The next time you have a late-night pizza craving, try and resist the temptation to call the local pizza joint.
Pizza is, hands down, one of the fastest, easiest, and most versatile meals you can make at home. From prep to chomping down on that hot, savory slice of pie, you’ll have your craving satisfied in much less time than it takes to order one.
One of the best things about homemade pizza is that it’s relatively cheap to make, and you can put literally anything you want on it. You can create the perfect pizza for you, whether you like yours plain, overloaded with toppings, or even sweet (if you’re into the whole dessert pizza trend, that is). It can be super healthy too and easily tweaked to accommodate a vegan diet.
In fact, regular pizza crusts on their own are already 100% vegan-friendly. This means that, with the right toppings, you can enjoy a delicious, mouth-watering pizza any time you want - totally guilt-free. Read on to find out how you too can make great vegan pizza base at home.
Choosing a Vegan Pizza Base Recipe
You have two options to make a vegan pizza crust: either you use a pre-made vegan pizza crust mix to speed up the process and create a great-tasting pizza base each time, or - if have the time and want to customize your pizza down to its crust - you can make one from scratch.
There are tons of recipes online that claim to make the best vegan pizza crust. Most recipes generally use the same six or so ingredients - flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and oil. You can even add herbs, spices, or even vegan parmesan to the mixture to create a delicious custom crust.
The kind of flour you should use depends on the kind of crust you want to make. All-purpose flour works for most pizza recipes, including Sicilian, thin crust, New York-style, and deep dish pizzas. Bread flour will give your crust extra crispiness on the outside and chewiness on the inside. You can also use whole wheat or gluten-free flour as well.
There are other alternatives to flour, especially if you want a healthier pizza, have particular dietary restrictions, or just want to try something new. You can use quinoa, sweet potato, rice flour, almond flour, lentils, or even cauliflower for a healthy, low-carb pizza crust.
Making a Vegan Pizza Base
Making your own pizza crust might seem like a daunting task at first, especially if you compare it to the convenience of ordering pizza or buying pre-made pizza bases. But with a little patience and lots of practice, you’ll be making restaurant-worthy pizzas in no time - and for a fraction of the cost.
You don’t even need to have fancy equipment, either. A wood-fired oven is great, but a regular oven or even a grill are all common kitchen appliances you can use to make the perfect homemade pizza. If you want to take your pizza-making a little more seriously, you can invest in a pizza stone or sheet pan to give you a more evenly-baked, chewy, and crispy crust.
The first and arguably most important step in any vegan pizza crust recipe is preheating your oven. Most online recipes will tell you to preheat to at least 350F, but the higher you can get it, the better. This will give the oven enough heat to quickly and thoroughly cook your pizza crust so that there are no doughy undercooked parts. If you’re using a pizza stone, you should put it in at this step.
Combine yeast, sugar, and warm water in a bowl. The sugar will activate the yeast and help it rise. Let the mixture sit until the yeast is fully dissolved and slightly frothy.
Mix together the flour, salt, and oil. Add the yeast mixture and mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are fully incorporated and the dough is slightly firm. Knead the dough to make it smooth and elastic, and to distribute the ingredients evenly. If the dough is too sticky, you can add a little more flour until it’s the right consistency.
Form the dough into a ball. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a fridge towel. Let the dough sit in a warm temperature until it expands and doubles in size. The dough will be fluffier, softer, and easier to work with the longer you let it rest. It’s recommended to let it rest for at least 5-15 minutes, but you can prepare the dough ahead and let it rest overnight for a smoother and lighter dough.
On a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil or non-stick spray, spread out the dough into your desired shape. You can use your hands or a rolling pin if necessary to push the dough out from the middle to the edges. Be careful not to spread the dough out too thin or it won’t be able to support the weight of the toppings. ¼ inch of dough will produce a nice, classic thin crust.
Pre-bake the vegan pizza base (without any toppings) in the oven for 20-30 minutes (at 350F), or until the crust is a light, golden brown. This step is crucial in making sure that you don’t get any soggy, undercooked dough beneath the toppings.
Once your vegan pizza base is pre-baked, you can now add whatever toppings you desire! Add a tomato-based sauce for a classic pizza or keep it light with a drizzle of olive oil. For a truly vegan pizza, you can skip the cheese or opt for a vegan alternative. You could even top it with fruits or candies if you want something to satisfy your sweet tooth - the sky’s the limit.
Then here comes the easiest (and best) part of the entire process - enjoying your yummy, healthy, homemade, cruelty and guilt-free vegan pizza. Happy eating!