VEGAN HUMMUS PIZZA
I had discovered, a while ago now, that hummus toasted in panini sandwiches take on a much deeper, richer, more satisfying taste than its original self. The same logic applied to pizza certainly didn’t disappoint. It is a seriously viable and healthier choice instead of cheese. And I would venture to say that it tastes better.
INGREDIENTS Dough 3 cups bread flour 1½ cup water ¼ cup olive oil 1 tsp dry yeast 1 tsp maple syrup (or sugar) 1 tsp salt Topping 3 cup sautéed mushrooms 2 cup hummus ½ cup sun dried tomatoes ½ red onion, thin sliced 1 cup chopped parsley
Dough Warm up the water (it should still be easy to touch. If too hot, you will kill the yeast and the dough won't rise). Put the yeast, maple syrup (or sugar) and half of the water in a large glass, stir lightly and keep in a warm place until the yeast starts to foam and rise, about 10 minutes. Put the flour and the salt in a large bowl and mix them. Add the yeast mixture along with the rest of the water to the bowl. Start combining and kneading with your hand. When the flour and water is more or less combined, add the olive oil. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, using folding and pressing motions. The dough should turn out quite soft and stretchy. Cover the top of the bowl (stretch film works well), wrap the bowl with towels, and keep in a very warm place if possible. Let the dough rise for about 40 minutes. It should at least double in size. When the dough has risen enough, split it in half (this makes two large pizzas). Now is a good time to start pre-heating the oven to 450F. Dust a clean surface with flour and hand-roll the dough into a pizza pie shape. Work from the center outwards so that you get the "pizza handle", i.e. the thicker crust at the rim of the pie and a thin crust where the filling will be. You can use a roller in the beginning if it makes it easier, but try to hand-shape as much as you can. Hopefully at this stage, you are noticing that air bubbles have formed in the dough. That is a good sign that you will have an awesome outcome.
Topping Dust a pizza peel liberally with flour. Transfer the crust to the pizza peel and re-shape. Spread half of the hummus over the crust, sparing the outermost rim. Add the rest of the toppings (half of them anyway, the remaining is for the second pizza pie) except the parsley. I prefer my parsley fresh so it gets added after the pizza is baked. You can also try fresh arugula.
The oven needs to be pre-heated to 450F before the pizza gets in there. A hot oven is essential. Having a pizza stone helps retain the heat and gives much better results. But if you don't have one, you can bake it on a parchment paper dusted with flour. Bake for about 17 minutes or until golden on the rim. Top with fresh parsleys or arugula.
To some, even mention of a vegan pizza sound like heresy. People actually get offended when you don’t like cheese on your pizza. How can you call it a pizza? As with many other dishes: If it feels like a pizza, it is pizza and this one definitely passes that muster with flying colors.