What Vegans Eat: Homemade Pizza
Posted on 31 July 2016
This pizza recipe has in truth changed my life. I adore pizza and am no stranger to attempting homemade crusts, but past trials have always turned out too bread-y, too bland, and just nothing like the pizzeria style I craved. And since going vegan, ordering said pizzeria-style pizza has become a pain. Ordering vegan pie from a standard pizza joint usually means paying an unfair amount of money for sparse veggies, too little pizza sauce, and a badgering of "really? no cheese at all?" comments. Making it yourself is easier, cheaper, faster (once you get the hang of it!), and way more delicious, provided you have the right recipe. So here you go, Starlings! Read on for The Right Recipe.
I find myself whipping up some variation of this recipe at least weekly, for a fully-customizable, hard-to-mess-up dinner that looks a lot harder than it is. It takes me about an hour start-to-finish and each pizza yields 6-8 slices (enough for 3 normal people or 2 hungry vegans). I suspect that making more than one at once would not be difficult. Here I am making a very basic option with standard bread flour, store-bought pizza sauce + cashew cheese, and an easy assortment of veggies. In future weeks I will share recipes for my favorite homemade cashew ricotta, amazing BBQ jackfruit pizza, tips for swapping in different types of flour, and more. The beauty of a good crust is that it is immensely versatile and can be adapted to your individual tastes with ease, so feel free to play around! For instance, I like a thicker crust so tend to keep the crust less stretched out, which gives it more of a deep-dish texture when cooked. However, I have stretched it thinner and rolled out more of the air bubbles to achieve a thinner crust successfully as well.
To the recipe!
1 cup filtered water
1 packet Pizza Yeast
2 tbsp pure cane sugar
2 cups bread flour (+ extra for dusting hands & parchment paper)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms
1/2 - 1 tbsp capers (I usually get the larger kind, but these non-pareils work too)
1-2 bunches of fresh basil
1 tbsp olive oil infused with herbs / pizza seasoning (optional, for brushing crust)
2-3 tbsp cashew cheese (optional)
NOTE: I am personally allergic to coconut oil, so most commercial vegan cheeses like Daiya are not suitable for me. But if they are for you and you like them, feel free to use those in place of the cashew cheese! Or skip the cheez altogether, if that is your preference.
1. Warm the water in a small pot over medium heat until very warm but not scalding. (Tip: Test the water by dipping a finger in- if it feels hotter than you'd make a baby bottle, wait for it to cool a bit.) Add the packet of yeast and then the sugar to "feed the yeast". Stir gently until yeast and sugar are dissolved and mixture is milky. Let sit for about 10 minutes, or until it is very foamy.
2. While yeast is activating, add the flour to a large bowl. Stir in the salt and garlic powder. Once the yeast mixture is foamy, pour it into the bowl with flour, stirring with a spatula to combine. Add olive oil by the half tablespoon while stirring, until the mixture is fully combined into a dough. Knead gently with your hands, adding slightly more flour if necessary to prevent sticking, and shape into a ball. You want to avoid adding more flour than you need, but you also don't want the dough sticking more to the bowl than to itself. Place dough ball at the bottom of the bowl, and cover with a hot, damp washcloth or paper towel (soak with hot water and wring out extra water). Place in a warm, draft-free location (a microwave oven that is completely off works great!) to rise for approximately 15 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 500 °F while dough is rising.
4. Prepare your pizza stone/tray by covering with a large sheet of parchment paper (you want this to be larger than normal, so that it can be used to transfer the pizza), and adding a light dusting of flour.
5. Prepare your ingredients. Here I washed and dried my basil and capers, and lightly sauteed my mushrooms. Optionally, add pizza seasoning herbs (like oregano, fennel seed, chili flakes, garlic, onion, salt, + pepper) to 1 tbsp of olive oil and let infuse. This will be used to add some extra flavor to the crust.
6. When dough is done rising, it should have risen to at least twice its original size. Take it out from its bowl and transfer it to the prepared parchment paper-lined pizza stone. Form the dough into the shape you desire by stretching and pushing it outwards - avoid rolling it or pressing out the air bubbles unless you want a thinner, less chewy crust. If desired, use a pastry brush to brush herb-infused olive oil from the last step around and under the edges of the crust.
7. Spoon tomato sauce onto the pizza, spreading it from the center outwards. Add your veggies and herbs (hold off on the cheese for now). Transfer pizza stone/tray with parchment paper still on it, into the 500 °F oven for 10 minutes.
8. Remove pizza stone from the oven, and add the cashew cheese in small spoonfuls, pressing them into the pizza. When returning the pizza to the oven, place the parchment paper DIRECTLY onto the oven rack. Cook for 5 more minutes.
9. Slide parchment paper with pizza back onto the pizza stone (be careful here, as the parchment paper will be very prone to breaking) and remove from oven. Crust should be a lovely golden brown. Allow to cool for 2 minutes, and then cut into 6-8 slices, divide fairly, and eat up!
If you try this recipe (which you definitely should), be sure to let us know how it turns out for you! And if you're interested in recipes for homemade cashew ricotta, wheat crust that actually tastes good, and/or BBQ Jackfruit pizza, give me a shoutout and let me know!xoxo,