Friday, 20 April 2012

Pizza, How I Love You! (Recipe/How To: Smoky BBQ Pizza - All Home-made, or Semi-Homemade)

Pizza is, hands-down, one of my favourite foods.

And why shouldn't it be? It can be whatever you want it to be. Smoky, saucy, and rich, or fresh, healthy and light - whatever you fancy. It's like an amped-up-super-sandwich. Stay tuned for my favourite recipe below.

One of my favourite cookbook authors, Julie Hasson, recently revealed that her next cookbook is going to be focussed on vegan pizza... woohoo! Julie also asked me if I'm interested in testing recipes for it. "Heck yes", I believe, were my words! So... I look forward to the wonderful knowledge I'm going to pick up during this process!

Getting delicious vegan pizza from a restaurant is tricky, here. Italian restaurant pizza usually ends up with me disappointed - call me trashy, but I'm not a huge fan of traditional Italian-style pizzas - with their sparingly-applied toppings.

I like American-style pizza - loaded, lip-smacking, and delicious. And takeaway pizza-chains don't really use ingredients of a high enough quality to make delicious vegan pizzas.

So, our best option is to make pizza at home. Which can be surprisingly quick & easy, and very, very satisfying. With minimal cleanup. Who knew?

One thing that I didn't realise over the years is how easy pizza is to get wrong. I've made some shockers - from many bland, "meh" pizzas, to - my worst, which was my attempt at a "thai-inspired" pizza with a tomato sauce base, corn, potato, thai holy basil & chilli paste and coconut-based mozzarella. Oh, it was awful. Just awful.

Perfect pizza toppings are a delicate balancing act - it's not as simple as using up the leftovers in your fridge. Your aim is to mix flavours that work together synergistically, that complement each other and taste delicious.

I'm so excited to share an easy, vegan, smoky bbq pizza recipe that I love!

Please read onwards whilst not judging me for my burned pizza stones & overloaded toppings in the photos! I overdid the toppings a bit, trying to work out proper measurements. People keep telling me "less is more", but I'm not so sure! I'll update the recipe soon with these ingredient quantities.
I'm not gonna lie - go a little easier on the BBQ sauce than I did when I took these photos!

In the interests of KISS (keeping it simple), here is my recipe for how to assemble my favourite - Smoky BBQ Pizza.

For completely homemade pizza and sub-recipes, please refer to the asterisks* and see the notes below the recipe, for more information.

Matt's Favourite Smoky BBQ Pizza
Pizza base *
Tomato-based pizza sauce **

Red Capsicum (bell peppers)
Sun-dried tomatoes
Pitted Kalamata Olives
Vegan sausages or hotdogs
Your favourite BBQ sauce ***
Olive oil (optional) ****

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Celsius (approx 482 degrees Fahrenheit). If you're organised, preheat your pizza stone while you prepare your toppings. This will ensure a crisper base.
2. Place your pizza base somewhere sturdy, and apply your tomato pizza sauce.
3. Add desired quantity of onion, mushrooms and red capsicum.
4. Add sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and sausages/hotdogs.
5. Apply liberal swirls of BBQ sauce (i.e - lots).
6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until toppings are cooked but still a little juicy, and base is starting to brown underneath. Watch the sun-dried tomatoes - due to the drying and high oil content - they tend to burn first.
7.  I often add a bit of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes to the top. Optionally, drizzle a little good quality olive oil over the top, to add moisture and richness. This is a good step to add if you didn't use oil-packed sundried tomatoes. Slice and serve hot.

Baking time is for two pizzas in my electric oven.
Ze final product!

Additional notes/sub-recipes/information:
*I tend to buy pre-made bases when making pizza on weeknights - I've stumbled across a few tasty ones lately. Avoid the frozen boxed bases if you can. They tend to be awful.

Alternatively, you can make your own: Bryanna Clark Grogan, in her book "20 minutes to dinner", includes a recipe for a super quick dough assembled in your food processor, kneaded briefly, rested for 10 minutes, and rolled out. Or, if you have more time on your hands, Bryanna's "neapolitan pizza crust" recipe is here:

**The pizza sauce I use, inspired by instructions from one of my favourite bloggers, Andrea's Easy Vegan cooking, based on her father's recipe is simple - Mash tomato paste with garlic powder, onion powder, then add basil and rosemary. Then add enough water to make it drop from a spoon. Easy, fantastico!

