I think it safe to assume that pretty much everyone enjoys pizza once in a while. And there is nothing quite like making your own at home. This one is vegan, but I assure you, the cheese won’t be missed. I did not resort to soy-based cheese either, because frankly I find that that stuff tastes like rubber. Instead, I went with a cashew mixture that included nutritional yeast for the cheesy flavor. It’s a wonderful treat to make on a weekend when you have time to fuss around a bit more than usual.
This is one loaded-up pizza with tons of texture and flavor and protein too. Tangy tomatoes, deeply flavored Kalamata olives and succulent mushrooms all come together here sprinkled with some fresh oregano for a real crowd-pleaser.
I highly recommend making your own dough too. It really doesn’t take to long to make and is not nearly as bready as store-bought ones.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pizza with Olives and Cashew Cheese
Recipe by Lisa Turner Cuisine: Italian Published on December 15, 2015
Homemade vegan crusty pizza with tomatoes, mushrooms, olives and a simple cashew cheese sauce
Start by making the pizza dough. In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water. Make sure it’s not too hot but not too cold either. Sprinkle in the yeast and stir gently for 1 minute until it dissolves. If the yeast clumps, start over again. Let sit for about 5 minutes until the mixture is smooth and beige colored and bubbles form on the surface.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and curry powder if using. Stir well to combine and make a well in the center of the mixture. Pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil. Mix the ingredients together beginning in the center of the bowl and incorporaing the flour from the sides of the bowl. Continue until a soft dough is formed.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and dust your hands with flour. Knead the dough for about 15 minutes, adding more flour as needed so the dough is not sticky, but smooth and elastic.
Grease a bowl with some oil. Transfer the kneaded dough to the bowl and brush with some more olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size.
While the dough is resting, prepare the cashew cheese. Soak the cashews in hot water for 1 to 2 hours, then drain and trasfer to a small food processor or blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth, adding a bit more water if it is too thick.
Meanwhile, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 30 minutes, then drain and chop. Marinate the mushrooms and shallots in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and black pepper for 20 minutes.
In a skillet, heat a few teaspoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushroom mixture and fry until the mushrooms begin to brown and soften. Toss in the jalapeños and stir for another few minutes. Set aside.
Brush a 12-inch vented pizza pan with olive oil and preheat an oven to 400°.
Punch down the pizza dough and divide it into two portions. If making only one pizza, wrap the other part in plastic wrap and freeze for future use. Lightly flour a large cutting board and roll out into a round about 1/4 inch thick, leaving the edges slightly thicker. Add flour as needed to prevent from sticking. Pick up the dough and turn it several times to stretch. Transfer to the prepared pan, forming a ridge around the edges of the pan. Prick the dough lightly with a fork.
Spread the puréed tomato over the dough and bake for 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven, raise the oven temperature to 500°, and raise the oven rack to the second-from-top position. Top the pizza with the cashew cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, mushroom mixture and olives. Brush the edges of the dough with a little more olive oil and bake for 15 minutes until the edges are slightly browned.
Remove from heat and garnish with fresh oregano leaves. Let the pizza cool slightly, then transfer to a cutting board, slice, and serve.