During the fall months,  I love creating recipes that are smoky & sweet.  This recipe has the smokiness from the shiitake mushroom bacon, as well as the barbecue sauce, the sweet from the apples, and a little spiciness from the cheese.  Even though this recipe seems like a lot of steps and work, I promise you that it’s very easy!  It’s also great because any leftover barbecue sauce, cashew cheese, or marinated bacon can be saved to use in other recipes!


We’re going to start out by caramelizing some red onions.  I always caramelize onions in a cast iron skillet, just because of how evenly it cooks them, and the nice texture it gives to the onion.  Start by heating your cast iron over low heat for about 5 minutes so its nice and hot.  Add your oil & vegan butter, and then your onions.  After about 1-2 minutes, add your salt and balsamic vinegar.  Allow to cook over low heat for about 20-30 minutes (stirring frequently) until the onions have wilted down and created a nice caramel around themselves.  The balsamic vinegar really helps to draw out the natural sugars of the onion, as well as turning into a glaze that coats them to caramelize them further.


This barbecue sauce recipe is a base barbecue sauce, so you can really add any other flavor profiles you’d like to it.  You can add ginger, scallion, and red chili paste to make a more asian inspired barbecue, rosemary, garlic & a little extra balsamic to make a more Italian flavored one… get creative!  We just stuck with the base recipe for these pizzas, because I just wanted that sweet and smoky flavor.  You’ll need tomato puree, water, balsamic vinegar, yellow mustard, agave nectar, salt, onion granules, smoked paprika, and vegan worcestershire. Combine all of your ingredients into a pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  I like to cook this sauce on a simmer for at least a half hour, but the longer you leave it cook, the better and thicker it becomes.


For the shiitake bacon, we used the same marinade from our B.L.T.A. recipe.  Mix all of your ingredients in a bowl, slice your shiitake mushrooms into strips, and soak in the marinade.  These guys you only have to let marinate for about 5 minutes, they absorb the liquid very quickly.  Preheat a skillet over high heat, so it is very very hot.  Add a little bit of coconut oil, remove your mushrooms from the marinade, and add them into the pan.  Sautee on high heat for about a minute or two, just until the edges get nice and crispy.  

For the cheese you’ll need soaked cashews, sriracha, chipotle hot sauce, water, nutritional yeast, lime juice, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, white pepper, onion granules, garlic granules, and miso.  Simply blend all the ingredients until smooth.

sj-7sj-8Roll out your pizza dough, or have your frozen pizza dough ready.  Top with your barbecue sauce, some thinly sliced granny smith apple (we left the skin on, but you can remove it if you’d like), shiitake bacon, and caramelized red onions.  We chose to also add some diced pickled jalapeños for extra heat, but you can leave them off if you’d like.  Put your cheese sauce into a small sandwich bag, or a piping bag.  If in the sandwich bag, cut a small hole in the one corner of the bag, and squeeze the cheese over the pizza.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through according to your pizza dough’s instructions.  After the pizza is cooked through, place under the broiler for a few minutes just to crisp everything up.  Top with green onions, slice, and enjoy!



  • 1-2 granny smith apples
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbs vegan butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3/4 tbs pink himalayan salt
  • 5-6 large shiitake mushrooms
  • bacon marinade 
  • green onion
  • pizza dough / crust
  • diced pickled jalapenos **optional

Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 15 oz. can of tomato puree
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbs yellow mustard
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pink himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp onion granules
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbs vegan worcestershire

Cashew Cheese:

  • 1 cup soaked cashews
  • 2 tbs sriracha
  • 2 tbs chipotle hot sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1-2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2-1 tsp pink himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion granules
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 1/2 tsp white miso


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Place all barbecue sauce ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for at least a half hour.
  3. Place all of the cashew cheese ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth. Set in the fridge until you’re ready to use.
  4. Make your bacon marinade.  Add your sliced shiitake mushrooms and marinate for about 5 minutes.  Add some coconut oil to a skillet and cook heat over high for about 3 minutes.  Then drain your mushrooms and add them to the pan.  Cook over high heat until crisped.
  5. Add your butter and oil to a skillet, and heat over low heat.  Thinly slice your red onions, and add those to the pan with the balsamic vinegar, and salt.  Cook for about 20-30 minutes stirring frequently.
  6. Place your pizza dough on a baking sheet or pizza stone, and top with your barbecue sauce, thinly sliced green apple, bacon, caramelized onions, diced jalapeños, and cashew cheese.
  7. Cook in your preheated oven for about 20-30 minutes, or according to the package instructions for your pizza dough.  Place under the broiler for 5 minutes to crisp up the top once its cooked through.
  8. Remove from the oven, top with freshly sliced green onion, and enjoy!

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