I used to make my own pizza sauce from scratch, but lately, I've been very happy with the quick method mentioned above.

***I tend to use a storebought BBQ sauce - but if you have time, I cannot recommend Julie Hasson's "Rough Rider BBQ Sauce" from her incredible cookbook - "Vegan Diner" -  enough.

**** I'm still experimenting, but I've reached the conclusion that non-dairy cheese is not necessary to make great vegan pizza. Nope! I'm sure it depends on your ingredients, but in the following recipe - the pizza tastes just as good without the added cheese - but do feel free to drizzle some olive oil on, if you wish. If you're making a margherita pizza - with juicy, plump, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil & mozzarella, then vegan cheese does add a little somethin' somethin. But a lot of vegan cheeses aren't.... well, delicious. Let's be honest.

Yum! Coming Up.. Another, Brighter Recipe...!
I'm going to get back to you shortly with a lighter, more colourful, pizza topping scheme/recipe - inspired by my dear friend and purveyor of delicious *and* healthy recipes - Dreena Burton - which surprised me with its deliciousness and included vegetables.

Andddddd.... I'm going to give you a recipe for a jazzed-up-mayo that I have become incredibly addicted to - it reminds me of a delicious sauce from a burger made by a certain fast-food chain that I had forgotten about. Can't. Stop. Eating. It.

Please let me know of your favourite pizza toppings in the comments, so I can have some more fun experimenting!

Have a great weekend!


  1. I love pizza. I'd eat it every day if I was skinny. I'm a fan of the simple margarita.

  2. Hey There,
    Like your vegan dish! Someone linked your blog and mine about pizza to this site:

    I received a notice on my blog. It turned up as spam, but I checked it out. Vegan pizza,huh. Now there's a challenge to make it tasty. Barbecue sauce is pretty inventive.
    Can't believe the link to Australia! What fun! I like your writing too. Enjoyed reading this very much.

  3. I hardly know what to say. :D (My father is probably somewhere smirking.) I just recently remembered and made the "instant" pizza sauce as there was some leftover tomato paste in the fridge and I was in a hurry to assemble a taco pizza. That's right — with chips, even. I'd never had or even seen one, but saw it on Cadry's Kitchen blog. I added chipotle chili powder to the sauce to great effect. I like lots of veggies piled high on my pizza — tomatoes, onions, broccoli, mushrooms and olives, especially. Now that I've gone gluten-free, the fab crusts of the past are not in the picture, but I've found gf alternatives that are really good, so I can enjoy pizza again.

  4. Michael and I tend to tussle over toppings - I want less, he wants more! We'd both love your bbq sausage one but there'd be fights about how many sausages get added.

    I've always loved mushroom pizzas and more recently like adding marinated beetroot 'pepperoni' (or sometimes the mock meat pepperoni when we can get a hold of it). Another favourite combination (I am soooo with you on the importance of synergistic flavours) is pesto, apple and caramelised onion, as seen on Yeah, That "Vegan" Shit.

  5. Love love love pizza - and I have got into quick pizza doughs that don't have to sit around rising much - Made my fast track pizza with veg haggis. highly recommend it. For pizza sauce I often blend a small tin of baked beans with tomato puree and it works brilliantly. I have only rarely put veg sausage on pizza but must try it - and still must try tofu bacon on pizza.

  6. Pizza stones! I remember I was with you when you were debating whether or not to buy your 4th or 5th one ;) Which pizza bases do you buy? Looking for a good one :) We were making some on mountain bread, to keep the Cals low.

  7. Oh also, I wish I could find a way to make vegan cheese work on a pizza. You seem to have to use a whole block (which isn't cheap in Australia) or settle for a few gratings (because you feel guilty about using the whole block) and then it doesn't really melt well in a normal kitchen oven anyway. I miss the Tofurkey vegan boxed pizzas from America! X


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