Don’t you think pizza and Fridays go so well together? Well, I certainly do. In fact, it was one of the things I dreaded giving up when I decided to becme vegan. How could I live without pizza and mozzarella cheese?
Have you heard health enthusiasts recommend ordering pizza without cheese? (I think they say this is a good way to reduce calories, fat…and flavor!). I tried that, but pizza without cheese just isn’t right.
That said, I always had a difficult time with how greasy pizza was. I used to take napkins and sit them on top of my pizza to soak up the extra oil before eating it. Even with that I still usually ended up with an upset stomach afterward.
Vegan pizza to the rescue! To me, vegan pizza has all the flavor (and joy) of pizza without the Tums! How great is that?
And we make the best vegan pizza on the planet! I had to share this recipe with you so you could enjoy vegan pizza just like we do. I like making the crust from scratch. It really doesn’t take that long because the dough will just sit in its own little corner of the world until it’s ready. There are a couple of prepared crusts that are fine, but you have to look closely at the ingredients. A lot of them have dairy products (those sneaky dairy products!).
You can begin by making the pizza dough early in the day and setting it aside to do it’s thing. Then when you’re ready to begin preparing your meal, follow these steps.
We begin with a little bit of olive oil and diced onions in the skillet. Is that how every recipe begins or what? It’s like the “dark and stormy night” of novels! But do you see the surprise ingredient? We include thinly sliced potatoes. My daughter got us started on that and it’s now become a staple on our pizzas.
After the potatoes cook a bit we add our other favorites, like sun-dried tomatoes. You could add other toppings (that my family doesn’t like) here like mushrooms (How could I live in a household with people who don’t like mushrooms??), peppers (again, what’s not to like?), and other typical pizza toppings. I like spinach so I usually add just a little bit of sliced spinach to this step.
Once you’ve rolled out your pizza dough, it’s time to add toppings. Start with the tomato sauce. I sometimes make this from scratch, but on this night I was content to use Newman’s Marinara sauce. Then I add some of the prepared toppings from the skillet. Oh, and don’t worry, that’s not pork sausage, it’s Moringstar Farms sausage crumbles. You can even buy vegan pepperoni which adds a nice flavor to our supreme pizza! Be prepared, making pizza can be messy.
We have tried several soy cheese toppings and the best vegan option that we’ve found so far is Follow Your Heart mozzarella. It melts to a nice consistency.
Isn’t that a beauty? I usually make three pizzas with this recipe: two regular crusts and one thin. My daughter and I like a thin crust pizza and black olives so the third pizza is usually just for us.
Here they are baking in the oven. I couldn’t wait to show you what they look like. They smell incredible too! (Looks like I need to clean that oven!)
Here’s our thin crust pizza with black olives.
And voila! Vegan Pizza sans the Tums!
2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
½ cup brown sugar
2 ¼ cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C) (I just test it with my finger. If it’s warmer than my finger, then it’s too hot)
1.5 teaspoon salt
½ cup olive oil
5 – 6 cups all-purpose flour (2.5 whole wheat, the rest unbleached white)
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour (2.5 cups white, 1 cup whole wheat flour). Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well-oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour (but you can allow for 2-3 hours if you want to prepare the dough earlier in the day). Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out.
This is my recipe for when I want (or have the time) to make my own. Or we sometimes use Newman’s Own Marinara.)
1 14.5 oz Canned Stewed Tomatoes (with Italian seasoning)
1 6 oz canned tomato paste, (6 oz)
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
Mix ingredients together. Blend with immersion blender.
1 – 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Large Onion, Chopped
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Garlic, Minced
1 – 2 Medium potatoes, thinly sliced
Add chopped onion to oil in a skillet. Cook on medium heat until onions are translucent. I like to add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar after this step to sort of caramelize the onions. It works for me, but you don’t have to do it. Lower the heat a little and add the rest of your ingredients that need to be sauteed (potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, etc).
- Heat your oven to 450
- Roll dough out to fit your pizza pan. We have 2 different pizza pans. One is a stone and the other is a round, perforated pan. I couldn’t find an exact version, but here is one by Cuisinart to give you an idea. Having a good pizza stone or pan does make all the difference. The third pizza is a thin crust and I make it on a cookie sheet (sometimes you have to improvise).
- Next top with pizza sauce (either your own or store bought variety)
- Add your preferred toppings. You can do all the pizzas the same or mix it up.
- Top with shredded Follow Your Heart mozzarella cheese.
- Bake 15 – 20 minutes (when crust is brown and cheese is melted). You might need to turn the temperature up just a bit to get the cheese to melt.
- Let cool for 5 – 10 minutes before serving