I have always been a huge fan of deep dish pizza, even before I went vegan and before I moved to the Midwest. I'm deep dish to the core, which is why you better believe this pie rocks.
The crust comes first. It's a pretty standard yeast dough, but with cornmeal added for a bit of sweetness and texture. The dough needs to be kneaded well in order for it to get stretchy enough, and this is best done with an electric mixer that has a hook attachment.
While the dough is rising, you get to work on one of my favorite things: tofu ricotta. It's really easy to put together because it just involves blending everything in a food processor. The cashew base makes it super creamy.
We'll also have a layer of onions, mushrooms and spinach. Pan frying the ingredients first helps them get evenly cooked and nicely caramelized.
The more difficult task is spreading the dough. Some people like to roll it out on a floured surface before transferring it to the pan. Others are really talented and can do all sorts of flippy twirly things with it - I've seen it on TV! I prefer to just stretch and spread it with my fingers, pressing it into the bottom and sides of the pan.
Then, layer on the toppings: veggies, Daiya and tomato sauce. Anyone who's had deep dish knows the sauce goes on top. After 20 minutes or so in a super hot oven, your pie is ready!
Deep Dish Pizza with Spinach and Mushrooms
Makes one 13-15” deep dish pizza
Important: You'll need 13-15" pan to bake the pizza in. It can be a deep dish pizza pan, an oversized pie pan or casserole dish.
1 package or 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, quartered
1 lb extra firm tofu
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
10 oz baby spinach
1 cup Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds
1 (15 oz) can pizza sauce
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the yeast and sugar into the warm water until dissolved. Let rest for ten minutes.
- Mix flour, cornmeal, oil and salt in a large bowl until well combined. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Stir to form a soft, smooth dough. Knead with a dough hook (for best results) or your hands for 10 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic. Form dough into a ball and place it in a large bowl coated in cooking spray. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch down, knead briefly, cover and let rise again for another 20 minutes.
- While the dough rises, prepare the ricotta. Blend the cashews, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic in a food processor until it forms a thick, smooth paste. Blend in the tofu until well incorporated. Blend in the basil and salt.
- Prepare the toppings. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, spices, salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes until browned and juicy. Add the spinach in batches and cook until just wilted but still bright green. Remove from heat.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Spray deep dish pan with nonstick spray and sprinkle a small amount of cornmeal on the bottom. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan and up the sides, covering it with a smooth, even layer.
- Layer the pizza first with the ricotta, then the spinach mushroom mixture. Sprinkle the Daiya on top, then dot the surface with the pizza sauce. Gently spread the sauce to cover the pizza in a single layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.