A pizza, by any other name, would smell … just as delicious. 🙂
For this week’s Meat-Free Friday, I’m starting the series with an old Lenten stand-by: Pizza! Pizza can easily be meatless — contrary to what any fan of a “Meat-Lover’s” pizza pie will tell you. While meaty toppings are often quite tasty, vegetarian pies on Fridays are such a great Lenten meal. Here are 5 Vegetarian Pizzas to try on a Friday.
Fun Fact: I’ll also throw in a BONUS recipe for whole grain dough that you can make at home. If you’re pursuing healthy eats in general, why not go whole hog (er, whole … vegetarian hog?) and try your own dough? Happy eating!
First, the dough recipe — this basic Whole Grain Dough makes enough for 2-3 large pizzas, or 3-4 smaller pizzas. If you don’t have all of the ingredients on hand, most grocery stores sell their own pre-made whole wheat dough.
Whole Grain Dough — adapted from original “Boule” dough in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day
- 3 cups lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast (2 packets)
- 1 tbsp table salt, or 1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 1/2 cups wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole grain rye flour
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
Here’s what you do:
- Combine water, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir gently. Slowly add flours and flax seed meal, stirring carefully with a wooden spoon. (You may need some elbow grease towards the end!) If the dough becomes very difficult to stir together, add up to 1/4 cup additional water.
- Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel; allow to rise at room temperature for 2 hours. After rising, the dough is ready to use. However, dough will be easier to handle after refrigerating a few hours / overnight.
- On baking day, sprinkle the top with flour. Using a serrated knife, cut off a 1 lb-ish chunk (approx. the size of a cantaloupe). “Gluten-cloak” the dough by pinching the top and wrapping it around to the bottom of the dough ball. Turn dough ball a quarter-turn and repeat 3 times. (For detailed instructions and pictures of this process, click here.)
- Roll out dough using lots of flour on a pre-floured surface. Transfer to a cornmeal-covered baking sheet or pizza stone and bake with toppings and sauce for 20 minutes at 450°F.
5 Vegetarian Pizzas for Lenten Fridays, or any time of year!
Sauce: Tomato-based (for a recipe, try this one!)
Cheeses: Mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano (optional)
Toppings: Baby Portobello mushrooms, white button mushrooms, dried morel mushrooms (soaked in boiling hot water for 3-5 minutes or until reconstituted)
Herbs & Spices: Rosemary, Oregano and Basil
Pizza Two: Ricotta & Asparagus Flatbread (Courtesy of Martha Stewart)
Sauce: Infused Olive Oil (heat 1/4 cup in a small saucepan; add rosemary and lemon peel, heating on medium-low for 5-10 minutes. Strain oil to remove herbs & lemon — optional.), brushed onto pizza crusts. (You can make this individual or a large pizza.)
Cheese: Ricotta, scooped and roughly spread over pizza
Toppings: Asparagus (Sauteed in a saucepan over medium heat for 5-10 minutes)
Herbs & Spices: Grated lemon zest
Pizza Three: Classic Pizza Margherita
Sauce: None / lightly brushed olive oil
Cheese: Mozzarella, thickly sliced (ideally buffalo mozzarella — check your grocery store’s cheese case)
Toppings: Thick-sliced tomatoes, chopped cherry tomatoes, or a can of whole plum tomatoes, crushed slightly with a wooden spoon; fresh basil, chopped in a chiffonade or left whole
Herbs & Spices: Just the basil. A Neapolitan classic!
Pizza Four: GKG’s Classic Pesto Pizza
Sauce: Homemade or store-bought pesto (basil + pine nuts + parmesan + olive oil + salt & pepper = processed until smooth-ish)
Cheese: Mozzarella, Parmesan, small chunks of Feta (all good options)
Toppings: Sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced yellow squash / zucchini, or thinly sliced eggplant
Herbs & spices: Additional chopped basil
Pizza Five: Winter Roasted Veggie White Pizza
Sauce: Bechamel or lightly brushed olive oil, infused with rosemary (see above)
Cheese: Spoonfuls of Ricotta, Mozzarella
Toppings: Oven-roasted butternut squash, red onions, carrots & parsnips (for oven-roasted veggies instructions, click here!)
Herbs & spices: Chopped rosemary, minced garlic / lightly sprinkled garlic salt
What are your favorite vegetarian pizzas? Which veggies, sauces and ideas did I miss in this little count-down? Any favorite cheeses, sauces & other fixins? Happy eating!