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Monday, January 11, 2016

Slab Pizza (Vegan or Not)

Inspiration:  Pizza Mia at the Atwater Market

The crust and sauce of this pizza are completely vegan - what you choose to put on it is entirely up to you - enjoy!

Half Vegan and half topped with some crumbled feta cheese! 

Vegan Pizza Crust:  Makes one large baking sheet sized pizza crust

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 2T (23g) of brown sugar
  • 1t of active dry yeast
  • 1T (15ml) of olive oil
  • 2 cups (240g) of all purpose flour
  • 1t of salt
  • more oil for baking sheet and to brush on the rising dough to prevent it from drying out

How to make it:

Place the warm water (1cup - 250ml) in a bowl and add the brown sugar (2T -23g) and active dry yeast (1t).  Whisk together to dissolve the sugar and allow to sit for 10 minutes to activate the yeast (you will notice some foaming on the surface).

Whisk the water, brown sugar and yeast and let sit for 10 - 15 minutes.

In a separate, medium sized bowl, blend the flour (2 cups -240g ) and the salt (1t).

Add 1T (15ml) of olive oil to the liquid yeast mixture and whisk before pouring it into the flour.  Begin to stir together with a fork.

When the dough starts to come together, begin to knead it, directly in the bowl, with your hand (about 3 minutes) until you have a smooth ball.  If it is too sticky, add a little flour.

Place the ball of dough into a clean well oiled bowl and brush the top with more oil to prevent it from drying.  Cover with a clean dish cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for 90 minutes.

After the dough has risen, generously oil a large baking sheet and press the dough down evenly, with your fingers, to fit the baking sheet.  Oil the top again and cover with a dish cloth to allow it to rise for another 25 minutes.

Vegan Tomato Sauce:  Makes enough for 1 large pizza slab

  • 1 large can (28 oz - 796ml) of good quality Italian tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2T of olive oil
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2t of chopped garlic
  • 1t of dried oregano
  • 2t of brown sugar
  • 1t of balsamic vinegar
  • 1t of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper and additional salt to season

How to make it:  

Place 2T (30ml) of olive oil in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the diced onion (1 large) and cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to brown and caramelize (about 15 minutes).  Add the garlic (1/2t) and the dried oregano (1t) and cook for another minute.

Add the canned tomatoes (28 oz - 796ml) and fresh basil leaves (5 -6) and purée with plunging mixer.  Add the brown sugar (2t), the salt (1t) and the balsamic vinegar (1t) and allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the freshly ground pepper and additional salt if needed.

Place the sauce in a fine meshed sieve over a bowl for about 10 minutes to allow excess juice to drain  (you can keep the juice for another use). 


Preheat the oven to 450°F.  Cook the pizza crust in the middle of the oven for 5 minutes.  Take it out and generously ladle the sauce over the crust.  Bake for another 10 -15 minutes (the sides will begin to brown.  

At this point the pizza is done and any cooked topping you like can be added.  It can be cut into quarters and everyone can create their own delicious pizza.  Just gently reheat the pizza when you are ready to serve - it can also be eaten cold.  Here are some suggestions:
  • sliced olives
  • marinated eggplant
  • roasted peppers (see the note below on how to make them)
  • hot peppers
  • sun dried tomatoes
  • cooked mushrooms
  • anchovies
  • caramelized onion
  • marinated artichoke hearts
  • hearts of palm
  • fresh basil leaves
  • goat cheese, crumbled feta, fresh mozzarella, parmesan cheese
  • cooked ground beef, or crumbled italian sausage
  • pepperoni
  • etc.
Note:  To roast peppers, just wash and dry them and place them in the oven (at 450°F) - directly on the rack -  while you are cooking the pizza.  Turn them regularly until the skin begins to char on all sides (about 15 minutes).  Remove from the oven, allow to cool and remove the skin - it should just peel off.  Slice in half, remove the core and seeds and add to your pizza.

Another Note:  You can also make this pizza without the tomato sauce with only a garlic, olive oil topping.  Place 3T of olive oil in a bowl and add freshly chopped garlic (about 1T or more to taste) and a little dried parsley (1t).  Once the dough has cooked for the first 5 minutes, remove it and brush on the garlic, olive oil mixture and sprinkle with salt.  Return to oven and cook for the remaining 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

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