Thank goodness its Friday! Because on Friday’s we eat pizza! And I’m totally prepared for it. I’ve got my dough ready, my toppings stocked, and today I added an extra mile to my run so that I can take two extra slices of this delicious vegan pizza! (Yes, I do exercise so I can eat more!)
I’ll be the first to admit that my weeks are filled with celebratory food days – from Toast Tuesdays, to Wine not Wednesdays, I’ve got celebrations throughout the week to get me to the best one of all: Friday Pizza Night! And this vegan pizza takes the slice as the ultimate pizza for Friday Pizza Night! This pizza is so delicious even your non-vegan friends will forget about their love relationship with cheese! In fact, I challenge you to make this vegan loaded pizza for your non-vegan friends and watch how they grab slice after slice.
Vegan pizza is delicious! But there are a few tricks to perfecting it that will have you forgetting all about it’s cheesy brother.
The first rule to having delicious vegan pizza is to focus on your crust!
I feel this should be written in the pizza bible: A good pizza is dictated by it’s crust. I like mine bubbly and light. It must have fluffy rising dough. Although I’m still a fan of thin crust, I like those ends to rise high and offer a perfect balance of crunchy and soft. I also like the using a blend of whole wheat and white flour because it gives it so much more flavour and complexity.
This pizza dough recipe is my go to when I’m looking for a pizza to impress! I’ve used it for birthday parties, at family gatherings, and even on Christmas Day! (It’s a long story, but this pizza crust was our savour when a broken arm left my mum in hospital on Christmas a few years back). So it’s this recipe that I always share with friends when they are looking for a pizza that will coin them best pizza maker in their family. (And that’s an important title don’t ya think?). This pizza dough is not my own creation – in fact, I found this No-knead pizza dough recipe in my Bon Appetit mag, and it’s the one I’ve come back to time and again. Honestly, this recipe is perfectly as is so there’s no need to change it! (Except that I sub in wholewheat flour instead of white flour – but that’s hardly a change). What I love about this pizza dough recipe is that it gives sufficient time for the yeast to rise and create flavour complexity in the dough. I think too often we’re looking for a fast pizza dough that we can pop right into the oven. But when we do this we don’t give a chance for the yeast to activate in the dough, and so you miss the bubbly and flavourful bread. This dough is the do-ahead kind: You’ll want to prep it the evening before – giving it at least 18 hours to develop flavour and characteristic. But I promise it’s worth the time. The result is a bubbly high rising crust with so much richness and depth. In fact, I wouldn’t even call this recipe painstaking or inconvenient because there’s no additional steps involved other then giving it time to rise. Instead of making the dough on Friday night, do it the night before. Come Friday your pizza dough is all ready for you! Trust me, you’ll be thanking me Friday evening when the dough is prepped and your outcome tastes this good.
The second rule to making a perfect vegan pizza are the toppings. I don’t like to go too overboard with my toppings, but I love a variety of flavours from hearty and earthy, to citrusy and refreshing. For this recipe I’ve added onion, mushrooms, and chickpeas for the hearty earthy tones, and then zucchini, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil for the refreshing and citrusy flavours. You can’t forget as well to season with salt, pepper, and some pizza seasoning if you have it (Mine is a combo of dried chilis, oregano, basil, rosemary, etc. – I bought it from William Sonoma; but any pizza seasoning will do to add a little flavour boost!).
And that’s all you really need to know for perfecting the perfect vegan pizza for Friday’s Pizza Night. It’s the ultimate pizza, with perfect crust and toppings to make you go back for seconds and thirds. Now pass me another slice! Thank goodness it’s Friday!
TGIF Vegan Pizza
Pizza Dough (Makes 3 pizzas)
- 3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour plus more for shaping dough
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp sea salt finely ground
- 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 can tomato sauce (400ml/13.5 oz)
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 zucchini thinly sliced
- 1 cup mushrooms thinly sliced
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 1 red onion small. thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chickpeas
- pinch sea salt
- pinch pepper
- 1/4 cup basil chopped, tightly packed
To make dough
- Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add 1.5 cups water while stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir until well incorporated.
- Knead dough with hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. Add more flour if needed until it's no longer sticky to the touch, or alternatively more water if it's too dry. It should be plush and dough-like. (I added 1/2 cup more flour).
- Transfer dough to a large clean bowl. Cover with bees wrap and let dough rise at room temperature, in a draft-free area, until its surface is covered with tiny bubbles and the dough has doubled in size, approx. 6-10 hours. (I like to leave mine overnight).
- Transfer dough to a floured work surface and gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into three equal portions and mould portions gently into a ball. Dust dough balls with more flour, and cover with bees wrap until ready to use. Bring dough back to room temperate before baking.
To make pizza
- Preheat oven to 240C/475F. Place dough ball on a rimmed baking sheet. Flatten dough with hands, until it covers most of the sheet. You want it to be thin. (If dough springs back, let it rest a few minutes, then try again).
- Mix tomato sauce, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Paint sauce over the pizza dough leaving approx. 1 inch for the crust.
- Decorate pizza with sliced zucchini, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and red onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 10-12 mins, or until bottom is crisp and top is slightly blistered. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chickpeas, more sea salt and pepper, and fresh basil leaves. Cut into 8 slices and serve.
- Continue steps for making pizza for remaining 2 pizza doughs.
VEGAN – VEGETARIAN – DAIRY-FREE – SOY-FREE – NUT-FREE