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How to Make Delicious Vegan Pizza

Cynthia loves sharing delicious, nutritious, and vegan recipes.

Loaded vegan pizza ready to go into the oven.  Unkneaded spelt crust from recipe in "Vegan Pizza: 50 Cheesy, Crispy, Healthy Recipes," by Julie Hasson.

Loaded vegan pizza ready to go into the oven. Unkneaded spelt crust from recipe in "Vegan Pizza: 50 Cheesy, Crispy, Healthy Recipes," by Julie Hasson.

Baking Our Way Through COVID-19

Being indoors for a lot of the pandemic has resulted in a massive movement of bread, muffin, cupcake, pie and cake pans in and out of ovens across the world.

Old favorites, like banana loaves and sourdough bread, were the baking activity stars of the first few months of last spring.

As winter descends upon the northern hemisphere, the soup and stew pots and pans have come out again. In our house we have been consuming a lot of warming plant-strong soups, and lately, vegan pizza—homemade, from scratch.

In this article I will share some of the best of the veggie pizza recipes I have come across online. I will also review a recipe book that I found particularly helpful in detailing how to make a vegan pizza from scratch, with recipes for several types of crusts (including gluten-free vegan), quick tomato sauce, vegan cheese sauces, tofu "crumbles" and other toppings.

I hope you will find enough useful information to make a perfect combination of crust the way you like it, and delectably harmonious toppings of sauce, pesto, vegetables, fruits, cheesy sauce, and/or whatever else your heart desires from this culinary experience.

Video: Buddhist Chef's Ultimate Vegan Pizza

Buddhist Chef's Ultimate Vegan Pizza

This tutorial took just 5 1/2 minutes and is a good look at how easy delicious pizza can be, and how making your own will fit your budget!

Please note that when you watch the video online (hover your mouse over the lower-left corner to get the link there) you will find:

  • Recipe for the pizza dough he uses
  • Recipe for the mozzarella-type cheese he makes in the blender

Video: Avant-Garde Vegan's Pizza

Avant-Garde Vegan's Pizza

I am salivating just watching this pizza coming out of the oven. This video is 12 minutes long but includes the important teaching of kneading and lots of hints and ideas of the magnitude of what you can put on a veggie pizza that you might not have thought about! You can find the recipes on the Avant-Garde Vegan page.

If you are interested in knowing about outdoor "bread" ovens like the "pizza oven" he used here, you can find quite a few ideas online. You can also cook a pizza on a gas grill/barbecue.

America's Test Kitchen: Gluten-Free Dough

America's Test Kitchen: Gluten-Free Dough

The above video contains very good explanations of:

  • What gluten is and how gluten-free dough differs from the usual gluten-containing dough
  • What additives you must include with gluten-free flour to achieve a crust texture and chewiness similar to pizza crust made with regular flour. (He suggests that baking powder, almond flour and psyllium powder be added to the gluten-free flour, along with about twice as much water.) You can find the entire recipe at "The Best Gluten-Free Pizza | America's Test Kitchen"

Read More From Delishably

The presenter demonstrates that the proper gluten-free dough is more like a batter when compared to pizza dough. The baking process includes an initial browning of the crust without any toppings and then, after cooling a little, the toppings are added and the pizza is baked.

Watching this video is useful for anyone who has been disappointed with the results of a pizza crust made by merely substituting gluten-free flour for regular flour.

Find the recipe for this healthy plant-based, gluten-free pumpkin crust pizza at Michelle Blackwood's Healthier Steps site.

Find the recipe for this healthy plant-based, gluten-free pumpkin crust pizza at Michelle Blackwood's Healthier Steps site.

The cover of "Vegan Pizza," by Julie Hasson, propped up against my crocheted blanketed knees.

The cover of "Vegan Pizza," by Julie Hasson, propped up against my crocheted blanketed knees.

Why Invest in Cookbooks?

