The Best Vegan Caramelized Mushroom Pizza

This vegan caramelized mushroom pizza is to die for. And I say that as someone who doesn’t actually like the texture of mushrooms. But when they’re caramelized alongside onion and garlic, thrown atop the perfect pillowy pizza dough with a thick layer of garlic white sauce and topped with mozzarella and fresh rosemary? Well we’ve reached pizza nirvana, and you guys, it just so happens to be vegan there.

I’m a firm believer that all good pizzas must start with a good pizza crust. Personally I like to take the time to make a slow rising dough a day to three days before it’s pizza making time! Feeding the dough with just a small sprinkling of yeast and letting it ferment slowly in the fridge makes for a much more complex tasting dough that is also easier to digest.

If you’re not going to make your own pizza dough, then buying some dough from the refrigerated or frozen section of your grocery store or from your local pizzeria is the second best thing. But even if you just want to top some bagels or english muffins with the mushrooms and white sauce, you’re in for quite the vegan pizza treat!


You’ll Need:

CARAMELIZED MUSHROOMS & ONION

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4oz shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 8oz cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

EVERYTHING ELSE

  • *Pizza Dough
  • **Vegan Garlic White Sauce
  • Vegan mozzarella
  • Fresh rosemary


Instructions:

Make the Mushrooms:

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Sauté until all the water has evaporated, about 7-10 minutes.
  2. Add the salt and cook another 2-4 minutes, or until all the liquid has cooked off and the mushrooms start sticking to the pan. Turn off heat and set aside until ready to assemble pizzas

Make the Pizzas:

  1. One hour before you're ready to bake, preheat your oven to 550 ºF, or as hot as it will go. Place a rack one third of the way down from the top of the oven, and place a baking steel or baking stone on that rack. You want the oven to saturate with heat for 1 hour before baking pizza for best results.
  2. At this time also remove the pizza dough from the fridge so it can come to room temperature and the gluten can relax.
  3. When the oven is nice and hot, prepare your pizzas one at a time. Stretch (don't roll!) your dough to around 10-12" diameter and place on a lightly floured pizza peel. Spread the garlic white sauce over the dough then top with the caramelized mushroom mixture, vegan mozzarella, and the fresh rosemary.
  4. Transfer the pizza onto the baking steel or pizza stone and bake for about 8 minutes. If needed, turn the heat to broil for another 1-2 minutes to brown the top. Alternatively, bake on a baking sheet: assemble the pizza straight on the pan and place directly in the oven to bake.
  5. Repeat the pizza assembly and baking with the remaining dough.
  6. Let the pizza cool for a couple minutes before cutting and serve with crushed red pepper. Enjoy while hot!


NOTES:

*HOW TO MAKE PIZZA DOUGH


You’ll Need:


  • 1 1/2 cups (350g) water, 95 ºF
  • 2 1/2 tsp (14g) salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried instant yeast
  • 4 cups (500g) all purpose flour


Instructions:


  1. Measure out the warm water in a large mixing bowl. Add in the salt and stir to dissolve. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let sit for a couple of minutes to hydrate and dissolve, then stir to distribute.
  2. Add the flour into the mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until you form a shaggy dough. Switch to using your hands. Wet your hands to prevent the dough from sticking to them and pinch the dough into several segments between your first finger and thumb. Then reach under the edges of the dough and gently pull it up to stretch the dough until you hit resistance, then fold the section of dough over to rest of the dough. Turn the bowl 1/4 turn and repeat the pulling and folding until you've gone all around. This action brings the dough back into one piece. Repeat the pinching and folding process for about 1-2 minutes until your dough starts to turn into a cohesive, but sticky ball of dough. Re-wet your hands as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking to them. Cover the bowl and let rest for 20 minutes.
  3. After the 20 minutes of rest, turn the dough onto a clean and floured surface. Knead the dough for about 1 minute until you get a smooth ball of dough. Flour your hands and add flour to the counter as necessary to prevent sticking. Lightly coat the mixing bowl with oil and place the ball of dough mixing bowl, turning to coat in oil before leaving seam side down. Cover the mixing bowl and let the dough rise for about 1 hour, until it's doubled in size. You can let it rise for up to 2 hours before shaping.
  4. Turn the dough onto a clean, floured counter and stretch to make a large rectangle. You're going to divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces (depending on the size you want your final pizza to be) by sprinkling flour over where you're going to cut (this prevents it from sticking) and cut into the sections with a bench scraper, or with a butter knife by pressing straight down into the dough.
  5. Shape the dough one piece at a time. To shape the dough, you will use the same folding technique as before (this time with dry or lightly floured hands). Take a section of the dough and gently stretch it up until you feel resistance, then fold over the middle. Take the next section and repeat, and move around the dough until you have created a tight ball. Then, turn the ball of dough and place seam side down on a clean, un-floured section of the counter. Cup the dough ball between your hands with your pinky fingers resting on the counter behind it. Pull the dough towards you, allowing the friction between the dough and counter to pull the dough underneath itself, and using your pinky fingers to prevent the dough from simply rolling. Turn the dough about a quarter turn and repeat. Do this until you've gone in a full circle and the skin around the dough ball is taught. Sprinkle flour over the dough and spread it around with your hands until the dough is not sticky to touch. Repeat with the remaining sections of dough, then place on a floured plate. Sprinkle more flour on top of the dough, then cover with plastic wrap and place the plate in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or up to 48 hours, before making pizza.
  6. Before shaping the dough and baking, let come to room temperature and relax for about 1 hour. If you try to shape the dough and it's not stretching out easily or quickly, let it rest for 10 minutes then try again.


**VEGAN GARLIC WHITE SAUCE

You’ll Need:


  • 1 cup (130g) cashews, soaked in cold water for 2 hours and drained
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 cups (480 mL) water
  • 1/2 tsp (3g) salt
  • 1/4 cup (26g) nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp (28 g) vegan butter
  • 3 tbsp (30g) all purpose flour
  • freshly ground black pepper


You’ll Need:


  1. Add the cashews, garlic, water, salt, and nutritional yeast to a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down as necessary.
  2. Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium-low heat and add the butter. Let it melt then add the 3 tablespoons of flour. Stir to mix and let cook for 3-4 minutes until the flour is lightly toasted and a shade darker.
  3. Slowly stream in the garlic cream, whisking as you pour so it doesn't clump up. Add the black pepper and whisk while the cream comes to a simmer. Let simmer until thickened, about 3-5 minutes, then remove from heat. If the mixture remains a little clumpy, just use an immersion blender or an upright blender and blend to smooth.
  4. Store the garlic cream in the fridge for up to a week.

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