While I feel strongly about having an arsenal of 45-minutes-or-less recipes for weeknights, I enjoy experimenting on weekends with different types of meals that might be a bit more labor intensive. This is one of those meals. If you love pizza like I do, I think you’ll enjoy this one – not just the flavors, but the deep sense of satisfaction you’ll feel when you bite into a pizza you’ve made yourself, from scratch.
A couple quick notes, and then I’d like to get right to the instructions. First, I’m not an expert on things made with flour and yeast, so please take these instructions as advice, not gospel. If you’re not used to working with dough, I can’t guarantee that this will be an entirely smooth process for you. But it is fun, and because homemade pizza doesn’t depend on dough rising perfectly, it’s a good way for non-breadbakers to get their feet (hands?) wet.
I also wanted to acknowledge that, yes, I’m using vegan sausage on this pizza. I typically shy away from store-bought meat substitutes as a general rule. But vegan sausage is the one exception to this rule. I eat it maybe once a month and find it to be a convenient protein source that adds variety to my meals. Tofurkey and Field Roast are good brands of vegan sausage, but you can also make your own as I did here.
Let’s get to it. Your pizza awaits!
Yield: 1 pizza, serves 3
Time: 2 hours, with some down time
Cooking the pizza on parchment paper makes it much easier to transfer into and out of the oven. I adapted the dough recipe and general pizza-making advice from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. Feel free to double the recipe if you’d like to make two pizzas. If your dough doesn’t rise that much, don’t worry – it will still be good. You could substitute kale for the collards or use any other toppings you like.
Prep: Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour (if desired, you could substitute half or all of the flour with whole wheat flour)
¾ teaspoon salt
1 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast (half of one of those little packets)
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ cup very warm water (120 degrees F)
In a food processor fitted with the dough blade, mix together the flour, salt, and yeast. Pour in the olive oil and water through the feed tube while the machine is running and process until a ball of dough forms, about 30-60 seconds. If the dough remains sticky, add an additional tablespoon of flour and continue to process until a ball of dough forms. Remove the dough onto a smooth, lightly floured surface and shape the dough into a smooth round ball. Place the ball in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap greased on the side facing the dough, and let it rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours.
For the cauliflower puree:
½ head cauliflower
4 garlic cloves, peeled but whole
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
salt to taste
Break the cauliflower into florets and place them in a pot of boiling water until they have softened slightly but are not mushy – about 5 minutes. Reserve the water. (For a more nuanced flavor, you could boil half the cauliflower and roast the other half with a drizzle of olive oil in a 450 degree oven until browned, about 15 minutes.) In a small pot, place the garlic cloves in boiling water for about 3 minutes to remove the pungent flavor of raw garlic. Drain. Combine the cauliflower, garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until a puree is formed. Add some of the reserved cauliflower cooking water a couple tablespoons at a time until the mixture takes on a smooth, spreadable consistency. Add salt to taste.
For the collards:
1 small bunch collards, cut into thin strips
Immerse the collards in a large pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain well.
Additional toppings: In the photo above I have used store-bought Tofurky Italian-style sausage (if you prefer to make your own vegan sausage, here’s a recipe) in addition to some fried tempeh. One link of sausage, thinly sliced, should be good for one pizza. I also used red pepper flakes.
To make the pizza: On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to your desired pizza shape (approximately the shape of your pizza stone). Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper. Spread the cauliflower puree on the pizza. (You may only end up using about half of the puree, which is OK because it makes a great dip.) Top with the collards, vegan sausage slices, red pepper flakes, and anything else you like. Season with salt and pepper. Brush the crust of the pizza with olive oil. Keep the pizza on the parchment paper while you transfer it carefully to the hot pizza stone. Bake 8-12 minutes or until crust is browned. Use the parchment paper to transfer the pizza out of the oven. Eat a.s.a.p.
Have you experimented with homemade pizza? What are your favorite toppings?