Grilled Vegan Pizza

egOh yes, I could never ever give up on pizza and always though that pizza without cheese was no pizza at all. But i also though i could never live a happy life without cheese. I’ve been a vegetarian for ten years now, but a cheese devorator, and it was really difficult to imagine my life without it. I used to have always at least 3 different types of cheese on my fridge. Not much a milk fan though. And here i am ! on my third month without a single bite of cheese ! and I’m very very proud of my self, but also i discovered so many new flavors and ways of cooking that honestly i  don’t miss it at all (so far).

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those grilled veggies :O

So, when it comes to pizza I first though of making it with cashew cheese, but I’m a beginner on the vegan path, and that didn’t came along very well, so i decided that i was going to try pizza without cheese (that really didn’t sound good on my head) and i was amazed by the results. I realized that if you have a really good crust and a flavorful sauce, you’ve cover the basics for  a good pizza. Top it with fresh or grilled veggies and you’re done ! I will try again the cashew cheese though, and when i feel confident to share the recipe i will.

And grilled pizza ! oh men, if you haven’t try it , please please do yourself a favor and do it. Off course if you don’t have a grill or someone to clean it like I did, you can perfectly make this pizza in the oven.

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Thanks Maki for the pic and help !

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The key here really is to make the dough one day ahead, so prepare for that. It will make your crust bubbly, light and super crisp. And then off course home-made sauce (you can buy a good quality sauce if you don’t the time to make your own) and fresh ingredients to top it. I made one Bianca with olive oil, rosemary and sea salt because I love this pizza crust and its amazing to eat it this way as a starter, then i made one with pesto, arugula and roasted cherry tomatoes, and another one with tomato sauce and grilled vegetables. unfortunately i couldn’t get any pics of this last one because it was devoured as soon as it arrived to the table (by carnivores !). And so i made another one with cheese to please the masses 😉

So here it is:

Grilled Vegan Pizza

Makes 4 medium pizzas

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1 kg 000 plain un bleached  wheat flour (2.2 lbs)
  • 600 ml luke warm water
  • 30 gr salt
  • 10 gr sugar
  • 30 gr active fresh yeast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • cornmeal for dusting

For the sauce:

  • 8 plum tomatoes, washed and diced
  • 1 medium red onion, washed and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 3 bay leafs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the pesto:

  • A large bunch of fresh basil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (or any nuts you like / have)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Juice of half lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To top the pizza you can use any veggies you like. I used grilled peppers, zuchinis and eggplants for the tomato base, and cherry tomatoes and arugula for the pesto base. Also, if you want to make a Bianca, I used rosemary, chopped garlic, sea salt and olive oil.

Preparation: 

Crust (one day ahead or the night before):

1.Over a clean surface, place the flour and form a volcano with it, sprinkle the salt around it, and crumb the yeast and sugar in the volcano whole. Start adding water here and dissolve with your fingers the yeast and sugar, gradually add more water and mix in the flour from around, until you form a consistent dough. Work on the dough with your hands and energetically for around 5-10 minutes until it is firm and it doesn’t stick to the surface, you can add more water or flour if needed. Form a ball  and place it in an oiled metal bowl. Also slightly oil the surface of your dough to prevent it from drying. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Take of the fridge 2 hours before grilling it. Form 4 equally sized balls and let rest on a floured surface and covered with plastic wrap untill it is time to put them on the grill.

Tomato sauce:

1.In a large deep pan on high heat,  saute onions until translucent, add tomatoes, garlic, rosemary leaves and bays leaves, Add salt and pepper and reduce heat. Cover your pan and cook for about two hours or until the ingredients have dissolved in to a sauce. At this point, i put my sauce in a blender and liquefy it a bit to get a more uniform sauce, but you can skip this step if you like it chunky.

Pesto:

1. Put the basil leaves, walnuts and peeled garlic cloves on a food processor, pulse and add olive oil little by little until you have a thick paste or sauce. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Keep it in the fridge until you use it.

Grilling the pizzas:

Heat your grill with anticipation. You’re gonna need high and uniform heat.

Dust a wooden chopping board with cornmeal and roll your pizza balls over  until they are thin. Transfer them to the hot grill upside down first (un dusted side first) until they have the grilling mark, then turn them over and add the toppings. Cook until it has the grilling marks on the other side or crispy.  If you have a small grill you can do this one buy one or you can grill them all in one, it’s up to you. Serve immediately and enjoy !!!!

Big Thanks to my friend Maki for all the help. You earned your cheese.

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