|Vegan pepperoni and veggie pizza.|
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Most everyone loves pizza but not everyone agrees on the toppings or the crust. Some people love all meat toppings, some just cheese, some like pineapple and others love assorted vegetables. Many people like a white crust and others enjoy a more hearty whole grain crust. Those people who are gluten intolerant opt for gluten-free crusts.
A fun and easy way to please everyone is to have a "bring your own toppings" party!
Just provide the dough and tomato sauce and have everyone bring their favorite toppings. Coordinate what people are bringing ahead of time so that you don't have too much of one ingredient.
For a quick, stress free night of entertaining, you can purchase "ready to bake" pizza dough. Many grocery stores carry this item now. Trader Joe's has 3 types of pizza doughs. Plain, whole wheat and herb.
|Trader Joe's ready-to-bake pizza dough.|
If you have guests who are gluten intolerant, pick up a couple of Udi's gluten-free pizza crusts.
|Udi's gluten-free pizza crusts.|
If you have a bread machine, you can also make the dough pretty easily by using the "dough setting".
Some bread machines come with a pizza dough recipe that works best in their machines.
What You'll Need
To make a pizza outdoors you'll need a:
* Covered BBQ grill with a temperature gauge
* Wooden or metal pizza peel
* Pizza stone
* Pizza dough
* Extra virgin olive oil
* Marinara or pesto sauce
* Toppings to be cooked with pizza
* Meltable vegan or regular cheese (optional)
* Raw toppings like arugula, fresh herbs or sprouts (optional)
There is no limit to how imaginative you can get with pizza toppings. My favorite toppings are:
* Artichoke hearts
* Kalamata olives
* Bell peppers
* Thinly sliced zucchini
* Partially steamed diced eggplant
* Jalapeño slices
* Red or yellow onion slices
* Raw or roasted garlic
* Crushed red pepper
|Assorted veggie toppings|
Meat toppings such as vegan pepperoni or thinly sliced Field Roast sausage make good meat-free toppings. My youngest grandson is a true carnivore and happily ate the vegan pepperoni pizza I made for him. I'm not sure I could have fooled an adult, however.
Cheese is generally considered by many to be the heart of a good pizza. Since I, like so many others, am lactose intolerant, I leave dairy off of my pizza completely. Many people who avoid diary use vegan Daiya mozzarella shreds. I prefer no cheese to fake cheese. For those who prefer real cheese, a little parmesan, asiago, provolone, organic mozzarella or feta cheese make good toppings.
How to Make Pizza Using Ready-to-Bake Dough
Step 1 - Prepare the crust (These are the directions for Trader Joe's dough. If using other packaged dough, follow their instructions)
Remove the ready-to-bake dough from the refrigerator.
Remove it from its bag on to a lightly floured work surface.
Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
(While dough is resting, place pizza stone on the grill and preheat to 450 degrees F.)
Form dough into desired size and shape crust by stretching by hand or rolling with a rolling pin. (I can make two 8" round pizzas out of one 16 ounce bag of dough).
|3 crusts: plain, whole wheat and herb.|
Step 2 -Coat the crust
Spread some cornmeal on a pizza peel and gently place the formed crust on the peel.
|Wooden pizza peel. Select one with a very thin front edge.|
Coat the crust with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil. This will prevent the other ingredients from penetrating the dough and getting it soggy.
|Crust lightly coated with olive oil.|
Spread a layer of prepared marinara sauce over the oiled crust. You may also use pesto instead of tomato sauce.
|Crust with a layer of marinara sauce.|
Step 3 - Cover with desired toppings.
|Artichoke hearts, red onion, red and green bell pepper, crimini mushrooms, kalamata olives and chopped raw garlic.|
Sprinkle with Daiya mozzarella shreds or cheese, if desired.
Step 4 - Grill pizza
Gently slide the pizza off of the pizza peel onto the preheated stone.
Cover and cook until crust is crisp and slightly browned, about 8 minutes.
Carefully remove pizza with pizza peel.
|Removing pizza from 450 degree stone using a pizza peel.|
Step 5 - Cut
Place pizza on a cutting board and slice into 6 to 8 slices.
|Use a good knife or a pizza cutter.|
Step 6 - Final raw toppings (optional)
Top pizza with raw toppings such as:
* Baby arugula
* Spring greens
* Fresh basil or other herbs
* Raw sunflower, hemp, pumpkin or other seeds
|Veggie pizza topped with raw sunflower sprouts.|
How Healthy is Pizza?
Pizza can make a fairly healthy meal if you do the following:
* Start with a whole grain crust
* Cover with veggies
* Leave off the real or fake meats
* Leave off the real or fake cheeses
* Top with raw sprouts, greens and/or hemp seeds