One of the best vegan pizzas I’ve ever had was cooked on a grill by my dear friend Loretta. Grilling pizza was a new one for me, but I heartily recommend it.

The recipes you find here are not your ordinary pizzas, but who wants to be ordinary? These recipes prove that pizza is delicious, even without using animal products.

Susan’s Pizza Sauce

Prepared pizza sauces typically contain added sugar. Sugar is something I don’t need in my pizza sauce. Adjust the spices to your taste.

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8 oz. canned tomato sauce

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Italian spices

½ teaspoon fennel seed

¼ teaspoon onion powder

a dash of Tabasco sauce (about 1/8 teaspoon)

Mix all the ingredients together. This makes enough for one 15-inch pizza.

Homemade pizza dough spread out in the pan. (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Homemade pizza dough spread out in the pan. (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Susan’s Pizza Crust

The secret to a great pizza is a great pizza crust. Frozen crusts are good, but a crust made from scratch is much better. It might seem like a bother to make a pizza crust, but it’s actually easy, especially after you’ve done it a hundred times.

My secret ingredient for my pizza crust is the addition of Italian spices and garlic to the dough. I substitute a little whole wheat flour for the white flour for added nutrition, but if you prefer, just use all-purpose white flour.

This crust will make one 15-inch thick crust pizza or two 15-inch thin crust pizzas. I usually prefer a thin crust, so I freeze half the dough. Defrost the dough completely before using it for your next pizza masterpiece.

Oh, and if you’re really lazy, or have trouble finding yeast during a pandemic, naan works great as a pizza crust. Be aware that most naan contains dairy.

1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)

1 package active dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Italian spices

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ cup whole wheat flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons canola oil (divided)

Place the warm water in a large bowl. Whisk in the yeast and sugar and let sit for five minutes. Whisk in the salt, Italian spices and garlic powder. Add the whole wheat flour and 1½ cups of the all-purpose flour. Stir with a fork until most of the flour is incorporated, then knead the dough for five minutes on a lightly-floured surface. Add the remaining ½ cup of flour as needed. (Additional flour is not needed if the dough is still sticky, but holds together.) Form the dough into a ball. Clean the bowl, add about 2 teaspoons of oil to the bowl, then place the dough in the bowl and turn the dough to coat the dough’s surface with oil. Cover the bowl with either a towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about an hour. Punch the dough down, knead briefly, then use your fingertips to stretch the dough on a pizza pan oiled with the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. Let the dough sit for 5 minutes, then top with your favorite toppings and bake for 20 minutes.

Note: I like a crisp crust, so I always prebake my crust for 5 to 10 minutes at 425 degrees before adding toppings.

Traditional Vegan Pizza

One 15-inch pizza crust, prebaked 5 to 10 minutes, if desired

Toppings:

8 oz. pizza sauce

½ onion, chopped or sliced

½ bag vegan sausage crumbles

1 tablespoon canola oil

Italian spices to taste

2 oz. crumbled tofu, pressed to remove excess moisture

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sauté vegan sausage crumbles and Italian spices in oil until sausage begins to brown and get a little crisp. Spread pizza sauce on crust. Top with sausage, onion and crumbled tofu. Add other toppings if desired, such as sliced mushrooms, olives or tomatoes. Bake until toppings are piping hot and the crust is fully cooked and golden brown.

We like cold leftover pizza the next morning for breakfast. Doesn’t everyone?

Cauliflower Pizza (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Cauliflower Pizza (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza

This is a family favorite.

1 large (15-inch or larger) pizza crust, prebaked 5 to 10 minutes

½ cup hummus

½ cup vegan mayonnaise (we like Vegannaise)

1 teaspoon celery seed

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 small head cauliflower

¼ cup vegan margarine

¼ to ½ cup Red Hot original hot sauce, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix hummus, mayonnaise, celery seed and garlic powder together. Set aside. Remove leaves and core from cauliflower. Slice the cauliflower, like a loaf of bread, into ¼-inch slices. Steam the cauliflower slices until just tender. (I do this on top of the stove in a big frying pan with a glass lid. I add about ¼ cup of water, cover the pan, and let it steam for a few minutes. I add more water if necessary and then open the lid to let the water evaporate when the cauliflower is tender.) It’s okay if the sliced cauliflower breaks apart. After the cauliflower is done cooking, stir in the margarine and hot sauce and thoroughly coat the hot cauliflower.

