Fresh from my Oven – One Delicious Vegan Pizza
There are two things I missed a lot when I became a vegan. The first is chicken wings, my true comfort food. Crispy, greasy, my hot nuggets of awesomeness saved me many a time when I missed out on lunch or needed to medicate after a 16 hour work day. While I have not found any substitute for it (barbecue cauliflower won’t cut it), I have found that I can create a vegan pizza in the taste and flavour of its likeness.
Made more like a flatbread and gluten free, the vegan pizza I love to bake surprises everyone with its boldly flavoured, semi-caramelized onions, roasted eggplant, pesto as the undercurrent to the pasta sauce and heavy sprinkles of vegan parmesan cheese (this is the food God in my home) finished with capers.
The first step (after prepping your dough whose recipe is below) is to liberally paste the flat bread with homemade pesto before covering it with a warm pasta sauce that has hints of rosemary and fresh basil.
As I mentioned, my vegan parmesan which I sourced from Whole Foods, makes this pizza tasty, authentic and cheesy, I swear. And I sprinkle mine with it quite liberally.
Before adding my veggies as toppings I sautee them in a basil infused olive oil and add dashes of sea salt, garlic powder and pizza seasonings which allows for another wave of flavour. The benefit of this technique is that by sauteeing or roasting your veggies first, you are guaranteed not to have them half cooked when your pizza comes out of the oven
As with any pizza the base is where the magic begins. Here is a great pizza dough recipe sourced from one of my favourite food blogs though I made mine with gluten free whole wheat bread, I used pretty much the same combinations but added a pinch more of the yeast and a little less flour.
2 teaspoons dried yeast
1 3/4 cups (437.5ml) warm water*
3 3/4 cups (937.5ml) plain flour, sifted
2 pinches sea salt
1) In a small bowl, add the water and yeast. Use a metal spoon to stir until combined. Sit for 5 minutes until the yeast has dissolved into the water. (The warm water is activating the yeast so make sure that the water is not too hot or it will kill the yeast. Use water that is warm and able to be touched with your fingers.)
2) In a large bowl, add the flour and the salt and stir with a metal spoon until combined.
3) Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the yeast and water mixture. Stir with a metal spoon until it forms a wet dough. (At this point it will be quite sticky and will stick to your hands and any surfaces.
4) Lightly flour a clean surface with about 2 tablespoons of flour. (Do not over-flour the surface or you will change the consistency of the dough)
5) Add the wet dough to the floured surface and knead the dough for about 3 minutes until it is easily rolled into a ball and does not stick to your hands or to the surface. This means it is ready to start rising.
6) Spray oil the inside of a large bowl.
7) Add the dough ball to the bowl and cover with a wet tea towel or plastic wrap and place into a warm place.
8) Allow to rise for about 45 minutes until it has doubled in size. (This could be more or less depending on the temperature of the surroundings)
The dough ball AFTER it has risen.
9) Take off the tea towel or plastic wrap and use your fist to punch the air out of the dough. It should be very soft and airy.
10) Lightly flour a surface with about 2 tablespoons of flour. (Do not over-flour the surface or you will change the consistency of the dough)
11) Add the dough to the surface and knead for another 1 to 2 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. At this point, the ball will reduce to about its original size before the rising. (The dough should be able to be rolled into a ball without sticking to your hands or to the surface. If it does still stick to your hands or to the surfaces, add a little bit more flour to the surface and knead again for a few seconds and then roll into a ball).
12) Rip the dough ball into two even pieces and roll them into balls.
13) Using a rolling pin or a glass, roll them out into pizza base shapes.
14) Apply them to a lightly-oiled pizza tray and use your fingers to push the dough into the sides of the tray.
Enjoy this amazing vegan pizza.