It’s not delivery, it’s vegan: homemade pizza puts flavor first

When I began living in the South Commons last semester, I quickly became accustomed to a familiar sight: the Domino’s delivery car.  Although I know the car is a daily occurrence, my heart still breaks each time I see the car’s headlights shine in my windows.

Domino’s pizza is the antithesis of the pizza I grew up eating.  With its thick, heavily buttered crust, bland sauce and rubber-like cheese topping, Domino’s is a stark contrast to the thin crusted, freshly seasoned, homemade pizza of my youth.

I may seem over judgmental towards Domino’s pizza, so I feel the need to make a confession.  I have actually only eaten Domino’s twice in my life, well over five years ago.  Maybe over time I have forgotten exactly how it tastes or the convenience of having it delivered to your door.

Instead of eliminating Domino’s completely I offer my favorite pizza, sundried tomato pesto with caramelized onions and mushrooms topped with arugula, as a way to break up the monotony of ordering take out every week.

First comes the dough.  This recipe yields two pizzas, so make it with a friend or save the other half for later.

Add all of the dry ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.  This dough recipe isn’t seasoned, so feel free to incorporate your favorite seasonings.  I like to add Italian seasoning, garlic powder and onion granules.  With the mixer running add the wet ingredients.  The scent of yeast will start to perfume the air, which, for me, makes it worth the time consuming process of making dough from scratch.  When the dough starts to pull away from the edges of the bowl, transfer it to a floured surface, knead it into a ball, and place it in a covered bowl.

The dough needs to rest for the next hour during which time it will approximately double in size.  It’s the perfect amount of time to put a load of laundry in the dryer, catch up on an episode of your favorite TV show, or clean the mess you might of made in the kitchen making the dough.

For the sauce layer of the pizza, I use a sundried tomato pesto.  I use an adapted recipe from the blog Oh-She-Glows, mainly switching out the walnuts in favor of pine nuts. You can also buy premade pesto from the grocery store, or substitute tomato sauce or hummus if desired.

Next, the toppings: caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms.  Add sliced onions to pan lined with a thin layer of water over medium high heat to partially cook the onions.  Once the water has evaporated add olive oil and salt, and let the onions cook down for the next 20 mintues.  Right before removing the onions, add balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan.  In the same pan as the onions, quickly sauté the mushrooms in a touch of olive oil.

To assemble the pizza roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a circular shape and pinch the edges to make a crust.  Then add the pesto, onions and mushrooms in the quantities that you want.  Place the pizza on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 500°F for 10-11 minutes.  Once out of the oven, top off the pizza with arugula and sprinkling of balsamic vinegar.

You may be wondering where the cheese is in this recipe.  Trust me, this pizza does not need any cheese.  For the past couple years I have been making vegan dishes inspired by the Italian meals my father cooked for dinner, and this pizza has been had hit with everyone that has tasted it.

While time consuming, this recipe is certainly worth it after you take the first bite.  If you make the dough ahead of time, personal pizza making is great idea for your next small dinner party instead of ordering out.

 The Recipe

For the dough:

3 ½ – 4 cups bread flour

1 packet of active dry yeast

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. sugar

1 ½ cups warm water

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

Seasonings as desired

For everything else:

Sundried tomato pesto

2-3 yellow onions

5 baby bella mushrooms

Arugula

Olive oil

Salt

Balsamic vinegar

 

Combine dry dough ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook.  With mixer running, add water and EVOO.

When dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, remove and knead into a ball on a lightly floured surface.  Place dough in a tightly covered large bowl.  Wait an hour.

Roll half the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a circular shape, pinching the edges for a crust.

Add sliced onions to sauté pan lined with a thin layer of water. Cook over medium heat.

Once water has cooked off, add 1 TBSP of olive oil and pinch of salt. Just before the onions are done (20-25 min.), add a splash of balsamic vinegar.

Remove onions, and add sliced mushrooms with a tsp. of olive oil and sauté for 8 minutes.

Add the pesto, caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms to rolled out pizza dough.  Bake for 10-11 minutes at 500°F.

Finish with a handful of arugula and balsamic vinegar.

 

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