Who doesn’t love pizza? For vegan folks, of course, there is one big issue about enjoying pizza: cheese. What to do about the fromage? There are mock cheeses, such as Daiya (probably the best out there) and nut cheeses or the option of just not having cheese at all.
This vegan pizza recipe can be made using any of the three options. Last time we made it, we used Daiya cheddar, although we found that it was just as good without it.
- 3 – 3 1/2 cups of flour, up to 50% whole wheat depending on your preferences.
- 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast.
- 1 tsp sweetener (honey or maple syrup).
- 1 1/2 cups (warm) water.
- 1/2 tsp salt.
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
- 1 tbsp olive oil.
- 3-4 Roma tomatoes, diced (or half big 28 oz can…or 3/4 14oz can).
- 2-3 tbsp tomato paste.
- 1 shallot onion minced.
- 2-3 cloves garlic.
- Small handfuls of fresh basil and fresh parsley, chopped.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- 2 yellow onions, sliced.
- 2 handfuls of pine nuts.
- Handful of fresh basil leaves.
- Lots of arugula.
- Daiya mozzarella cheese or nut cheese (optional).
- Add sweetener to warm water in a mixing bowl.
- Add and dissolve yeast and let mixture sit till yeast gets frothy (3-5 minutes).
- Mix in 1 cup of white flour.
- Mix in salt and 2 tbsp of the olive oil.
- Continue adding flour(s). If using whole wheat, add 1 cup ww, then alternate between white and ww in 1/4 cup increments.
- Work flour in until dough is firm and elastic (and no longer sticky).
- Note: I do all no this within the bowl, first with a spatula and then by hand, using the dough to “wipe up” any flour stuck to the sides of the bowl.
- When the dough is ready, drizzle a bit of oil into the bowl, drop the dough in and roll it around until wet with the oil.
- Cover securely with plastic wrap, drape a teatowel over it and set somewhere warm (not hot!) to rise.
- Try to let it rise for a couple of hours or at least until double in size.
- Separate the dough into two balls. Cover with plastic again and a teatowel and let sit for another hour.
- Heat oil in small saucepan on low.
- Add onion and stir for a couple minutes until getting soft (the more melty the better).
- Add garlic and sweat for another minute.
- Add tomato and increase heat to medium.
- Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add chopped basil/parsley and salt and pepper and simmer for another minute or two.
Next, prepare your toppings. In this case, that’s pretty much just caramelizing the onions. The trick to good caramelized onions is letting them cook slowly, like so:
- Add thinly sliced onions to a large skillet on low and cover.
- Let simmer, stirring occasionally to keep onions from sticking.
- Note: when lifting the lid, try to avoid the moisture on the underside from dripping back into the pan. Lift it straight up and then away and let the moisture drip off (onto a tea towel or whatever).
- Once the onion starts softening, stir in a bit of olive oil and salt and resume cooking.
- Cook until onions are the color and consistency to your liking.
Prepping the Pizzas:
- When the dough is ready, turn oven on to 450 degrees.
- On two large oven pans or circular pizza pans, be like Frank Sinatra and start spreading the dough. Start with the ball in the center and begin flattening it and pushing it out.
- Alternate between the two pizzas. Dough is “alive” and elastic and benefits from resting between being worked over.
- We like our pizza really thin, so I’ll work the dough out until it’s very thin everywhere. If you want, you can leave a little raised edge, but it’s not really necessary.
- Rub the prepared crusts with olive oil, either with a pastry brush or using a paper towel. Use as little oil as possible.
- Put the crusts in the oven to pre-bake for a few minutes. A good gauge is when the dough has absorbed the oil or when any air bubbles start to form.
- Remove crusts from oven and prepare pizzas.
- First, add sauce. If you’re going really thin crust, then spread sauce on sparingly.
- Add caramelized onions, pine nuts, basil leaves, and top with arugula. (You like your greens? Add lots!)
- If using Daiya, sprinkle on top.
- Note about Daiya: while considered one of best cheese replacements, Daiya has a fairly oily taste, so use sparingly.
- Purists will say cook the pizzas one after another so that the two trying to cook at the same time don’t suck up too much heat, and the purists are probably right. That being said, I’m usually too impatient to wait. If you can, do them one after another. If the crust is really thin, it should only take about 8 minutes per pizza.
- After 4 minutes, slide pizzas off pan and directly onto rack.
- When ready, remove pizzas and let “set” on a cooling rack for a few minutes before cutting.
- Serve and enjoy.