Pizza, delicious, warm, right-out-of-the-oven pizza! So comforting, especially because - get this- it can be a healthy option. Replacing the white flour with (sprouted) wholegrain flour and the usual dairy cheese with a cashew-based 'ricotta' style topping, you are left feeling satisfied without the ensuing guilt of feeling like "dude, is there a rock in my tummy?" Pizza night can be a satisfying AND a good-for-you kind of an experience.
Baby Green and I enjoy making our own pizza dough. The hands-on nature of it makes the whole undertaking particularly pleasurable for Baby Green. Although he has only just turned two, he clearly understands the process, which makes the experience very rewarding for both of us. If you really need to, you could use ready-made pizza dough, but as it contains ingredients that I would not use myself, I don't bother.
If short of time, I would normally use a stand-up mixer which makes the process very easy. In the video below I have done it by hand and did not find that it added too much extra time in the whole process, maybe an extra five minutes I could have spent clearing up some scattered train tracks on the floor that Baby Green "forgot" to tidy away.
The pizza dough recipe is pretty much the same as our bread recipe. I halve the ingredients and measurements so that it serves us for one meal, but go ahead and double it if you prefer to make a bigger batch while you're at it. The pizza can be reheated and enjoyed for a second meal.
Now, you could even partially bake the extra pizza. Simply top up the rolled out dough with tomato sauce and bake for 5 minutes at 200 degrees, then freeze it or keep it in the fridge until ready to use. When pizza calls, top the partially pre-baked pizza base with the rest of the ingredients and pop into a preheated oven at 200 until done - depending on toppings, about 5-10 minutes. I did this for Baby Greens' birthday party as in photo above and it made life so much easier.
I choose to make the "cheese" as it is really easy and I know exactly what is going in my "cheese", even if making my own creates an extra step in the process. The ingredients are completely natural, healthy and accessible. I broadly followed the recipe from the link below, but have adapted it to what is accessible to me.
The "cheese" recipe is an adaptation from the folks over at Sunwarrior. (http://www.sunwarrior.com/news/make-vegan-margherita-pizza-yummy-moxarella-cheese/)
Ingredients: (2 adults, 1 toddler)
- 250g sprouted spelt or wholewheat flour (in the video below it is spelt, but wholewheat works just as well) or a mixture of wholewheat and spelt flour
- 225ml water
- 1 X tsp instant yeast
- 1 X tsp sugar
- 1 X tsp salt
- Olive oil to knead (this is not exactly a pun, see instructions/video below)
Method: (see video below)
- In a large mixing bowl weigh your flour. Remove bowl from the scales and add water, yeast and sugar.
By hand: (see video below)
- Using a spatula mix the flour, water, yeast and sugar before adding the salt (it can kill your yeast).
- Once you have added the salt continue to mix until the ingredients have combined into a dough.
- Oil your hands and the surface you are going to knead your dough on, tip the dough out of the bowl and get to work!
- Knead the dough and oil your hands and surface as you go. Do NOT use flour.
Using standup mixer/food processor (with a dough hook):
- Attach your dough hook and in the mixing bowl add the flour, water, yeast and sugar, and start the mixer (on low).
- Add the salt after 30 seconds.
- Continue to mix for a further minute and then turn the speed up a notch and mix for another 3 minutes.
Allow your dough to rise for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
- I use a simple tomato sauce made from passata, pressed garlic and a sprinkling of salt. Go ahead and add any dried herbs such as basil and oregano and, for a kick, chilli flakes.
- Simply mix ingredients in a bowl. There is no need to cook the sauce as it will do so in the hot oven once on the dough.
Divide your dough according to the desired pizza size. Roll out your dough as thinly as possible and lay on a floured baking tray. Add your favourite toppings. In the video below we used mushrooms and the "cheese", but in the past we have used courgette, pre-grilled/cooked aubergine and other toppings.
Put your prearranged pizza, dough, tomato sauce, toppings and "cheese" into a preheated oven at 250 degrees and bake for 5-10 minutes. Your pizza will be ready when the "cheese" is nice and charred and the dough has become crisp. Let the pizza cool for a good 5-10 minutes before taking a big bite.
Cashew Topping ("cheese"):
- ¼ cup / approx. 30 g raw cashews (soaked for a few hours if you don't have an incinerator for a blender)
- 1 cup / approx. 250 ml water
- 2 tbsp + 1 tsp arrowroot powder
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- ¾ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Place all ingredients into your blender and let'er rip! If you do not have a high powered blender, then you may prefer to run the blended mixture through a nut bag. Before we had our Vitamix, we used the sauce as is and did not strain it. It was grainy, but it did not bother us at all.
- Pour mixture into a saucepan and brig to a gentle simmer on a medium heat.
- Stir continuously and after a few minutes the mixture will begin to thicken.
- Continue to stir well until the sauce becomes thick and gooey. Turn off heat. It is now ready for the spreading.