In my opinion, pizza encompasses all the great things there is about food…and eating. The basic craving for all things bread and carbs is deliciously curbed, topped with all the veggies and/or meats your arteries desire, topped again with gooey salty cheeses ranging from the typical mozzarella to the elevated goat cheese. Pizza can be anything you want it to be. In our house, pizza has been less about the cheese and more about the toppings and veggie heavy – “real pizza” as my Dutchman reminds me.
To celebrate my (vegetarian) mother’s visit, I made two variations on our favorite pizza. (please note- we use a ceramic pizza stone and roll out our own dough. This pizza can however be reproduced using store bought crust (such as Boboli), just brush on some olive oil on the crust and pre-bake for about 5 mins).
(Not so) Vegetarian Veggie Pizza
1 hour, makes 2 small-medium pizzas, feeds 4
Pizza Dough (Whole Foods is my go-to)
Mozzarella cheese- fresh and shredded
1 small can of tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. mix of Italian seasonings (basil, oregano, thyme etc.)
1 can or jar marinated artichoke hearts
8-10 oz Cremini Mushrooms (or Button or Portabella)
1 Yellow Pepper
1 medium Onion(sliced thin)
2 medium garlic cloves (chopped)
* Optional– 1 package of dry Salami (sliced thinly)
* Optional– 4 oz. sundried tomatoes
* Optional– 1/2 package (or more) lettuce (Organic Girl Super Greens is a staple at my house)
Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees with pizza stone in it (this is important because the heat from the stone is what makes the bottom of the dough cook and get crispy and most importantly, not stick)
Heat a pan on high with olive oil and add chopped garlic, sliced onion, and a little butter. (I like to add a dash of molasses as well to move the caramelization along). Once onions are transparent, lower the heat and simmer under golden and thick (about 5-7 minutes).
Use a generous amount of flour (especially on the bottom!) and roll out 1/2 of the dough as thin as you can get it. Be sure it’ll still fit on the stone! (been there..not pretty).
Spoon and spread some tomato sauce on the dough in a very thin layer- so that you can still see through to the dough in most spots. Sprinkle on seasonings.
Diced the yellow pepper, and slice the mushrooms.
Add a very think layer of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
Spoon and spread 1/2 of your onions and garlic on top of the cheese.
Here’s where it could go two ways, one one of the two pizzas this recipe makes, we added slices of salami to cover the majority of the pizza.
Add the mushrooms and peppers and Artichoke hearts
Cut some small pieces from your fresh, whole mozzarella and spread some pieces evenly on top of your veggie (and/or salami) mountain.
Drizzle a little olive oil on top.
(note- this picture is of the vegetarian version we made for my mom)
There’s a choreographed dance at our house to successfully get the pizza dough from the counter to the hot stone. It doesn’t look pretty all the time and that’s okay, because it tastes good. We always roll out the pizza on a bed of flour on a plastic cutting board and slide it (using two spatulas as guides) to the stone. It always produces laughs and shouts of victory when there are no topping causalities and I think this dance alone is the reason we love making pizza so often.
Once your pizza is golden one the edges and the fresh mozz is bubbling- take it out (which is a lot easier than getting it in) and slice immediately. Top with the optional greens explained below or serve as it and enjoy with a nice glass of wine.)
Repeat with the rest of the dough
*Optional to top your pizza- While either of the pizzas are cooking, re heat on medium the same pan you used for the onions and garlic and add slices of the sun-dried tomato and the lettuce. Warm slightly and toss in that caramel-y, onion goodness.