The internet is teeming with vegan recipes, and not a small proportion of them are for directions to bake plant-based breads and pizza. The three video tutorials above are good examples. So, why invest in a cookbook for something that is freely available online?

One reason is certainly in the same league as the choice that many readers make to order a hardcopy book versus reading the less expensive ebook. Some of us like to hold a book in our hands as we read, turn pages, and maybe make notes in the margins. Good cookbooks, such as this one, Vegan Pizza: 50 Cheesy, Crispy, Healthy Recipes, have a pleasant look (and feel) with recipes that are well organized such that they are easily found and easily followed. This book dispenses with glossy haute cuisine layouts that quite often make our first attempts seem like dismal flops when put up beside the shiny expert renderings.

The introduction tells about the path author Julie Hasson took to become a writer of a pizza cookbook. Unlike experiences in most recipe blogs, though, we readers are not subjected to lengthy anecdotes before we get to the actual list of ingredients and the directions to use them. The way this book is formatted, we can get right into the nitty-gritty for making the dough, cheese, tomato sauce, or pesto.

I belong to several "interest" groups on Facebook that have to do with vegan and vegetarian cooking. Members—particularly those new to veganism—have basic questions about ingredients, nutrition, and the equipment needed. Julie's chapter called "The Pizza Kitchen" inventories the "start-up" supplies and tools that pizza makers might benefit from having on-hand for whenever the desire for homemade pizza might hit. She lists the flours that she uses in her gluten-free recipes, and includes her favourite ingredient brands (and sometimes ones to avoid).

I was thrilled to find out about soy curls, described as a "delicious and versatile product made from whole, non-GMO soybeans." I have not yet ordered them from Amazon (they are an American product and not locally available in the province where I live), but I will. They make a nice plump, chicken-like topping. She has a couple of recipes for flavoring them. I made her recipes for taco "crumbles" using TVP (a soy textured protein) and was delighted at how flavorful they turned out, and with the soft, chewy texture that was nothing like the blah rubber-band effect I have experienced with other TVP recipes. These were so much tastier than the store-bought soy "burger". She suggests that it is best to buy organic TVP since the non-organic variety uses chemicals in the production process.

So far I have used the recipes for two kinds of pizza dough. Our favorite was the cornmeal variety that had a "buttery hint" in the flavor and was sort of muffin-y in texture. We tried it as part of the taco pizza, which included tomato sauce, taco "crumbles" and cheddary cheese sauce, all of which turned out very tasty. The cornmeal dough would also make a great base for a breakfast-type pizza with vegan meat, veggies and a smoky or creamy vegan cheese (recipes I have not yet tried).

Taco Pizza, from Julie Hasson's "Vegan Pizza," features a Mexican zing!  Includes taco "crumbles," tomato sauce on a cornmeal crust, and cheddary cheesy sauce.

Taco Pizza, from Julie Hasson's "Vegan Pizza," features a Mexican zing! Includes taco "crumbles," tomato sauce on a cornmeal crust, and cheddary cheesy sauce.

The Pièce de Résistance: Caramel-Coconut Dessert Pizza

I have always regarded pizza as a fun food, but a dessert pizza is particularly fun to contemplate and put together. I think it is the combination of the yeasty crust and the sweet toppings that makes it spectacular for kids and kids-at-heart. So far the first dessert pizza that I have tried in this book did not disappoint. I combined the cornmeal crust with the coconut-caramel topping (with optional—for some—chocolate chips snared in the caramel).

Other dessert pizzas include:

  • Babka Pizza (a sort of chocolate streusel)
  • Berry Pie Pizza
  • Chocolate-Hazelnut Pizza
  • Raspberry Crumble Pizza

This neat little book has something for every pizza lover.

This coconut-caramel pizza is a sweet way to celebrate with someone you care about!

This coconut-caramel pizza is a sweet way to celebrate with someone you care about!

© 2020 Cynthia Zirkwitz

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