Well, our very first scheduled Happy, Healthy & Full of LIFE!! get-together was s small one! Just the 3 of us! Due to the horrible weather, with dangerous temps 50 degrees below normal – we had to cancel. However, I had already made home made crusts and sauce for class- so we made it for our family at home anyway! We had pizza on the brain and looking forward to it the last few days – so might as well go ahead and warm up as the cold winds blow outside with some nice hot home-made PIZZA!!
Pizza!! Who doesn’t love it?!! But, most pizza you buy from the regular outlets are so bad for you! But, it is something you do not have to give up if you learn to make a few simple adjustments! And it is D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!!
I’ll walk you through the process…
First, of course is the crust, the foundation in which to build the tasty, piled-high Italian feast!
This is a whole wheat recipe that is hearty, but light and flavorful! Recipe will make 1 huge crust, 2 thin crust pizzas or several individual sized portions. I like to make up an extra batch while I am making it to put in the freezer for a quick family pizza night meal at a later time! If eating immediately, bake until about half done and then add your toppings and continue baking. If saving for a later meal, bake until lightly done and then refrigerate or freeze for later use. For best results, bake on a pizza stone! *Tip- I laid a pan on top of the crust while baking to prevent large air bubbles from forming while baking.
Next, comes the sauce.
Love this sauce recipe! Quick, easy and so delicious!! And just the right amount of zing!! Smother the crust with this awesome sauce!
Next, come the toppings. Everyone has their favorites. I will take you through our favorite line-ups…
Yes, you can still keep things health and still be tasty!! Our first layer consists of fresh spinach and tomatoes. Yes- SPINACH! Good for you and great to add a little anywhere you can! You’ll never really even taste it here! For the tomatoes- Romas work nice for pizza, but any kind will do.
Starting to look yummy!! But, we have LOTS more good stuff to add! Next layer- my personal favorite- MUSHROOMS! Fresh too- none of those canned slimy things if you can avoid them!
Now were talking!! Mmmm, I can almost taste it already! A few more things and we’ll be ready to pop it into the oven! This would be a good place to have the oven warming up if you don’t already! OK, what’s next? Fresh peppers. Red, yellow or orange. We don’t use green peppers. Did you know there is really no such thing as a green pepper? They are just immature (unripe) red, yellow or orange peppers. And, as with all fresh produce – the more mature and ripe – the more nutrients! So, we use the sweet, ripe varieties!
Wow, I am getting hungry just working on this post!!
OK – the next ingredient might seem a little odd to most. But, it sure seems more appropriate than putting little fish, like anchovies on a pizza to me!! Balsamic roasted asparagus!! Simply cut asparagus spears into thirds, put in a shallow pan with a dab of olive oil and a good splash of balsamic vinegar and roast in a hot oven for several minutes turning to coat with marinade a couple of times. I fix up a batch and keep it in the frig ready for pizza night.
Now, what next? To be honest – this would be enough and it wold be great without anything else! But, my guys like a hearty pizza, so we’ll go a little further! Now, I know many of you are thinking you couldn’t possibly have real, tasty pizza without some meat on it. I know, I know….we were pepperoni connoisseurs for many years ourselves! However, knowing what I know now about processed meats and how bad they are for you, I refuse to bring them into the house to feed to my family! (Topic for another post someday, let’s get back to the pizza!) So, anyway, if you choose, there are some good plant-based meat alternatives out there available. Here are a couple we use on pizzas that we like.
The first is this Mexican Chipotle flavored variety of sausage. Pretty spicy and when sliced thin, even resembles pepperoni. A tad too spicy for me, so this goes on the portion my husband Louis and son Trevor will be eating!
Another option we like are these smokey tempeh strips. They taste along the lines of bacon. I cut them into small pieces and spread them around the pizza for a bit of added flavor. And, then of course, there is the final topping…cheese. Now, what to do about that since we have basically gone vegan and cheese is not on the list of foods we consume. Again, we could stop here and it would be awesome!
This is the non-dairy variety of cheese we like to use. Plant-based, made with almonds! Tasty enough I can’t keep my son Trevor from grabbing a nibble of it all by itself when he comes through the kitchen and I am making pizza! Spread a sprinkling over the top, and it is ready to go into the oven!
Use you pizza peel to slip it into the oven onto the pizza baking stone and you have the recipe for tasty pizza perfection!!
Now, tell me this doesn’t look delicious!!
I can assure you it WAS!! Every last bite of it! 😉
Want the recipes for the delicious home-made whole wheat crust and the home-made sauce? Follow this link to our website for recipes!
Since Old Man Winter canceled our first attempt at having our pizza night, the group decided this was too good of a theme to pass up and not be a part of, so on March 24th, we had another go at it and I am happy to report Old man Winter cooperated with us and it was a huge success! We brought the zesty home-made sauce and the crust dough all ready for everyone to roll out and make their own personal pizza pies. Below are some photos of some of the pizzas as they were ready to go into the oven showing the varying tastes of our members.
As you can see – they all look YUMMY!!!
For those who are utilizing a gluten-free diet, we would like to offer these links to some crust alternatives that will meet that requirement –
Also, while we were each making our own tasty version of pizza, we shared some traditional pizza making tools that make the job easier and give professional quality results.
