Why order pizza when you can make your own and tailor it to your taste? Because it is easier? Maybe if you are in a hurry but not if you get a little organized. Home made is not only cheaper but so much fun when you have friends over. Everyone can participate and make their own creation. You can allocate various section to the pizza(s) to all kinds of creative arrangements. Then you can vote which one was the most popular.
I once made a super “meaty” version for some guests we had over for dinner a while back. One of them, I knew was a hunter and major meat eater so I went all out with an array of vegie meats (vegie ham, sausage and ground meat). The result was awesome and it was a great success. His son loved it and couldn’t even tell the difference. Actually one of the greatest thing about meat analog products is that no matter how much you are eating, you don’t experience the usual digestive coma you get when you eat too much food with animal products in it. Plant-based is just lighter and so much easier to break down.
This being said, as with all good things, they should be consumed in moderation. Vegie ‘meat’ products are great for people transitioning to a plant-based diet, but because they are processed, shouldn’t be eaten in large quantities and at every meal. The good news though, is a little goes a long way and there are similar in prices to animal products, minus the body parts, blood, bones, tendons… you get the picture!
THE BASIC DOUGH RECIPE:
This will make 3 12 inch pizza crusts
1 TB dry active yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water
3 1/2 cup flour
1 Tbl olive oil (optional)
pinch of salt
- Put the yeast in a small bowl. Add the warm water and stir. Set aside for about 5 minutes.
- In a separate larger bowl, pour the flour. With your hand make a mound in the middle and dig a hole in the middle. Pour the yeast mixture, add the oil and the salt in the hole. Gently move the flour over the wet mixture and using your hands, mix to form the dough. You will need to sprinkle some flour on the working surface (a wooden board or clean counter will work fine). You can stop kneading when the dough doesn’t need more flour and isn’t sticking to your hands.
- Lightly oil a large bow with olive oil and place the dough in it. Score the top of the dough in the form of a cross to prevent cracking during the rising. Cover with a cotton towel and place in a warm area of the kitchen for 1-2 hours to let it rise.
- When the dough doubled in size, you can punch it down to remove the air bubble in the middle.
- Sprinkle flour on a working surface. Cut the dough into 3 equal parts.
- Start with the first one, you can use a rolling pin also lightly floured to roll it out.
- Once it has been flatten a little, you can use your hands to stretch it. I wouldn’t try to flip it over your head the first time. Just hold it over the top of your hand and move it around gently where it is thicker until you have the right thickness.
- You can use a cookie sheet if you don’t have a pizza pan. Depending on the size of your tray, you may need to use 2 dough balls to cover it all.
- If you only want to make one pizza, place the other 2 dough balls in a ziploc bag and freeze. Make sure to thaw them 6 hours prior to using them.
TIP: If you are in a hurry and prefer skipping this step, you can buy already made pizza dough in the refrigerated section of Trader Joe. While you are at it, buy several packages and freeze them. They keep forever and are inexpensive. Stick to plain dough, there is an herbal one but it doesn’t work as well.
You can buy tomato sauce (plain, with mushrooms, basil, herbs etc.) or you can use pesto or both!
As a minimum I always have thinly sliced onions, some mushrooms, marinated artichoke hearts, pitted olives,fresh sliced tomatoes, zucchinis and some vegie meat. Sprinkling some Daiya cheese at the very end will provide a nice melting effect. If you want to add fresh sliced tomatoes, only put them after the pizza is cooked, this way the slices are just warmed and not mush. Same for fresh arrugula leaves or basil.
Other topping ideas:
Hawaiian: Use vegie ham and pinneaple.
Greek: use spinach, red onions and Calamata olives marinated tofu (as replacement for feta cheese) for a Greek version.
If you have a big crowd, make it in sheets and cut in square, you can serve more people this way!