Spread the hummus mix over the pizza crust. It’s okay not to use all the hummus. Extra hummus can be used as a dip or sandwich filling. Put the cauliflower mixture on top of the hummus. Bake until the crust is browned and the toppings are piping hot.

If you can’t fit all the cauliflower on the pizza, it’s great gently warmed and used as a salad topping.

Kale Pizza (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Kale Pizza (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Pizza

I discovered I liked Brussels sprouts when I tried a recipe that was run in the Duluth News Tribune in 2004. The recipe is Vetri’s Sherry-Charred Brussels Sprouts. I had these leftover sprouts in my lunch, and Cleo, a much-beloved co-worker, walked by my desk, smelled the delicious aroma, plucked a Brussels sprout out of my lunch container and popped it into his mouth! All my co-workers wanted to try those delicious sprouts! I still have that recipe, but I modified it slightly reducing the amount of oil used.

The secret to great Brussels Sprouts is to not overcook them.

To make this dish come together faster, you can use a jar of vegan fettucine sauce instead of making the white sauce from scratch.

One 15-inch pizza crust, prebaked 5 to 10 minutes

8 to 10 Brussels sprouts, halved

2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil or as needed

about 5 kale leaves, washed, dried, and torn into small pieces

White sauce:

3 tablespoons vegan margarine

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1½ cups non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon Italian spices

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon garlic salt (if desired)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Char the Brussels sprouts: heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet, lay the Brussels sprouts cut side down, and cook over high heat until the sprouts turn a dark brown. Flip and cook the other side of the sprouts until also dark. Add more canola oil if needed. Remove the Brussels sprouts from the pan and place them in a bowl.

Now make the white sauce. Using the same pan, melt the margarine, incorporate the flour, then add the milk a little at a time stirring continuously so that there are no lumps. Add the Italian spices and the garlic powder. The sauce should boil and thicken in a minute or two.

Assemble the pizza. Spread the white sauce on the pizza crust. Top with the sprouts then the kale. Sprinkle with garlic salt, if desired. Place in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. The pizza is done when the toppings are hot and the edges of the kale are brown and crispy.

Pesto Pizza (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Pesto Pizza (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Pesto Pizza

Do you remember the first time you had pesto? If your heritage is Italian, you might have grown up eating this divine concoction. My first pesto experience was probably in the late 1990s. A friend, who was a Duluth chiropractor, had our family over for dinner and made homemade pesto pizzas. She had a huge bag of fresh basil on the counter and popped sprigs of basil in her mouth as she cooked.

Vegan pesto is fairly easy to find or you can make your own by whirling fresh basil leaves, olive oil, and a dash of lemon juice in your food processor.

One 15-inch pizza crust

1 cup vegan pesto

½ cup Kalamata olives, sliced

1 tomato sliced and cut into fourths

¼ onion, sliced

2 oz. crumbled extra firm tofu

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

nutritional yeast, if desired

Cook pizza crust at 425 degrees until crust is golden brown and fully cooked. Spread pesto on hot pizza crust. Top with Kalamata olives, tomato slices, onion, crumbled tofu and toasted pine nuts. Bake for five more minutes to warm the toppings. If desired, serve with nutritional yeast for sprinkling on top.

Mexican Pizza (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Mexican Pizza (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Mexican Pizza

One 15-inch pizza crust

1 cup enchilada sauce, warmed

Toppings: sliced black olives, chopped tomatoes, pinto beans, black beans, chopped onions, chopped iceberg lettuce, corn, jalapeno peppers, vegan sour cream, chopped avocado, guacamole and nondairy cheddar cheese

Cook pizza crust at 425 degrees until crust is golden brown and fully cooked. Spread warm enchilada sauce on hot pizza crust. Place toppings of your choice on pizza. Slice and serve.

Beer Pizza (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Beer Pizza (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Beer Pizza

I make a thick crust pizza with this delicious dough.

