Saturday, 29 January 2011

Vegan pizza... yes, it is possible!

So here's the thing... growing up I did actually like cheese quite a bit, but after a few days working with a cabal of crazed vegans at the Vegetarian Society in the early 90s, I'd knocked all dairy bits and bobs on the head. The only thing that I was a little freaked about was the prospect of no pizza, which is pretty much as essential as oxygen as far as I'm concerned. It took bloody years for me to realise it was perfectly possible to make a vegan pizza by... wait for it... just taking the cheese off. In fact the final moment of realisation came as I was travelling through Italy, and came across some pizza joints selling slices without gloopey cheese included.

Ingredients: pizza base

250g white organic bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp quick action dried yeast
140 ml hand hot water
Tbsp olive oil

Ingredients: pizza sauce and topping

1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Tbsp tomato puree
Tsp salt
Tbsp Rosemary
Tbsp basil
3 large mushrooms

1 large leek - tossed in olive oil
Garlic pepper


First of all get the base ready. Mix the dried ingredients first, the flour, salt, sugar and yeast, and then add the water. Mix up and then add the olive oil. Then knead for a few minutes and set to one side. If you have time, let the dough rise for a few hours. Roll the dough out, and lay out on an oiled baking tray or pizza dish if you have one.

Next cook the pizza sauce. In a small pan, fry the onion in the olive oil until it softens and goes translucent. Then add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Then add the rosemary, basil, salt and tomato puree and, after a minute or so, the chopped tomatoes. Let the sauce simmer, as long as you can but for at least 15 minutes.

When the sauce is done, spread it across the pizza base and then add the mushrooms and the leeks. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 200 degrees centigrade and then serve with a generous dose of garlic pepper.

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