Vegan White Pizza with Roasted Garlic Coconut Cream and Sun Dried Tomatoes
I love pizza in all its forms. Sure it’s traditionally topped with red sauce and gooey strands of cheezy goodness, but it may get layered with pesto instead, or no sauce at all. With this recipe I had the idea that rather than worrying about not only making a sauce but also a figuring out a cheese substitute, I decided to make a combination of the two.
The sauce is made creamy by a little coconut milk, while all the flavor explodes from the roasted garlic, which permeates the soft chewiness of the crust. Complimented nicely by hints of tangy sweetness from sun dried tomatoes and little bursts of freshness added by thyme.
If you’ve never taken a crack at making your own pizza, what better time than now?
My Basic Crust
1 1/2 tsp active yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground coriander (optional)
1 c warm water
about 2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp + 2 tbsp olive oil
Roasted Garlic Coconut Cream
2 heads garlic
1/2 c light coconut milk (not the thicker coconut cream or the boxed coconut milk beverage)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c sun dried tomatoes
a few sprigs fresh thyme
Mix together the dry active yeast, sugar and ground coriander in a large bowl. Mix in the 1 cup of water, which should be warm to the touch. Set aside for a few minutes until it foams.
I don’t often see sugar in other pizza dough recipes but I’ve found that just a little mixed in with the yeast really helps to speed up the rising process.
Toss in the salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and slowly sift in about 1 3/4 cups flour until it sticks together into a loose dough. Depending on the humidity in your kitchen you may need more or less flour – try for a consistency that has just enough flour to hold it together, but still very soft.
Lightly flour a cutting board and turn the dough out onto it. Lightly knead it for a minute or two on a floured surface, making sure the dough is no longer sticky, more flour may be needed as you work it. When you’re done working it pull all the sides together so one side of the ball is smooth.
Then set the ball in a large bowl greased with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover the dough with a little more olive oil so it’s completely covered.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a dish towel and let sit in a warm place until it doubles in size, this may take an hour or two, it depends on how warm your kitchen is.
Meanwhile roast the heads of garlic. Chop the tops off the heads of garlic to make the cloves easier to extract later. Lay them in aluminum foil, cover with a little olive oil, and wrap the edges of the aluminum foil around the garlic to tent them. Roast at 375F for an hour until light golden brown.
Cool the garlic well before handling, then you can pop the cloves out with your fingers or grab the bottom of the head and squeeze them all out. Blend the roasted garlic cloves with the coconut milk, and salt.
At least an hour before you assemble the pizza rehydrate your sun dried tomatoes in water, and drain before using. This gives them a softer texture and makes sure they won’t burn while baking.
Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 475F to give it plenty of time to heat up. lightly flour a large baking pan, then sprinkle the top of the dough and your hands. gently remove the dough from the bowl onto the pan, it will deflate a little and that’s fine. Lightly flour the dough again if needed and press out to a large oval, slightly thicker around the edges.
I always use my hands to press out the dough, a rolling pin will force out too much of the air bubbles we worked so hard to get!
Pour the garlic coconut cream across the crust, then dress with the sun dried tomatoes and bits of fresh thyme.
Bake at 475F for 10 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned and the cream is starting to bubble.
Cut up and enjoy immediately!
Yields 3-4 servings