When summer bucket lists started popping up on my favorite blogs in May and June, I resisted the temptation. I love lists. But I don't always do well with them. Instead of getting me to enjoy the summer, I'm pretty sure a bucket list would send me on a mad, stressful spree to complete All The Things! on my list.
So I didn't make one.
But in the back of my head, I thought...this summer, I'd like to...
...go to the beach
...read children's books
...go to the flea market
...get on a boat
...paint some furniture
So I chose the hottest weekend our apartment has seen, cranked the oven to 450 degrees, and made healthy, whole wheat, vegan pizza.
And despite the oppressive heat in our little kitchen, it was so fun.
I made the crust and J made the pesto. We rolled out our dough together and put on our toppings. And when it was done, we tried to watch a movie over the sound of all our crunching.
Of course, you can make this pizza however you want. The dough makes two pizzas with thin crusts, the size of average baking sheets. If you make your crust thicker, adjust your cooking time longer. I am a big fan of a thin, crispy crust, reminiscent of the pizzas I ate in the Italian sidewalk cafés of Berlin. And there's nothing quite as satisfying as being able to eat a whole pizza in one sitting.
We topped ours with a purple basil pesto for sauce, mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, and arugula. Arugula is my favorite pizza topping. Just try it. But be sure to pile it on after baking. (I added about twice as much after I took these photos.) Having fresh summer produce on this pizza made it worth the hot kitchen.
We opted to skip the cheese, even the vegan kind. After all, authentic pizza runs the gamut from fluffy to flat, topped with just olive oil and herbs, to every vegetable known to man. Make it your own! I was also really inspired to try it after hearing Ellen talk about veganism.
100% Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
1 cup warm water
1 tsp palm sugar OR white sugar
2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour, + some extra
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil, + some extra
1. The water should be around 100 to 110 degrees. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar into the water, stir, then set aside to proof.
2. In the meantime, combine 2 cups of the flour and salt in a bowl, then make a little well in the mixture. When the yeast has sat for 5-10 minutes, pour the yeast mixture and olive oil into the well, and stir the dough gently to mix.
3. As dough begins to hold together, start kneading it by hand, and add the additional flour a tablespoon at a time to prevent stickiness. I only needed another 3 tablespoons. The dough should form a nice ball that holds together well without stickiness.
4. Lightly coat the mixing bowl and dough in oil. Put the dough in the bowl, cover with a damp dish towel, and place somewhere warm to rise for one hour. Towards the end of this time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
5. When dough has doubled in size, split into two pieces and roll each piece out on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to lightly floured baking sheets, top with toppings of your choice, and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your crust.
Purple Basil Pesto
1/3 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup olive oil
5 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
one large bunch of purple basil
Pluck the leaves and the more tender stems from the basil. Combine with the other ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.