Project Food Blog, Challenge #5: A Pizza Complex

178 comments

Pizza is sort of a touchy subject with me lately.

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Ordering a vegan pizza at a restaurant can prove to be a bit interesting at times.

Chefs come to the table and try to sweet talk me, pleading with their delicious Italian accent for just a sprinkle of cheese. One time, a chef flat out refused to make his pie without cheese, throwing his hands up in dismay and washing himself clean of impure, cheeseless thoughts.

And this is how a Pizza Complex develops.

And I’m worn down.

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When I found out that the next Project Food Blog challenge was to put a unique spin on pizza, I was scared.

I wanted to run away and never look back. Bye bye, Foodbuzz, it has truly been a slice.

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Running away to the woods allowed me to clear my head. Over the course of a few days minutes- and a lot of Pizza Complex Rumination- I felt like myself again. I shouted, “I will show the world that a vegan pizza is not just ‘a worse-tasting pizza without cheese’, but a beautiful work of art!”

And then I screamed like a baby after seeing a creepy man in the bushes with a camera.

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Wait. Is that my husband?

Anyways. I found myself in the kitchen once again, ready to conquer my Pizza Complex once and for all…

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Roasted Tomato, Onion, and Basil Pesto Pizza with Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Here’s What You’ll Need to prepare:

  • Herb-infused Pizza Dough
  • Vegan Parmesan Cheese
  • Vegan Pesto
  • Garlic-infused oil
  • Roasted Tomato, Onion, Garlic, and Basil topping

 

For instructions, start to finish, see the attached PDF. The dough, cheese, and pesto can be made ahead.

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Despite my newfound conviction to rock a vegan pizza, there was one small catch…

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I’ve had a few traumatic pizza dough flops in the past.

Making pizza dough that turns into a tough ball of gluten is not something one forgets easily. It haunts you in your sleep until you convince yourself that you can actually live a fairly happy life without ever trying to make pizza dough again.

That is, until this challenge threw me for a loop.

Pizza doh, indeed.

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For 6 hours on Friday night I was a student again.

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I studied, I practiced, and I vowed to become a Master of Pizza Dough. It turns out making pizza dough is incredibly easy, but my glowing pride was no less. I can also tell you that cocoa powder, chili powder, or nutritional yeast infused pizza dough all taste horrible. Bad, bad things happened.

I would not be here today without my You Tube Pizza Mentor, Albert.

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He rules.

Also, to the red wine for making the 10 dough trials seem like I was at an all night rave.

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I tested 5 different pizza dough recipes and the one that worked best for me involved no fancy machine or special dough hooks, just some old-fashioned elbow grease!

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Kneading the dough was hypnotic and calming as I tested batch, after batch.

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With each trial, I felt a bit more comfortable with the dough and it actually became fun!

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When the dough is ready it will be soft, smooth, and no longer tacky to touch.

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Now, make the sauce and toppings.

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I had some CSA tomatoes, onion, garlic, and basil to use up and I figured they would work well together.

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and chop.

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Coat the chopped veggies with a homemade olive oil sauce and roast for about 35-40 minutes at 400F.

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Inhale deeply.

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Now whip up the Vegan pesto!

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and then the Vegan parmesan cheese.

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The house smells like a dream right about now.

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When your dough is ready, punch the air out one final time.

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I tested three popular pizza baking methods:

1) Pizza pan –> Soft crust, soft interior

2) Back of a baking sheet –> Soft crust, soft interior

3) Pizza Stone –> Authentic, crunchy crust, with soft interior

The pizza stone won by a landslide!

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Sprinkle cornmeal over your Pizza Peel to prevent sticking.

Now for the part that I was terrified of….shaping the dough!

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I found that the best way to work with the dough was to just let gravity do most of the work.

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Gently hold and rotate the dough allowing gravity to pull the sides down ever so slightly.

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When you have something that resembles a circle, place it on your Peel.

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Gently spread it out.

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Now pinch the sides to form a crust.

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Excitement builds.

Spread on the sautéed garlic infused oil to keep the crust moist and flavourful.

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Don’t be shy with the pesto. This is the best part!

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Now spread on the Roasted Onion, Tomato, Garlic, and Basil mixture.

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and finally, a generous dusting of the vegan Parmesan Cheese to finish it off!

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Slide the pizza onto your stone which has been pre-heating at 500F for 1 hour.

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Magic happens.

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I liked what I saw. A lot.

After 15 minutes, your crust will be golden and crisp and your veggies will begin to blacken around the edges.

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It’s time.

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Your husband, who has been installing hardwood flooring all morning, will magically appear at the right moment.

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He salivates and inhales 3 slices of pizza.

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The pesto makes a wonderful dip for the thick, crunchy crust.

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Pizza Complex Defeated.

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Enjoy your delicious pizza while discussing dessert

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I tend to get a little carried away at times.

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This is my official entry for Project Food Blog Challenge #5. Voting begins at 9am EST on Monday October 18th. If you enjoyed this post I would greatly appreciate your votes in carrying me into the next round! Click here to vote. Thank you!

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{ 178 comments… read them below or add one }

Winnie October 17, 2010

Not sure I have commented before, by your pfb posts have all been really amazing. I am not vegan, but I WANT YOUR PIZZA. Beautiful job, as always!

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Lily @ Lily's Health Pad October 17, 2010

Your crust looks better than the crust I buy at Whole Foods! I love pizzas with pesto bases too.

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Jenny October 17, 2010

Girl! You Rock! I have to try making pizza your way. I have the opposite of pizza complex, as in I make it all the time. And I am truly lucky that I live by a store that not only makes gluten free crusts (for people who can’t tolerate it, unlike me, but I appreciate the option) but they have vegan pizzas with vegan crusts and vegan cheeze. It is my favorite weekend meal.

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Jae October 17, 2010

Angela, this looks AMAZEBALLS :)

You might even reform me, a tomato-hater into one that lurveess it :)

Oh and I totally loved the ending, so quirky! ^^

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Emily October 17, 2010

Hello vegan pizza heaven!! It looks gorgeous and amaaazingly good! Awesome job, way to persevere (I would have used the wine, too)!!

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DebZ October 17, 2010

i can’t WAIT to vote for this! you so SUCH a beautiful job – truly lovely post. (btw, it rarely even occurs to me to put cheese on my pizza when i’m making it at home. but then again, pizza is often a means for cleaning out the refrigerator around here :)

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Ashley October 17, 2010

WOW! I have never ever seen a homemade pizza crust turn out SO perfectly. Awesome job Ange!! Love the bright colors too :)

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tina October 17, 2010

omg angela- this looks absolutely AMAZING. i was so excited to see what you’d make since i’m also vegan and know your frustrations… but you definitely delivered!!!!

i. need. to. make. this. asap.

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erica October 17, 2010

that pizza looks amazing!!!!
and that picture of you running in the woods is BEAUTIFUL and frame-worthy!!!

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Junia October 17, 2010

Seriously, I am in awe of your chef creativity + your photography! Can’t wait to vote for you!

Also, I have never heard of vegan parm! What is it made of?? I miss pizza a tad bit… since I am extremely lactose intolerant, I haven’t had a pizza in ages!

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ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska October 17, 2010

Your pizza looks amazing! Who needs cheese when food is that good? :) This lactose intolerant girl most certainly does not.

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christyn @ All Ways Nutritious October 17, 2010

FABULOUS!! i have only made kraft pizza dough from scratch and now i think i will give it a shot…you explain it so well…thank you…it looks absolutely delicious!!! the fruit pizza looks awesome as well. you have my vote!

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Claire (Low Impact Fashionista) October 17, 2010

I never was much of a pizza person, looks like things may be changing…especially if dessert pizza is included in the deal ;)

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Mary @ Bites and Bliss October 17, 2010

This looks SO fresh and colorful!! I’m not a huge huge fan of pizza, but I’d gobblie this up in a heart beat- yum!!

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Stefanie October 17, 2010

That is the best looking pizza I have seen in a long time. You have my vote. Now I must try to recreate your master piece. :)

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Rachel @ Fit Fun and Fabulous October 17, 2010

OMG! That looks insanely delicious. You are so amazing with your patience to create these wonderful, delicious recipes that are vegan but still absolutely wonderful tasting. It is really obvious in your posts that you are doing what you love, and that is so great!

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Maddie October 17, 2010

Oh my gosh that pizza looks amazing! I am definitly going to make it soon :D You are truly such an amazing cook, Angela. You inspire me every day to create vegan dishes like your own.
Thanks for sharing this recipe and you have my vote!

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Lauren October 17, 2010

Oh my goodness Angela!! This looks beyond amazing!!!!! Wow, not only the most beautiful pizza I’ve ever seen, but it looks out of this world delicious! You are too much girl. Good luck!!!

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Kelly October 17, 2010

What a beautiful pizza! Congrats on conquering your fear o’ dough. :)

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Mandiee October 17, 2010

Absolutely beautiful! My mom, grandmother, and I love making pizza together, but since I’m vegan, and my mom just cut cheese out of her diet, and my grandmother loves the stuff, pizza making can be a bit hard. However, I think this recipe would satisfy us all. Your pizza looks like a work of art!

Have a lovely day!
xox

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Sarah October 17, 2010

Yum, your pizza looks delicious! I haven’t yet conquered my own fear of making homemade pizza- and I’m not vegan. Thanks for taking on the challenge-for all our sakes!

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Joslyn @ missfitbliss October 17, 2010

That looks so good! I agree that working dough is very therapeutic and fun. I love the pics of the process – my favorite one is of all the veggies lined up before going to the chopping block:) So vivid.

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Camille October 17, 2010

That looks incredible!
The photos are making me salivate :)

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Cara Craves... October 17, 2010

Wow Angela!
It looks perfect.
I can tell by the shots of the dough that you mastered it for sure!
Yummers!

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Kris October 17, 2010

Gorgeous pizza and LOL at the crazy man in the woods. Cute and too funny!

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Cate October 17, 2010

Vegan or not, this looks like the TASTIEST pizza I’ve ever seen. I have a feeling another readers choice award is coming your way!

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steph@stephsbitebybite October 17, 2010

You are incredible! I wish I had the baking/cooking stamina that you do. You never get defeated and aren’t scared to be honest about your failures. That’s why I love your site! You prove that sometimes it takes a few tries to get things right. Wish you could package up that pizza and send it to me! :)

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Imwaytoobusy October 17, 2010

I would give anything to have your cooking patience! That dessert pizza looks absolutely amazing!

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Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) October 17, 2010

Oh my gosh, taste aside, that may be the most BEAUTIFUL pizza I’ve seen in my life. Holy colors!

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Tiffany @ Eat, Run, Write, Love October 17, 2010

That looks like it was a lot of work, but so worth it. Great job!!!

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Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) October 17, 2010

Holy cooking mojo! Ange, you REALLY rocked this one :D I am in awe of you baking skills these days. What a beautifully fluffy pizza dough. … and the toppings you used. WOW! Brian and I ordered pizza for dinner last night… Do you deliver ? ;P HEHE!

I need one of those wooden paddles to ‘toss’ my pizza in the oven. I would love to see a demo video of you making the dough!

Hope you and Eric had a lovely weekend, -m

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Amanda (Sweet and Savory Vegan) October 17, 2010

Plain and simple, your pizza looks divine. I am actually salivating. :-)

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Stacie October 17, 2010

I’m salilvating too! THANK YOU for putting this into a PDF file. It’s been saved to my OSG Recipe File :) You’ll be getting my one and only vote on foodbuzz….of course you are the only one deserving of it. Way to pull through! Any pics of the new floor?!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 17, 2010

Thank you!

Pics of new floor coming soon once he has the baseboards installed. :) Its coming together!

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Gree October 17, 2010

That looks so good, I admire your resolve, I don’t know that I could test five different dough recipes. Any tips for a gluten free crust? I have tried a number of recipes and I am not happy with any of them and my poor Italian daughter is craving a good dough…I will definitely use the topping recipe, that looks delicious!

Reply

Kristy October 17, 2010

That looks amazing, you have my vote!!! I probably would have quit after the 2nd dough so congrats! :) Loved all the pics!!

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Amy October 17, 2010

That (or those, I guess) look so great! Just as pretty and colorful after baking as before. I’ll definitely be trying them. :)

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Sana October 17, 2010

You have outdone yourself once again!

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Alaina October 17, 2010

You.Are.Amazing!!

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Kirsten October 17, 2010

Your pizza looks absolutely amazing!! Congratulations on conquering your pizza complex. I wish I could order your pizza right about now! :)

Reply

kim October 17, 2010

you are absolutely amazing! that pizza looks soooo yummy!

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