Vegan pesto pizza with broccoli, rucola, and cherry tomatoes – lots of fresh flavours, piles of greens, & no weird fake cheese!
Since ditching cheese, I’ve tried to think of creative ways to enjoy pizza without that main element. Hummus pizza is a favourite to emulate the cheesy flavour but at this time of year, and throughout the spring and summer, vegan pesto jumps to the top of my list. I used the wild garlic pesto I posted yesterday for this pizza and it’s awesome. Regular basil-based pesto will be just as good and if you’re a little skeptical of broccoli on pizza, it’s embracing the hippie plant-based direction this recipe is heading in, hah. I would never have even considered eating this a few years ago – so if you think a super green pizza is going too far, you never know! My go-to used to be triple cheese pineapple, seriously.
I used a basic sourdough spelt pizza dough here, but you can use any base you like – naan is a favourite around here (and would make this into a 15 minute meal), or try a gluten-free cauliflower or broccoli crust. This recipe isn’t so much about the base as about the toppings, so although I have included a dough recipe, it’s something that can easily be switched around to suit your preferences. Apart from the crust, you’re looking at four main ingredients – pesto, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and rucola or another baby green. Super simple and awesome.
For this recipe I like to keep the crust a bit thicker, more like an American style pizza and less crunchy flat bread, so it just makes one pizza. I usually have one piece (they’re huge, though) and that’s it though so I’m thinking this’ll feed four not-starving people but who knows, really. I have no idea how much you eat.
Vegan Pesto Broccoli Pizza
- 330 grams / 2 1/2 cups spelt flour separated
- 250 ml / 1 cup water
- 80 grams / 1/4 cup starter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
- 250 grams / 1 cup wild garlic pesto or another pesto a few spoonfuls reserved
- 100 grams / 1 cup broccoli florets
- 8 cherry tomatoes halved, plus extra for topping
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large handful rucola
- Sunflower seeds
- Hemp hearts
In a large bowl, mix 130 grams / 1 cup of the flour with the water, starter, oil, salt, and sugar. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough becomes too difficult to stir with a wooden spoon. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead, adding more flour as needed, for about five minutes or until a smooth dough forms.
Place the dough into a clean, greased bowl and cover with a plate or board. Let it sit at room temperature for 18-24 hours to rise. Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 200C / 400F, grease two baking sheets, and sprinkle some cornmeal or flour onto them.
Place the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and use your hands to press and stretch it into a rough oval, a couple of centimetres thick. Let it rest for about half an hour, covered, then spread with the pesto, and top with broccoli, tomatoes, and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden. Top with additional cherry tomatoes, rucola, a few dollops of pesto and seeds. Serve hot.