First- The Pastry Cloth.
My Granny gave me one of these many years ago an I have used it many times over the years to roll out everything from her cherished dumpling and biscuit recipes to all sorts of pastries and baked goods. Very handy and makes things quick and easy and helps with quick clean up. Mine isn’t this fancy- but really like the idea of the measurements printed on this one- might have to give it a try myself! I have used a rolling pin cover as well, but don’t find it as helpful as the pastry cloth itself.
Here is a brief article on using a pastry cloth.
The Wooden Pastry Roller
The pastry roller is great for helping to roll and smooth out that dense, sticky and elastic pizza dough! I like this as opposed to a regular rolling pin because you can roll it out from the center to leave a nice thick crust around the edge. We like crust here at our house! A regular rolling pin will make your crust a uniform thickness.
The Dough Docker
Actually, this is something I haven’t utilized previously but plan to buy with my next Amazon order! It punches small holes in the crust to keep large bubbles form forming while baking. Awesome, as I have seen some pretty big bubbles form in our crusts before!
The Pizza Peel
This handy item is for getting your big flimsy, sticky crust into the oven to be baked! Ever have the perfect crust all rolled out only to make a mes of it trying to get it into the oven? This little gem will make it a snap!
Yes, plain old cornmeal- essential for a great professional quality home-made pizza. It is the “ball bearings” that get your beautiful crust to slide easily off your pizza peel and into the oven without ending up a sticky, lumped up mess!
The Pizza Baking Stone
This is essential for that great pizzeria-quality crust – perfectly baked to be crispy on the bottom and tender inside. I like a big one so that we can make small individual pizzas and have room to bake several at the same time.
The Pizza Cutter
Of course, the last item is the popular pizza cutter to get the full pizzeria experience. I prefer one with a larger circumference cutting wheel on it as the deeper your pizza and toppings are, the center screw mechanism will drag through your toppings with the smaller ones.
Here are a couple of tutorials on Youtube on rolling out a pizza crust and using a pizza peel and baking stone.
I would also like to share some vegan pizza cookbooks I recently came across – Look to have some good recipes and ideas for mixing things up and trying some new varieties. We hope to try some ourselves soon!
So, there you have it – all the steps, recipes and things you need to make your own awesome pizzeria-style pizza right in your own kitchen! Mix it up, try some new toppings and crusts and have fun with it! I know our family would hate to give up our weekly family pizza night! In in the cold winter months, it is usually pizza and a movie night! Think we are going to take it out to the grill/fire pit this summer!!
Happy pizza making!
ANOTHER UPDATE!! 5-21-2014
Well, we just keep finding new ways to make pizza! I recently came across a recipe for deep dish pizza that intrigued me, so we tried it here at home.
The more I messed around with it, the better it got! The original recipe called for some spelt flour. Well, I have just about every known type of flour there is – garbanzo bean, coconut, almond, oat and whole wheat of course and more. But, no spelt flour in the house. So I decided to go with a mixture of whole wheat and oat flour instead. GREAT – family loved it! Next time I went to fix it…oh no! Out of the oat flour!! Now, as a crunchy gal, I know I could make my own as I did have some oats on hand, but, I opted to try something else instead. I Used 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 organic, unbleached white flour. WOW!! Even better! It was deeper and fluffier! I believe we have fixed it nearly twice a week since making this new crust discovery!!
To perfect the process, I even bought a new pan! I bought a 12″ cheesecake pan (see it here) that works great! (I would have bought a 14″ if I could have found one!) Build and bake your pizza in it, then simply pull off the outer rim to serve without messing it up! It is non- stick, so clean up is easy too! I would advise, however, to scoot your pizza over onto a different pan or surface before cutting with a sharp pizza cutter or knife as they will scratch the non-stick surface. Actually, I have been just using one on my plastic spatulas to cut and serve it right from this pan. You don’t have to have this type of pan to fix this recipe- first time I made I used a 13″ x 9″ Pyrex glass dish and that worked just fine….something about pizzas needing to be ROUND though…. 🙂
I bet you are wanting the recipe by now! Ok…here you go!
Deep Dish Whole Wheat Pizza Crust Recipe
2 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 cups warm (not hot) water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water, stir and let stand for 10 minutes. Add oil, salt, garlic powder and honey. Whisk briefly. Add flours about 1/2 cup at a time and mix well. Add a bit more flour if necessary if it is till too sticky, although this dough recipe will me more “moist” and “soft” than the previous recipe above. Cover bowl with a damp dish towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 55 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Pour dough into pan and pat with flour-coated fingers or spatula to the cover bottom of pan. Push up a rim of crust around the edges if you like. Add topping ingredients of your choice. Bake for 18 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for a couple of minutes and remove outer rim of pan and serve! Yummy!!
Hungry yet??? 🙂
I discovered a vegan cheese sauce that you can try to top it as well if you like!
Vegan Deep Dish Cheese Sauce
2 cups cashews
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Done! Also be good to top other dishes or even use as a dip as well!
So, there you have it – LOTS of options to make your own favorite version of pizza or even mix it up and do something different each time!
Have fun and Be Healthy!!