Mar 14 2011

The BEST Vegan Pizza!

Vegan_Pizza

Pizza is one of my favorite dishes for a few reasons. It’s easy, fun and healthy (if you make it the right way).

Trying to make a vegan pizza has been challenging because I don’t like to use soy and most cheese alternatives are soy based. I do occasionally eat soy, but I keep it to a minimum because of possible links to cancer, and most is genetically modified.  But now there is Diaya Mozerella “Cheese”. It’s soy-free and tastes great on pizza. Don’t eat it plain because it doesn’t taste good plain (in my opinion), but for some reason it’s great melted on pizza.

Dough is the easy part because most dough is just made out of flour, yeast and water, but some have honey. I took my favorite honey wheat  pizza dough recipe and swapped the honey for maple syrup – so good! Also, when you’re in a hurry, you can always ask your grocer if they have any freshly made dough. Whole Foods makes a great wheat dough!

The sauce is easy too because marinara is vegan (if you don’t add meat of course!). If you don’t have time to make your own, it’s easy to find great, pre-made, organic marinara’s at the store.

I’ll give you the recipe two ways; the fast way, and the “we have some extra time to make the dough and marinara ourselves” way.

First, the quick way…..

Ingredients:

1) Buy whole wheat dough at Whole Foods or another market.

2) Buy marinara sauce.

3) Diaya Mozzarella ‘Cheese’.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Spray a pan with non-stick spray.

Roll, or pull, pizza dough out and put on pan

Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on your oven.

We have a pizza stone, so I preheat the oven for 30 minutes and then I slip the prepared pizza from my peeler, onto the stone, and let it bake for 10-12 minutes.

Here is the longer, totally homemade way…..

First, make the dough because it has to be refrigerated overnight. At the very least, make the dough in the morning so it has 7 or 8 hours in the refrigerator.

Dough:

This dough recipe is outstanding! It’s a vegan variation of California Pizza Kitchen’s Honey Wheat Dough.

Ingredients:

Active dry yeast (not quick rise) – 1 teaspoon

Warm water – 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon

Organic unbleached bread flour – 1 cup

Organic whole wheat flour- 1 1/2 cups

Maple Syrup – 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons

Sea/Kosher Salt – 1 teaspoon

Extra virgin olive oil – 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon

Directions:

1. Dissolve the yeast in the water and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. Be sure that the water is not hot; temperatures of 120° F and above will kill the yeast and the dough will not rise.

2. If using an upright electric mixer, such as a KitchenAid, use the mixing paddle attachment because the batch size is too small for the dough hook to be effective. Combine all other ingredients (except one teaspoon of olive oil) and combine them with the dissolved yeast in the mixing bowl. (Do not pour the salt directly into the yeast water because this would kill some of the yeast.) Allow these 2 ingredients to mix gradually; use the lowest 2 speeds to mix the dough. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Over mixing will produce tough, rubbery dough, and friction will cause dough to rise too fast.

3. If mixing by hand, place the dry ingredients in a 4 to 6-quart mixing bowl; make a well in the middle and pour the liquids (reserving a teaspoon of olive oil). Use a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients. Once initial mixing is done, you can lightly oil your hands and begin kneading the dough; knead for 5 minutes. When done, the dough should be slightly tacky (that is, it should be barely beyond sticking to your hands).

4. Lightly oil the dough ball and the interior of a 1 quart glass bowl. Place the dough ball in the bowl and seal the bowl with clear food wrap; seal air tight. Set aside at room temperature (70-80° F) to rise until double in size; about 1 ½ to 2 hours.

5. Note: The dough could be used at this point, but it will not be that wonderful, chewy, flavorful dough that it will become later. Punch down the dough, re-form a nice round ball and return it to the same bowl; cover again with clear food wrap. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight covered airtight.

6. About 2 hours before you are ready to assemble your pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Use a sharp knife to divide the dough into 2 equal portions (or 4 equal portions if making appetizer-sized pizza or if smaller 6-inch pizzas are desired).

7. Roll the smaller dough into round balls on a smooth, clean surface; be sure to seal any holes by pinching or rolling.

8. Place the newly formed dough balls in a glass casserole dish, spaced far apart for each to double in size. Seal the top of the dish air-tight with clear food wrap. Set aside at room temperature until the dough balls have doubled in size (about 2 hours). They should be smooth and puffy.

To stretch and form the dough for pizza:
1. Sprinkle a medium dusting of flour over a 12×12-inch clean, smooth surface. Use a metal spatula or dough scraper to carefully remove a dough ball from the glass casserole dish, being very careful to preserve its round shape. Flour the dough liberally. Place the floured dough on the floured smooth surface.

2. Use your hand or rolling pin to press the dough down forming a flat circle about 1/2-inch thick. Pinch the dough between your fingers all around the edge of the circle, forming a lip or rim that rises about 1/4-inch above the center surface of the dough. You may continue this outward stretching motion of the hands until you have reached a 9-inch diameter pizza dough.

To dress the pizza:
1. Lightly sprinkle cornmeal, semolina or flour over the surface of a wooden pizza peel. Arrange the stretched dough over the floured peel surface. Work quickly to dress the pizza so that the dough won’t become soggy or sticky from the sauces and toppings.

Cook the same as the quick way.

Marinara:

You can either use a pizza sauce recipe or marinara. I use whatever I have left in my freezer from the last time I made sauce.

I usually like to make marinara, rather than pizza sauce, because I can use it for pasta the next day or freeze it for the next time I make pizza.

This recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis. It’s very simple and goes well with many things.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 dried bay leaves

Directions

In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste.(The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

Bottom line – Pizza dough is way easier to make than you may think and it tastes amazing! It’s a fun thing to do with the kids as well. If it seems overwhelming, I recommend doing a hybrid – make the dough (preferably with your kids if you have them, buy the marinara, throw some cheese on and you will be so happy you did!

 

2 Comments

  1. cindy
    Posted May 9, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Posted By: cindy

    Whole Foods is great, but the policies they imploy is not….especially for people with SNAP….jmo

    This looks delicious…I did not know that about soy products…

  2. Elizabeth
    Posted May 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Posted By: Elizabeth

    Hi Cindy – I just added our demo video to the post if you want to check it out!

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