Who doesn't love pizza, and making one's own pizza has got to be more fun than any takeout or store-bought pizza any day. It really isn't hard to put together a vegan pizza from scratch, nor does it take very long. In fact, we have waited longer for the delivery guy on a Friday night.
I have two basic crust recipes: one for a thin crust and another for a regular one, and in the past I've experimented with making whole-wheat crusts, whole-wheat-pastry-flour crusts and plain all-purpose flour crusts.
For someone who doesn't like all-purpose flour, it hurts me a little to admit that the all-purpose does make the best-textured crust, although not the best tasting. And let's face it: half the fun of the pizza (or maybe all of it) lies in a chewy-yet-crispy crust.
Basil is one of my favorite pizza toppings, and I decided to make that the chief flavor ingredient in this pizza. I used it three ways: dry basil cooked into the crust, a vegan basil pesto sauce spread over the pizza instead of the usual tomato sauce, and basil chopped and sprinkled all over the crust close to the end of cooking. Sounds like a lot, but it was just enough of a basil hit for me. Divine.
I also caramelized the mushrooms and onions in white wine. If you're making this for kids and would prefer to leave out the wine, do so by all means. I like the sweet fruitiness the wine adds, and it builds up the flavors. For the crust, I used white whole wheat flour. I did mix in some all-purpose flour, but using at least part white-whole-wheat blunted the guilt as I gorged down slice after slice.
It's all gone now, but I wish I had some more.
Looking for more vegan Italian recipes?
- Vegan Cheesy Garlicky Pull Apart Pizza Bread
- Vegan Puff Pastry Pizza
- Vegan Pizza with Fingerling Potatoes
- Vegan Pizza Rolls
- Caramelized Onion Tart with Olives
Vegan Basil Pizza Recipe
Vegan Basil Pizza
For the topping:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion , thinly sliced
- 1 cup button mushrooms , thinly sliced
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 cup vegan basil pesto
- ½ cup basil leaves , torn or cut into ribbons
For the crust (recipe makes 2 crusts)
- 2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast (1 package)
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- 1 ⅓ cups warm water
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon basil (dry)
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Make the mushroom onion topping
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the mushrooms and onions and stir for a minute. Then add the white wine and salt to taste.
- Take off the heat when the wine is all gone and the mushrooms and onions are lightly golden with the sugars from the wine. Set aside.
Make the crust
- Mix the yeast, sugar and warm water. Let stand for five minutes to make sure the yeast is alive and starts frothing.
- Add all of the whole wheat flour, about 1 ½ cups of the all-purpose, dried basil, olive oil, and salt and knead by hand or in a stand mixer. If the dough is too sticky, keep adding the remaining all-purpose flour until you get a smooth dough.
- Place in an oiled bowl and turn the dough over once to coat it on all sides with oil. Cover with a kitchen napkin and place in a warm spot for about 1 ½ hours or until it doubles in volume.
- After it has doubled, punch down the dough, and divide it into two. If you're making just one pizza, this would be a great time to wrap one half in plastic wrap and freeze it for future use. When you need it, just bring it out several hours before and let it sit at room temperature to thaw.
- Shape the other half into a ball and let it sit around 10 minutes. Then, on a lightly floured surface, roll it into a round of about 14 inches (this isn't a thin crust but I still roll it fairly thin. Make sure your baking sheet is large enough to accommodate the rolled crust).
- Push down around the center with your fingers so you get a slightly raised edge around the pizza.
- Dust the baking sheet with cornmeal and place the crust on it. Brush the crust with olive oil and place in a 475-degree oven for about 8-10 minutes until lightly golden. The crust might bubble up in places, but don't worry. It adds to the great, rustic look.
- Take the pizza out of the oven and spread the pesto sauce over it. Then layer the mushrooms and onions and finally the basil over it.
- Place it back in the oven for another 3-4 minutes.
- Cut into slices and dig in!