Currently it’s October which for my family means scary movies every night (it’s my turn in December when those cheesy holiday flicks come on). To comfort myself through the terrors, what could be better than a fully loaded homemade veggie pizza? No need for decadent toppings, just toss on seasonal vegetables and some fruit, some good tomato sauce or pesto and a sprinkling of cheese (we did half vegan and half regular). I highly suggest using a pizza stone if you have one but don’t fret if you don’t. A simple sheet pan or even a cast iron can do the trick. Get hunkered down with your large slice and congratulate yourself on a pizza pie that tastes better than delivered or Digiorno, not to mention much better for you!
Fully Loaded Veggie Pizza
- 1 recipe pizza dough, either store bought (I got a great whole wheat one from my local grocery store) or homemade
- I can tomato sauce
- I can diced tomatoes
- 1 garlic glove, minced
- Italian seasoning or a combination of dried oregano, basil, tarragon, fennel and thyme
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 large or 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into large rounds
- 1/4 a red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 white mushrooms, washed and sliced
- Handful jarred and pitted kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup fresh pineapple, chunked
- 1/2 freshly graded mozzarella or vegan shreds (I used Follow Your Heart Brand)
- Lots of red pepper flakes
- Cornmeal for dusting
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and once hot, add in the minced garlic, cooking until fragrant, about one minute. Add in the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, followed by the Italian seasoning or spices, crushing and mixing the diced tomatoes into the sauce with a wooden spoon. Let simmer for a half hour to an hour until the sauce has thickened.* Meanwhile, place a cold pizza stone on the bottom rack of your cold oven. Turn your oven to 450 degrees and while heating, prepare your pizza. Roll out your crust and stretch it with your hands until it forms a circle or oblong shape. Spoon cornmeal on a wooden pizza paddle or the back of a sheet pan and lay the dough on top. Prepare your toppings and layer your pizza, starting with spoonfuls of tomato sauce, cheese, veggies then more cheese. Transfer the pizza tenderly from the paddle or pan to the hot pizza stone (the cornmeal will help it slide off) and let cook for 10-15 minutes until the toppings are cooked, the cheese is melted and the crust is golden. Remove with the pizza paddle. Let cool, douse in red pepper flakes and enjoy!
Note: To cook on a sheet pan, follow all steps except for transferring the pizza from the sheet pan to the pizza stone. Cut the pizza on a cutting board.
*Sauce can be made ahead and kept in fridge. Lasts for up to a week.