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Quick and Easy Gourmet Meatless Pizza Topping Ideas

Posted by Benny Traub on

Pizza toppings aren't confined to pepperoni and pineapple. There are plenty of vegetarian pizza topping combinations that can make a pizza exciting.

Think pizza means pepperoni and cheese?

Most pizza parlours feature at least a few vegetarian options, offering everything from classic combos like broccoli, peppers and tomatoes to exquisite gourmet pies. Here are a few basic and gourmet pizza topping ideas.

Pizza Crust Ideas

Homemade or store-bought doughs work here, as do pre-baked pizza crusts and alternative crusts like mini pitas. Just be sure to follow the cooking instructions for your specific type of crust – those made form fresh dough may need to be pre-baked, adding time to the meal.

 

Cooking Time and Temperature

Most pizzas have to cook at a hot temperature – about 425 F, for up to 12 minutes. For best results, check the instructions on your dough recipe or crust package.

How to Build a Pizza

The quantity of ingredients used to build a pizza varies with the size of the crust and each individual’s taste. Here are some guidelines for a standard 12-inch pizza:

Ingredients:

  • About ¼ - ½ cup sauce
  • About 1 ½ - 2 cups grated cheese (less if using stronger or a soft cheese)
  • ¼ - ½ cup each vegetable topping
  • 1/8 – ¼ cup salty, canned vegetable, and strong cheese toppings

Directions:

  1. Using a wooden spoon, gently spread a thin layer of sauce across the pizza shell, leaving a 1-inch crust at the edges.
  2. Sprinkle grated mozzarella evenly over the sauce.
  3. Layer additional toppings evenly over top.
  4. Top with strong cheeses.

For the complete pizza experience, serve with vegetarian Caesar salad.

Pizza Topping Combinations

See the recipe below for tantalizing topping combos, or combine your own.

Sauce Choices

  • Tomato (pizza) sauce
  • Pesto sauce
  • Salsa
  • Bruschetta mix

Fresh Vegetable Toppings

Cut toppings into small pieces so that every bite combines several flavours.

  • Green, red, yellow or orange bell peppers
  • Banana peppers (spicy)
  • Broccoli (layer under the cheese to prevent the florets from drying out)
  • Red onion
  • Green onion
  • Cooking onions (caramelized or fresh)
  • Pineapple
  • Roasted garlic (try blending into the sauce)
  • Mushrooms
  • Zucchini
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Fresh cilantro, basil or parsley

Canned Vegetable (and Fruit) Toppings

  • Artichoke hearts
  • Pepperoncini peppers (spicy)
  • Chipotle peppers or puree (very spicy)
  • Capers
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Sundried tomatoes

Salty Toppings

  • Sliced green or black olives
  • Kalamata olives
  • Tapenade (olive paste)
  • Pesto
  • Sundried tomato pesto

Nostalgic “Meat” Toppings

  • Faux pepperoni
  • Faux sausages, sliced
  • Artificial bacon bits

Cheeses

Try using a base of mozzarella cheese and blend in or top with a sharper, stronger cheese.

  • Shredded mozzarella – the classic pizza cheese
  • Shredded cheddar or sharp cheddar (blend in with mozzarella)
  • Feta cheese
  • Goat’s cheese
  • Cream cheese

Pizza Combinations

Try one of these great vegetarian pizza combinations.

Classic Vegetarian

  • Tomato sauce (pizza sauce)
  • Broccoli
  • Chopping green and/or red peppers
  • Red onions
  • Mozzarella cheese

Savour and Spice

  • Tomato sauce, mixed with about 1/2 tsp. sauce from a can of chipotle peppers (adobo)
  • Garlic powder or minced garlic
  • Grated mozzarella with a touch of old cheddar cheese mixed in
  • Sliced green onion
  • Pepperoncini peppers, sliced
  • Roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
  • Black or Kalamata olives, sliced

Meat-Lovers Vegetarian Faker

  • Tomato or pizza sauce
  • Yves brand vegetarian pepperoni slices (1/2 package)
  • Tofurky brand vegetarian Kielbasa sausage, sliced into ¼” slices
  • Chopped green pepper
  • Thinly sliced red or cooking onion

Gourmet (White) Pesto Pizza

Using pesto or another sauce (even sour cream!) is a trendy alternative to tomato-based pizza; perfect for those who don’t like tomatoes.

  • Pesto sauce (about ¼ cup), spread thinly over the crust
  • Sliced black or Kalamata olives
  • Mozzarella
  • Small chunks of feta cheese
  • Strips of sundried tomatoes (packed in oil)

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