Today’s recipe for homemade vegan pizza with grilled eggplant and zucchini is perfect for those of us who want to eat healthier, yet fondly remember the pizza from their pre-vegan days.
My pizza has all of the comforting qualities of traditional pizza, yet it’s much healthier because it isn’t loaded with cheese or meat.
Vegan pizza oftentimes can turn into a high-maintenance disaster. Even if it tastes okay, it might still call for too many processed or store-bought ingredients that can contain too much sodium or traces of dairy/eggs.
So how can we make a healthier pizza? Here are a few steps:
– Make your own dough instead of buying it (the list of ingredients on a package of store-bought pizza dough always scares me with all those hard-to-pronounce ingredients!);
– Make your own marinara sauce, or if pressed for time, buy a jar with a short list of simple ingredients at the store (beware of high fructose corn syrup and artificial additives!);
– Load it up with veggies! For this recipe, I grilled eggplant and zuccini to make the pizza more filling, and then topped it with an array of fresh vegetables – this way they come out crispier and less processed overall after baking the pie.
– Cheese or no cheese? While a lot of vegans are accustomed to the taste of cheeseless pizza, most of us still have a long way getting there.
You can find a number of homemade cheese substitutes online, or opt for a store-bought variety. My only advice: stay away from vegan cheeses that have a long list of hard-to-pronounce ingredients!
Making this pizza can turn into an all-day affair, but it doesn’t have to! Planning ahead will help you save time.
How to Plan Out Making Your Vegan Pizza:
I recommend that you make the dough in the morning and forget about it until you’re ready to proceed with the rest. If making your own marinara sauce, do it the day before – or use a store-bought version as suggested above.
Prepare vegetables in advance (about an hour before you assemble the pizza). Grill eggplant and zucchini at the same time as you’re getting the crust ready.
Ever had those soggy homemade pizza crust disasters? A pizza stone eliminates that. Plus, some brands are very cheap, and still do a good job! Also, you can bake cookies on a pizza stone later.
A pizza stone is a great addition to any kitchen: since most of us are unlikely to splurge on a specialized pizza oven in our houses, using a pizza stone brings us at least one step closer to a better pizza crust.
Start preheating the oven with the pizza stone inside well in advance to let the stone get very hot.
The only advice: when washing the stone after use, do not use dish detergent! The material of most stones is very porous, and using soap can make your future baked goods taste funny.
For vegetable toppings, I first grilled some eggplant and zucchini (if you put them fresh on a pizza, they won’t have enough time in the oven to cook through).
Then I chopped up a number of other vegetables – mushrooms, black olives, red onions, yellow bell peppers, but you can use whatever combo you like.
These vegetables went on the pizza on top of eggplant and zucchini, and then were topped with vegan mozzarella.
By the way, you can totally skip adding more vegetables on top of this vegan pizza – eggplant and zucchini can be enough.
My pizza spent about 10 min in the oven at 450°F until the crust was firm and browned.
After I took it out of the oven, I topped half of the pizza surface with some torn-up spicy kale and fresh basil (my husband didn’t want any of those). The crust cooks a little more on top of the pizza stone if you don’t take the pizza off of it.
Do you have a favorite vegan pizza recipe? What kind of cheese or pizza toppings do you like to use? Share with us in the comments!
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