Recipe: Easy Cheaty Vegan Pizza

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It was a bit of a revelation to me when I realised that you don’t need to have cheese on a pizza. You can have the taste of the bread base, the sweet tang of the tomato sauce, the fragrant hit of oregano and the flavours of the other toppings without the greasy sweetness of the cheese. (Not that I’m against greasy sweetness as a food group, you understand!)

Recently, my only taste of pizza has come from a take-away or an Italian restaurant, but I wanted to try and make my own. The thing stopping me is the amount of time it takes to mix, knead and rest the dough. OK – it’s the kneading that puts me off. Pizza is fast food and it shouldn’t require you stand by a kitchen surface working up a sweat for twenty minutes.

So I was really pleased to come across this recipe for a quick and easy pizza dough. No kneading. No resting. Just mix and go. (And there’s an advertising jingle if ever I remember one!)

I take issue with the recipe claiming that is serves 15. Not in my house it doesn’t. It served 1.5. That’s four, good sized wedges and two left over.

Vegan pizza

Recipe for the base
375g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
7g dried active baking yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
225ml hand-hot water

Add the dry ingredients to a bowl.
Mix in the water and oil.
Bring together to form a ball of dough.
Place on a greased baking tray and press out until it covers the tray.

Topping
1 tbsp garlic olive oil
6 sundried tomatoes (in oil)
6 char-grilled artichoke hearts (I got mine from Waitrose), the plain, tinned variety will do just as well
6 kalamata olives, stoned and sliced
2 tsp capers
1/4 red onion, finely sliced
1-2 tsp dried oregano

The reason I’m calling this a cheaty pizza is that I’m not bothering with a tomato sauce (although a nice, bottled pasta sauce would also be a good cheat!) Even though I wasn’t using any soggy-making ingredients I would still recommend you try the following step.

The oven should be pre-heated to 190C. Rub the pizza base with the garlic olive oil and place it into the oven without any other toppings for 5-10 minutes. This gives it a chance to form a crispy crust on the top which will resist the wetter ingredients when you put them on.

Bring the partially cooked base out of the oven. Sprinkle the toppings over the base and put back into the oven for 15-20 minutes to a total cooking time of 25 minutes.

This had all the good, bready taste of a ‘proper’ pizza and the slices held up to being eaten in the hand. It’s a little stodgier than the kneaded and rested pizza recipes, but it knocks any pre-bought pizza base well out of the park. It also passed the ‘breakfast test’ by the leftovers being just as good the following morning!

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