Vegan Mediterranean Pesto Pizza


Regularly ordering vegan pizza is one of our take-out indulgences. Since I was a kid (whether omnivore or vegetarian) we always ordered from Panago, a popular Canadian pizza chain. We went on a bit of a pizza hiatus after going vegan but Panago has stepped up and started doing some seriously awesome things for vegans. They’ve got vegan pepperoni (Yves Veggie Cuisine) AND vegan cheese (Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds)

They also offer 5 crusts, 6 sauces, and 16 toppings (plus Daiya) that are suitable for vegans. Impressive, right?

Panago has almost all of our vegan pizza needs covered but I still dream of making awesome pizza at home. To begin my foray into crafting our own delicious pizzas, I wanted to focus on the crust first. This is no thin crust, it’s a light and airy, golden-brown crust that can support a number of toppings. I’ve ordered a lot of vegetarian pizzas in my life and the WORST thing is a crust that gets soggy under a few too many high-moisture vegetables. You won’t have to worry about that here. This crust can handle whatever you throw at it.

I perfected my vegan pesto back in August, (and Panago doesn’t have vegan pesto – it’s nice to make something a little different at home, ya know?) so I decided to use that for the sauce. Nutritional yeast and white miso mimic the salty, cheesy flavour of Parmesan while cashews + hemp seeds replace the typically expensive pine nuts.

I’m still working on perfecting my cooked New York-style pizza sauce, so we’ll share that one at a later date. For now, we’ve got this awesome Vegan Mediterranean Pesto Pizza. Ah man, I am so in love with this pizza.

Next up, the toppings! I went with a few punchy toppings like marinated artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, red onion, and a couple of milder toppings like chopped tomatoes and spinach. Finally we finish this guy with light layer of Daiya mozzarella. Ugh, vegan pizza heaven. I promise.

Pizza from scratch can be a little intimidating but this pizza comes together pretty quickly. While the crust rises (leave it somewhere warm for faster rising), prep the pesto (no cooking needed for this sauce, yay!) and chop up the toppings. Preheat your oven as hot as it’ll go. Punch down the dough, slap it on some parchment, and flatten it into 12″ round. Spread with pesto and add those toppings! Bake for 10-14 minutes. If, by then, the underside of the crust isn’t a deep golden-brown, slide it off the baking sheet and cook it straight on the rack for another couple of minutes. Voila! Vegan pesto pizza perfection!

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Ingredients :

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp
  • 1/4 cup julienned baby spinach, packed
  • 3 tbsp chopped marinated artichokes
  • 2 tbsp chopped roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 vine ripened tomato, chopped (seeds removed)
  • 2 tbsp chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup or more of shredded vegan mozzarella (we used Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds)
  • salt, to taste

Instructions :

  1. Combine all dough ingredients and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes in a stand mixer.)
  2. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, flip to coat, and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave dough to rise until doubled in size.
  3. Preheat oven to highest setting.
  4. Punch down the dough and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten into a 12″ round.
  5. Spread with pesto. Top with spinach, artichokes, roasted red peppers, tomato, red onion, and vegan mozzarella. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
  6. Bake for 10-14 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and pizza appears fluffy and cheese is melted. If the underside of the crust isn’t sufficiently brown, slide the pizza off the baking sheet and straight onto the rack. Continue cooking until the underside is crisp.
  7. Let pizza rest for 5 minutes before cutting.

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