June 20, 2010

Vegetarian Pizza

In the past it was commonly believed that pizza was not really a healthy food. Part of the reason for this is that it was put in the same group as other fast foods, such as hamburgers and fries. This is a major misconception, as pizza can actually be a highly nutritional meal. There are health benefits to pizza, especially home made where I can control the ingredients.

I made a crust with whole wheat flour. Soy, rice, or bean flour can be used for a gluten free pizza.  I brushed a little olive oil on the crust, spread some tomato paste, sprinkled some toasted garlic and oregano, caramelized onions, chopped tomatoes, fresh zucchini and crookneck squash slices, organic mozzarella cheese and chunks of sesame garlic tempeh marinated in shoyu.  I baked it for about 20 minutes at 425ยบ.  Just omit the cheese for a vegan pizza.

Pizza Crust

1 tablespoon yeast
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon agave
1 tablespoon oil
2½ to 3 cups whole wheat flour

Soften yeast in  2 tablespoons warm water in a large mixing bowl.  In about 5 minutes when the yeast is dissolved, add remaining 1 cup water, salt, agave, oil, and 2 cups flour, mixing until dough can be formed into a ball.  Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead in remaining flour as necessary to make a smooth dough.  Knead for 5 to 10 minutes.

Place dough in an oiled bowl, I used coconut oil.   Turn so that entire surface is greased.  Cover with a cloth, and let rise in a warm spot a minimum of 2 hours or as long as 10 hours.  When you are ready to assemble the pizza, punch down the dough, let rest for 5 to 10 minutes to make handling easier.  Divide dough in half and shape.  Bake on a baking sheet or pizza pan dusted with cornmeal.  This dough can be prepared and frozen for use at a later date.

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