Sometimes I have to curb my desire for culinary innovation and just surrender to the classics. Enter my Easy Vegan Pepperoni Pizza.
Bubbly, melty Daiya Mozzarella meets dreamy marinara smothering my homemade Walnut Flax Wheat Pizza Crust. This crust is incredibly moist and fluffy. The edges stay fluffy and crisp and chewy while the topping-covered parts stay tender - crisp up the bottom if you'd like too. The crust softness is very much like a deep dish pizza crust without the dish. Perky pepperoni, thinly slices red onion and a few more favorites on top. Don't forget the homemade vegan Parmesan and red pepper flakes too. Have a pizza night!..
So since this is billed as an "easy" pepperoni pizza .. I made the crust, bought the pepperoni..
Vegan Pepperoni. The last time I tried vegan pepperonis on pizza I could've sworn I hated them. Kinda like the first time I tried nutritional yeast and hated it too. Second time is a charm for me I guess. (lesson: always try foods at least twice before saying you "hate" them!) So interestingly, this time I loved my Tofurky brand vegan pepperonis. Totally processed food. But for today, I'm indulging because these skinny circles taste spicy and flavorful - plus they make my pizza party super easy.
For the vegan cheese: Daiya Mozzarella.
But so far this is just too easy, right? Well here is where you can get fancy - the crust. I baked my own yeasted pizza crust - filled with healthy ingredients like nutritional yeast, flax seeds, walnuts and whole wheat flour - moist and fluffy. Upon baking, you can crisp the bottom of the crust nicely if that is what you like - I do this by transferring my almost fully cooked pizza directly to my oven rack for the last few minutes of cooking.
And yes if you want to get all super fancy and make your out seitan pepperonis and use some vegan cashew ricotta cheese instead of Daiya - go. for. it. All-approved by me.
But for easy. Classic. Yummy. House smells like an NYC pizzeria pizza night, simply make this recipe and indulge.
Now for a glimpse at MY pizza night pretense.. Yup, this is my life.. sleeping kitty in studio? check. stuffed bunny? check. vegan pizza hot from the oven? check. perfect overcast day photography lighting? check. happiness? big check!..
Now crank up the oven and make this pie!..
Classic Vegan Pepperoni Cheese Pizza with flax walnut wheat crust
makes 2 BIG mini pizzas
Flax Walnut Wheat Crust
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
2 tsp baking powder
1 packet yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup raw walnuts + 1/4 cup nutritional yeast + 2 tsp flax seeds (pulsed into meal = vegan Parm)
*more info on this vegan Parm recipe here on my Family Kitchen post
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
2 balls of dough (from above recipes)
toppings: red onion slices, as desired
chopped garlic or garlic powder
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
1 cup Daiya Mozzarella vegan cheese
10-20 vegan pepperonis
red pepper flakes, as desired
fresh basil (if you are lucky enough to have on hand)
simple sauce (or use your favorite pasta marinara sauce):
1 cup san marzano tomatoes, smashed
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp black olives, chopped
a few dashes dried Italian herbs
salt and pepper to taste
1. Start the dough about an hour before you want to serve pizzas. I let my dough rise for about 45 minutes and that worked well.
Combine the yeast, warm water and sugar in a small bowl. Stir. Let sit for about five minutes.
In a separate large bowl combine all the dry ingredients (flour, vwg, baking powder, walnut mixture, salt). Add in the olive oil and red pepper flakes.
Note: For the walnut mixture, you will want to pulse the walnuts, flax seeds and nutritional yeast in a Vitamix until a meal/powder forms. Salt to taste. This recipe makes vegan Parmesan cheese.
Fold the water into all the remaining ingredients in the large bowl. Add in additional flour as needed to get a knead-able texture - not too wet and not too dry. Knead into a ball for a few minutes. Keep dough in mixing bowl and cover with towel. Allow dough to rise for at least a half hour - about an hour is ideal.
2. You can use any basic marinara sauce for pizza sauce or use my recipe above. Prepare the sauce by blending in a Vitamix or simply smashing everything roughly by hand with a fork. Chop the tomatoes if they do not mush apart by themselves.
3. When the dough has risen .. Heat your oven to 415 degrees.
4. Roll out your dough - roll out one pie or split into two balls for two mini pizzas.
5. Add the sauce.
6. Add a sprinkle of herbs, red pepper flakes and garlic powder over top. EVOO drizzle optional.
7. Add the Daiya cheese.
8. Add the onion and pepperoni. Top with red pepper flakes and more spices. I also add on some of my vegan Parmesan (walnut/nutri yeast/flax mixture.)
9. Bake for about 13-18 minutes for mini pizzas - depends on crust thickness and how crispy you like it. Broil for one minute to bubble the Daiya cheese on top. note: the pepperoni package says to add the pepperoni with only 2 minutes remaining in cooking the pizza - I did not do this and found my pepperonis to be quite nice - I like them a little crispy.
Serve warm - fresh basil, red pepper flakes and vegan Parm is yum on top!
crafting the pizza..