Sweet, salty, tangy, and spicy, this Korean Barbecue Pizza with Tofu and Maitake is a fun and flavor-packed twist on pizza night! Hopefully the name of the recipe isn’t misleading. I mean, obviously we’re not doing traditional Korean BBQ on a vegan blog. What we are doing is taking one of the world’s most flavorful sauces and adding it to basic pizza dough. Then we’re topping our pizza with crumbled tofu, sautéed maitake mushrooms, and a crisp kimchi-arugula salad.
Though this recipe isn’t difficult to make, it does require several steps and a bit of time if you make your own dough, but it also allows for plenty of short cuts. Here are a few ways you could speed up the process:
- Use store-bought dough.
- Make the dough in advance. Well-wrapped and protected from drying out, dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. (Some sources say dough can be kept for up to two weeks, but that has not been my experience.)
- Make the dough the same day you want pizza, but throw caution to the wind and scrap the hour-long rise. Let it rise for just 15 to 30 minutes, and then get to work building your pizza.
- Make the barbecue sauce in advance.
Thick vs. Thin Crust and the Balance of Salt
You may have noticed a difference in these photos (besides the lighting), as in, thick vs. thin crust. We’ve made this pizza several times and have tried it both ways. For this particular recipe I would say crust style is a personal preference. The sauce flavors are strong enough to stand up to thick crust. Of course, the nice thing about thin crust is that you get TWO pizzas from a batch of dough instead of just one.
I’m inclined to give a warning about thin crust, though….. if you go with a VERY thin crust pizza (which we did once), I recommend reducing the soy sauce to 1/3 cup (noted in the recipe). Without as much dough in each bite, the sauce is very salty when using the full 1/2 cup of soy sauce. Just something to keep in mind. The sauce to crust ratio is a bit of a balancing act.
The first time I made this pizza I used maitake mushrooms purchased at the grocery store. But the second time, we used these beautiful golden oyster mushrooms (and some maitakes) we came across at one of our local farmers markets. There’s a regular vendor at the North Asheville market called Myco-Gardens, and one Saturday morning she had this gorgeous assortment. Aren’t they magical?
Really, you can use any mushrooms you like on this pizza. The only critical part is that they’re briefly seared in a pan first. This allows their moisture to release and evaporate instead of creating watery pools on top of your pizza.
One other note on flavor: don’t skip the kimchi and greens salad! The contrasts that happen between the salty and acidic kimchi, rich sauce, and bready dough are what put this pizza over the top. Plus, raw greens are good for you! If you don’t have arugula you can substitute another green, such as baby kale or spinach.
I hope you enjoy this Korean-inspired vegan pizza with tofu and maitake mushrooms. If you try it I would love to see a photo on instagram! Just tag @myquietkitchen. You can also rate the recipe below and leave a comment here to let everyone know how it turned out.
In the mood for more pizza? How about STUFFED crust pizza?
Vegan Stuffed Crust Pizza With Homemade Mozzarella and Herb Crust!
Vegan Pesto Stuffed Crust Pizza
Korean Barbecue Pizza with Tofu and Maitake
For the pizza:
- 1 batch Basic Pizza Dough use 1/2 batch for one thin crust pizza or full batch for thick crust
- 8 ounces extra firm tofu, preferably sprouted extra firm due to firmer texture and lower water content
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 7 ounces maitake, aka hen of the woods, mushrooms, separated by hand
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup prepared marinara sauce
For the bbq sauce:
- 1/2 cup soy sauce (NOTE: if going with thin crust reduce soy sauce to 1/3 cup)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1-2 tsp sriracha
- 1 tsp ginger, freshly grated
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup or 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- black pepper, to taste
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp water
For the kimchi salad:
- 2 large handfuls arugula
- 1/2 cup kimchi, including some of the juice
- Prepare dough. While dough is rising...
- If using a pizza stone, place in oven and preheat to 500 degrees.
- In a small sauce pan, whisk together all ingredients for the barbecue sauce. Stirring frequently, cook sauce over medium heat until it begins to thicken. Set aside.
- Either by hand or in a food processor, process tofu into a crumbled, ground texture.
- Preheat a saute pan over medium heat. Add oil and mushrooms. Stirring occasionally, cook 2-3 minutes or until softened. Move mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the tofu and garlic to the hot pan, stirring occasionally. Cook until warmed through and remove from heat.
- On a lightly floured surface, press out dough into a 12 inch round. If you have a pizza peel, sprinkle it with flour or cornmeal as you normally would and place dough on the peel. If you don't have a peel, VERY carefully move the preheated pizza stone to the stovetop and place dough on stone. Work quickly through step #8.
- Spread approximately 3/4 cup barbecue sauce and the 1/2 cup marinara on pizza, swirling together. Top with mushrooms and tofu mixture.
- Bake thin crust pizza 15-18 minutes or thick crust pizza 20-25 minutes. Crust should become golden brown.
- Remove pizza from oven and let stand 10 minutes. While pizza rests, in a bowl combine the kimchi and arugula. Top pizza with the kimchi salad, slice, and serve.