ingredients

  • 2 small bagels
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms of your choice, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons ricotta with almond milk
  • 4 teaspoons of nutritional yeast
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons vegan mozzarella
  • Salt to taste

directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Divide the bagel in half. Place the four halves upright on a baking sheet. Brush with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt.

  3. In a medium saucepan, add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic. Stir over medium heat until garlic begins to soften and become aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and spinach to the skillet. Sauté until mushrooms are soft and spinach is wilted. Salt to taste and remove from heat.

  4. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, nutritional yeast and lemon zest. Add salt to taste.

  5. Divide the ricotta mixture between the four bagel halves and spread it evenly over the surface of the bagels. Then sprinkle the vegan mozzarella evenly among the bagels. Scatter the mushrooms and spinach over the bagels, followed by the chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

  6. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the pizza bagels and let them cool before eating them.

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