So I am very well aware that going Meatless is not for everyone. I am from a meat and potatoes family, and during my 5 years as a vegetarian my family spent every (I mean EVERY) family dinner trying to convince me to stray from my new found love for all things green. In fact shortly after I went veggie my parents showed up at my door with giant paper bag full of fresh peperoni from the local market -a well known personal weakness of mine. As you can imagine there were cheers of absolute pleasure when I came back to the dark side a year or so ago now.
But while they spent those 5 years trying to convince me that join them over a juicy steak, I spent equally as much time trying to show them that there are dishes out there that are just as DELICIOUS without meat. One of my great successes has always been my Veggie Pizza. It is a well-loved dish, and a tasty way to take the Meatless plunge.
My love of pizza has recently been restored following our trip to pizza heaven (aka Italy ), and I have found myself making this dish more and more often. If it is made right it will taste amazing and will also pack a mean veggie punch!
Roll out the dough! I wish I could say I make my own dough...but...There is a great Italian speciality store up the street from my apartment where I get my dough and it is Fabulous! But it can also be found in most grocery stores. I have found that the portions are often too big though, so I only use half and freeze the rest. I recommend putting parchment paper down on baking sheet first to ensure the dough doesn't stick. I also put a tbsp of olive oil on top with an assortment of herbs (basil, red chilies, oregano, and salt + pepper) to jazz it up a little bit. Then pre-bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes to allow the dough to crisp up while you prepare the other ingredients.
Choose your ingredients! You can't really go wrong, just pick an assortment of vegetables you enjoy. But keep in mind that some vegetable release more water than others when they are cooked (ie. onions, mushroom, tomatoes, and spinach). If you are using any of those vegetables then I recommend you cook them off first. (note: I have made this mistake before, if you don't your pizza will turn out soggy). For this pizza I chose spinach and onion (cooked down before), sundried tomatoes, hot green pepper, sweet red pepper, artichoke hearts, and olives. Chop and get ready to top
Lightly cover the dough with tomato sauce and the toppings of your choice. And don't forget to add the cheese! But also remember that this is the ingredient that can take your dish from light and nutritious to heavy and unhealthy, so be mindful of the cheese quota. Once the pizza has been topped, bake on high heat (450 degrees) for approximately 15 minutes. And Serve!