Here’s another recipe that was requested on my Facebook page: vegan pizza.
I know, I had the same reaction when I first saw the suggestion – I adore cheese, why on earth would I want to make a vegan pizza?
But, you know I love to experiment with different types of food, so I thought I’d give it a go. To be honest, it is a bit of a cop-out to just heap everything with cheese, so I thought it would be a nice challenge to find a way to make a vegan pizza so tasty that even I wouldn’t miss the cheese.
And I’d call this a resounding success!
Now, you can’t just take the cheese off a pizza and expect it to not lose any flavour. Instead, you need to find ways to make each part of the vegan pizza extra tasty.
So first: the base.
I’ve made homemade pizza crusts in the past, but it’s not something I do regularly, so this time I decided to use a good quality, shop-bought flatbread as my base. I used a tomato flavour flatbread, since I thought it would give my vegan pizza an extra hit of yumminess, but you can use whatever kind catches your eye – or use a homemade crust if you prefer.
Next up, the sauce. Rather than going for the usual tomato-based sauce, I used some black olive tapenade – it’s got masses of flavour, and makes a really nice change. If you use a shop-bought tapenade, make sure you double check that it’s vegan, as some contain anchovies. And if you’re having trouble finding a vegan version, you can just use homemade tapenade instead – it’s really easy to make!
Now come the toppings. Rather than just throwing on some random vegetables that may or may not end up being tasty, I chose pizza toppings that I knew would give loads of flavour to my vegan pizza.
Marinated artichokes – always a favourite, and always really delicious.
Cherry tomatoes – which roast as the pizza cooks and get nice and sweet and juicy.
Corn – which I charred a little in a griddle pan to give it extra flavour, before cutting it off the cob in big slabs.
And, after the pizza had baked, I also added some peppery rocket on top. It brings a lovely crisp freshness to the pizza (not to mention it’s really pretty!).
So, what do you think – have I convinced you that vegan pizza can be just as tasty as the cheesy version? I must say, despite my initial reservations, I was utterly convinced. I’m definitely not going to give up cheese forever (pigs might fly), but it is great to be able to make tasty dishes that don’t rely on cheese for flavour!
Corn and artichoke vegan pizza
- 1 large corn cob
- 1 flatbread or small batch of homemade pizza dough
- 2 tbsp black olive tapenade (shop-bought or homemade)
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- Black pepper
- ~ 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
- ~ 8 pieces marinated artichoke
- 1 handful fresh rocket (arugula)
- Heat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
- Place the corn cob into a hot griddle pan, and cook until slightly charred, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, place the flatbread on a lined baking tray. Spread over the tapenade, and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Season generously.
- Top the pizza with the halved cherry tomatoes and pieces of artichoke. When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut the corn from the cob, and add this to the pizza also (if there's too much, just save some for another use).
- Place the pizza in the oven, and bake for around 20 minutes, or until the base is crispy and the cherry tomatoes are nicely roasted.
- Serve topped with the fresh rocket.
Note: nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.