The entire house is filled with the smell of melted cheese, oven roasted bell peppers, onions, and the fresh baked yeast pizza crust. The minute my husband, Brad, walked into the house after arriving home from work, he said: “Mmm pizza. Smells good.”
When we first started the vegan diet, I searched for recipes and ideas for vegan pizza. Not finding much out there, I began questioning if it was even possible to make a decent pizza without dairy cheese. How can I create that cheesy smell and great taste? What should I put on the pizza in place of pepperoni, ground beef, or chicken? After many experiments, this recipe is the one we like the most.
After four years of trying to make a good gluten-free pizza crust, I managed to develop a recipe with a few simple tips that gave me a pizza crust that I’m very pleased with, and that my husband loves. My early year gluten-free pizza crusts were crunchy, dry, and hard to chew especially after reheating. Today I am thrilled with how fantastic the crusts turn out. They’re thick and chewy and have a flavor we both like. They even maintain their softness after reheating in the microwave oven. The key to obtaining a soft and chewy crust with medium thickness is to use active dry yeast (not quick rise or bread machine yeast), and let the dough rise for a longer time, like overnight. The other ingredients are my all-purpose gluten-free flour, oregano, rosemary leaves, canola oil, salt, and a small amount of sugar to proof the yeast. This pizza dough is also much easier to work with, not sticky and falling apart like my early year pizza dough.
The sound of using tofu as a pizza topping may scare off those Americans who loved their sausage and pepperoni pizza, but hear me out before bouncing off this post. To obtain a very flavorful tofu topping, I used thawed out frozen tofu. Why frozen tofu instead of fresh tofu? Fresh tofu, even the firm tofu, contains so much water that makes it hard to absorb salt and other flavors. You don’t want your pizza to have a soggy texture, do you? When fresh tofu undergoes a freezing and thawing process, the water content inside tofu gathers together and expands to form pockets and give it a sponge like texture. You can easily squeeze the water out, just like you do a sponge. With all of those pockets, this piece of tofu will effectively absorb all sorts of flavors. You will also avoid having a limp or soggy pizza.
I used our favorite vegan cheese, the Mexican style GoVeggie cheese (I have no affiliation with the company that makes this brand.). It melts nicely, and tastes cheesy and rich. Also because it is the Mexican style, it has a yellow color instead of the white Mozzarella color most people are familiar with. Many vegan pizza recipes use nutritional yeast to create the cheesy flavor. I tried that before, but we like this vegan cheese better. It has similar price as dairy cheese.
This cheesy vegan gluten-free pizza already tastes fantastic on its own. But if you would like to add more flavors, just dip or drizzle on some homemade creamy garlic sauce. You won’t regret not being able to order delivery pizza because of your vegan, gluten-free diet.
- 1 cup Silk Original soy milk
- ¾ cup water
- 1 tbs active dry yeast
- 1-½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp guar gum or xanthum gum
- 1 tbs canola oil
- 4 oz white rice flour
- 4 oz sweet rice flour
- 2 oz corn flour
- 2 oz oat flour
- 1.5 oz cornstarch
- 1.5 oz tapioca starch
- 1 tsp rosemary leaves
- 1 tsp oregano
- ½ tsp salt
- 12 oz firm tofu
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp paprika powder
- 1 can 6 oz tomato paste
- 8 oz chopped peppers green, red, and/or yellow
- 3 oz chopped red onion
- 2-½ cups vegan cheese Mexican Style GoVeggie brand is preferred
- Freeze firm tofu for at least a couple hours. Thaw and then gently squeeze out excess water. Cut the tofu to ¼” thick slices. Toss with salt and paprika. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the warmed soymilk and water. Add yeast and sugar. Stir the mixture briefly and let it stand at room temperature until creamy (approximately 10 minutes). It should form a lot of foam on top, and the volume should be doubled. This step will allow the yeast to proof. Add guar gum and oil. In another mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a rubber spatula until just combined. The bread dough should be somewhat sticky at this point. Cover the mixing bowl with a lid and then set the dough in a warm place in the room to let it rise. Approximately 15 hours.
- Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth. Lightly dust with white rice flour if necessary. When kneading the dough, make sure there is no excess dough on your palm. Clean your hands often to avoid this problem.
- Preheat oven to 400 ºF. Lightly spray a pizza pan with oil and then lightly dust with white rice flour. Transfer the smooth dough onto the pizza pan and then roll with a rolling pin to form a large disk on the pizza pan. Lightly spray oil on top of the dough. Bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove the pizza pan from the oven. Spoon the tomato paste into the center of the baked pizza crust and use the back of a spoon to spread it out to the edges. Pile on bell peppers, red onions, and tofu. Sprinkle the vegan cheese on top at the end.
- Bake at 350 ºF for 15 to 20 minutes or until the bell peppers are soft.