Crust:

1 cup warm beer

4 tablespoons canola oil, divided

4 tablespoons sugar

1 package dry yeast

1 tablespoon salt

2½ to 3 cups of all purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornmeal

Toppings:

One 6-oz can tomato paste

½ cup of beer

2 teaspoons oregano

1 teaspoon fennel seed

½ teaspoon sugar

vegan Italian bulk sausage or crumbles

veggies of your choice: onions, peppers, olives, etc.

vegan mozzarella cheese or vegan shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine warm beer, 2 tablespoons oil, sugar, yeast, salt and ½ cup of flour in a large bowl. Add 2 more cups of flour and knead. If dough is still too loose and sticky, add more flour a quarter cup at a time until dough holds together enough to knead. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about five minutes, adding more flour as needed until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Place dough in a greased bowl turning the dough until all sides are greased. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap, then set the bowl in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has risen.

Oil a 15-inch pizza pan with 2 tablespoons of oil, sprinkle with the cornmeal, then pat the dough into the pan, pinching up a rim around the edge. Set the pan in a warm place and let the dough rise again for a half hour. At this point, you can prebake the crust for 5 to 10 minutes, if desired.

For the sauce, mix the beer, oregano, fennel seed and sugar into the tomato paste. Top the pizza dough with the sauce, sausage and other toppings. Place in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes (longer if you didn’t prebake the crust), until the crust is browned and the toppings are hot.

Caesar Salad Pizza (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Caesar Salad Pizza (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Caesar Salad Pizza

One 15-inch pizza crust

3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped

about 6 slices of vegan bacon, cooked until crispy, then chopped

1 ripe avocado, diced

Caesar dressing:

½ cup vegan mayonnaise

¼ cup unsweetened soy milk (more or less)

¼ teaspoon each: black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and soy sauce

pinch of oregano

1½ teaspoons nutritional yeast

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Bake pizza crust for 20 minutes or until fully cooked. The pizza crust should be a golden brown. While the crust is baking, make the Caesar dressing by whisking all ingredients together. If your vegan mayonnaise is very thick, you may want to use more soy milk, but I would err on the side of having a thick sauce for the base of the pizza.

Assemble the pizza. Spread about ½ to 1 cup of the Caesar dressing on the cooked pizza crust. Top with the lettuce, bacon and avocado. Sometimes I thin out the remaining Caesar dressing and drizzled it on the top of the pizza, but the pizza is delicious without adding more dressing.

Serve immediately.

Carrot Pizza (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Carrot Pizza (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Carrot Pizza

This recipe is adapted from The Vegan Stoner Cookbook by Sarah Cornique and Graham I. Haynes. The book's recipes are delightful, and the art is hilarious. This recipe uses carrot greens. Carrot greens contain six times more vitamin C than the root. It’s a shame to let the carrot greens go to waste when they’re so good for you!

This recipe may seem odd, but my family, even my kids, love it.

1 pizza crust, prebaked 5 to 10 minutes

2 large carrots with the green tops

¼ cup soy creamer

1 can black olives

2 garlic cloves

¼ onion

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop carrots and their tops. Cook carrot bottoms in a pan with a splash of water until soft. Toss cooked carrot bottoms in a blender with soy creamer and ¼ cup olive juice drained from can to make the sauce.

Cook chopped carrot tops in the pan with chopped garlic and a splash of water.

Spread carrot sauce on dough and top with carrot tops, onion and a handful of sliced olives. Bake for 10 more minutes or until toppings are piping hot.

Thai Pizza (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Thai Pizza (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Thai Pizza

If you’re making a pizza crust from scratch using my recipe, substitute 1 teaspoon of mild curry powder and ½ teaspoon of garlic powder for the Italian spices.

Prepared peanut sauce is available in the Asian section of most grocery stores.

One 15-inch pizza crust, prebaked 5 to 10 minutes, if desired

1 cup of peanut sauce

Pick your toppings: red pepper slices, green pepper slices, finely chopped kale, onion slices, chicken-flavored seitan, sliced water chestnuts, crumbled extra-firm tofu, or sliced button mushrooms

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spread peanut sauce on crust and top with desired toppings. Cook in oven 10 to 20 minutes until crust is a light brown and toppings are piping hot.

Serve with Sriracha sauce on the side.

Did you know?

According to a recent Mayo Clinic article, vegans — those who don’t eat any animal products including fish, dairy or eggs — have the lowest rates of cancer than any other segment of the population.

Susan Alexander loves gardening, farmers' markets and creating delicious meals consisting of whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits.