Project Food Blog, Challenge #5: A Pizza Complex

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on October 17, 2010

Pizza is sort of a touchy subject with me lately.


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.


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.


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.


Wait. Is that my husband?

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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


He rules.

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


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.



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.


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


and chop.


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.


Now whip up the Vegan pesto!

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and then the Vegan parmesan cheese.



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!


Sprinkle cornmeal over your Pizza Peel to prevent sticking.

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


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


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


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


Gently spread it out.


Now pinch the sides to form a crust.



Excitement builds.

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


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


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


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


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


Magic happens.


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.


He salivates and inhales 3 slices of pizza.


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



Pizza Complex Defeated.


Enjoy your delicious pizza while discussing dessert


I tend to get a little carried away at times.


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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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

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Natalye January 3, 2013 at 6:32 am

I was looking for a new kind of pizza dough and stumbled across this, and it is so much tastier than the boring standby I was using before, and a lot easier to manipulate! Thanks for sharing!!!

BTW, do you happen to know the calorie content for this crust, or a rough estimate?


Stephanie January 13, 2013 at 7:03 pm

I made Vegan Cauliflower Pizza Dough & wanted to chsre bc I’m sure you can perfect it! I am terrible and noting my measurements but here are the ingredients:
Riced Cauliflower
Shredded Almond Cheese
Ground Flax Seed
Vegan Parm Cheese

Mixed the following ingredients. Then putting parchment paper on a pizza pan. Spray parchment with EVOO & sprinkle generously with vegan parm cheese. then lay out cauliflower/almond cheese mixture & flatten into pan. Bake until firm. (Sorry I also don’t time my cooking…need to work on that). It was good enough for a carnivore to love!


Amber Quartermain January 18, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Hey Angela- Do you think I could use All Purpose Gluten Free flour instead of regular?


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Hi Amber, Im sorry Im not sure! I haven’t tried GF flour in any of my crusts before. I would try googling about it to see if you can find some recipes that have been tested this way. goodluck!


Maria April 2, 2013 at 10:16 am

Hi! I was wondering how you make your homemade olive oil sauce. Also, I’m new to the vegan world. How do you make vegan parmesan cheese and vegan pesto? My fiancé loves pizza and i’m trying to find some vegan pizza recipes and this one looks amazing and I really think he would love it :)


Frank Paul August 3, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Angela, just wanted to say…your recipes are so good! My boyfriend and I LOVE trying out things from Oh She Glows and we can’t wait to try this pizza…also enjoyed what you wrote about this one…very funny at times, thank you! :)

I went vegan a few months ago and don’t think I would have wanted to stick with it if I hadn’t found your website. I feel GREAT now, so much better than before going vegan…your recipes probably do make me glow. ;) Thanks again for all the wonderful things you share with us. I can’t wait for your book!

<3 Frank Paul


Chantal October 31, 2013 at 8:52 am

Very helpful and fun blog! Did you ever try making this pizza without oil? We try to avoid all oils, yes even olive oil, as they damage endothelial cells which can lead to heart attacks nd strokes (refer to Drs. Caldwell Esselstyn, John A McDougall, Neil Barnard, and Joel Fuhrman). For baking, I normally substitute oil for organic unsweetened applesauce. Would love to see your recipe for an oil-free vegan pizza if you have one. Thanks for all your work in the kitchen. You are a true culinary artist!


nomilk4me November 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm

DO you have the dough and pesto recipe or a link to them?


Karen Hummer April 25, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Loved the blog post and this pizza is mouthwatering to look at – making this weekend!!


Nina Vrolijk May 11, 2014 at 7:34 am

Hi Angela, I have been driving myself crazy the past hour trying to find this recipe again hahaha. Anyways, I’m making a meal plan for next week and I want to try and make this pizza. I have been reading the recipe and have a couple of questions. I want to be precise because in the past week I have made a couple of your recipes and due to me not reading the recipes carefully I messed up a couple of times :-\…

First question: Can I use whole grain bread flour?
Second : I do not eat processed or what is it called again (?) refined sugar. Is the white sugar essential for the dough?
Last question: I was wondering if the recipe for vegan parmesan is really enough to make the pesto with and have leftovers to sprinkle on top?

I hope you can help me. I know this recipe is a bit older ;-).

Nina xo


Erin May 27, 2014 at 10:44 am

I’ve been slowly switching my family to vegetarians and you’re blog has helped me get some new ideas and recipes. Thank you for so many great recipes! I made your vegan pesto last night for pizza and it was DELICIOUS! My husband loved it and had no idea it wasn’t a traditional pesto. My 2 1/2 year old daughter loved it so much she was using the left over as dip this morning for her snack. I’m so happy with all your recipes I purchased a copy go your book. Thank you so much for all the time you put into creating awesome real food and sharing it with others.


Manda January 4, 2015 at 11:27 pm

This looks amazing! I cannot wait to try this recipe! Thank you


Megan June 17, 2015 at 4:48 pm

Hello! I LOVE everything you produce and post! Thank you SO much! I do have a quick question, is this pizza recipe gluten free?
Thank you!!!

Reply November 20, 2016 at 9:52 am

I love this. That pizza looks amazing! Must try it! It looks perfect !


Restaurants supply February 27, 2018 at 3:44 am

i love this. and i love everything you psot. thanks for sharing .do you have pesto recipe ?


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