Sometimes you want pizza, and sometimes you want PIZZA!! Based on my Vegan Stuffed Crust Pizza, today's recipe introduces pesto and potato to the party. This Vegan Pesto Stuffed Crust Pizza has the same homemade herb crust, quick and easy vegan mozzarella, and tangy marinara, PLUS fresh basil pesto and thinly sliced potato.
As we head into summer I love looking for new ways to enjoy fresh herbs, and pesto is always a slam dunk. But since pesto is at its best when raw, we're going to add most of the pesto to our pizza after it comes out of the oven, though a small amount does go into the stuffed crust along with the vegan cheese. Speaking of vegan cheese....
Easy Homemade Vegan Mozzarella
If you haven't made your own melty, stretchy, cashew mozzarella yet, get ready for your life to change! You won't believe how easy it is to make cheese that melts beautifully and tastes irresistible. It's pretty magical and is essentially instant gratification. I talked about meltable vegan mozzarella quite a bit in the original Stuffed Crust Pizza post, so if you're new to making mozzarella at home, you might want to head over to that post and read up on a few more details about it, including the ingredients that make it so awesome (hint: I'm talking about tapioca starch and agar agar. Go ahead and add these two to your pantry because they are FULL of possibilities).
What toppings will you choose for your Vegan Pesto Pizza?
Have you ever had potato on pizza? I realize that might be a new idea for some people, while others have been eating potato pizza their whole lives. Potato pizza is a classic Italian dish, though we're not exactly trying to replicate that version here. Mainly I used the idea as inspiration (and justification) to use up two Yukon Gold potatoes I had lying around. On top of that, potatoes and pesto are a delicious combination. Truthfully, there's something very satisfying about biting into the warm and creamy slices of potato and the way they contrast with the chewy crust.
Any other veggies that pair well with pesto will be right at home on this pizza. Feel free to add your favorites, like onion, tomatoes, peppers, and spinach.
The process for making Vegan Pesto Pizza with Stuffed Crust:
There are a few steps involved in making pizza dreams come true, especially if you choose to make each element from scratch. So let's walk through the basic order of things so that your next pizza night will go as smoothly as possible.
- First, make the mozzarella - the cheese needs time to chill in the fridge so that it sets and is cool enough to handle when it comes time to stuff the crust.
- Next, make the dough - for the best tasting pizza crust, the dough should rise for at least an hour. But you'll make use of this time by prepping the potatoes and pesto, so it all works out!
- Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees F. If you don't have a pizza stone, I highly recommend getting one. They're pretty easy to find at stores like Target, Walmart, TJMaxx, etc. Or you can follow my affiliate link and purchase one on Amazon. The difference it makes in the crust is incredible. You'll never go back to a regular pizza pan after getting used to stone-baked crust. Pizza stones can also be used for other recipes like calzones, scones, and pretzels.
- Next, boil the potatoes - cook the potatoes until fork tender, then let them cool so you can slice them.
- Make the pesto - if you have access to vegan pesto at the grocery store, you can certainly go that route. However, the fresh pesto dolloped onto the pizza when it comes out of the oven is one of the main flavor components of this pie. So I think it's totally worth it to spend about 10 minutes making your own (as long as you can get your hands on plenty of fresh basil). After all, making pesto is a very simple process. Here's a recipe to get you started ---> Easy Vegan Pesto
- Shape the pizza dough and build your pizza - stuff the crust with a small amount of cheese and pesto (refer to photo above). Transfer the dough to the hot stone. Top with marinara, potatoes, and the remainder of the cheese. Now bake your glorious pizza for about 20 minutes.
- Remove the pizza from the oven, dollop on the rest of the fresh pesto, and DIG IN!
I hope you're as hungry and excited about this Vegan Pesto Stuffed Crust Pizza as I am! If you give it a try I would love to hear from you. Your feedback is really helpful. You can rate the recipe and comment below to let us know how yours turned out. And if you want to show off a photo of your pesto pizza you can tag me @myquietkitchen on instagram!
Vegan Pesto Stuffed Crust Pizza
- 1 batch Easy Vegan Pesto
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes
- red pepper flakes, optional
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp agar agar powder (if using flakes use 2 Tbsp) Helpful for making stuffed crust bc it causes the cheese to "set" but not needed otherwise.
- 2 Tbsp tapioca starch
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp refined coconut oil (this is the one that does not smell or taste like coconut), optional
- 1 cup water
- 340 grams all-purpose flour (scant 3 cups), plus more for rolling out dough
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 packet (.25 oz) active dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
Make the mozzarella:
- Combine the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Pour mixture into a small saucepan over medium heat. Stirring constantly, bring to a low boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for one minute, or until thickened and pulling away from the sides of the pot. Transfer cheese to ramekins or a mug, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the dough:
- In a small bowl combine the warm water, yeast and sugar. Allow to sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, oregano, parsley, basil, and garlic powder. Pour in the yeast mixture, and slowly stir to combine. Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes (sprinkle with more flour if too sticky). Form into a ball.
- Add the olive oil to a large, clean bowl (or wash and dry the mixing bowl you just used; a clean bowl helps the dough rise properly). Place the dough ball in the bowl and flip around a few times, using your hands to spread olive oil over the entire surface of the dough ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and set aside in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
- Place pizza stone in oven and preheat to 500 degrees F.
Prep the toppings:
- Wash the potatoes and place them in a pot. Add enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer the potatoes until just fork tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a plate and allow to cool. Once cool, slice thinly.
- Follow the link above, and prepare the pesto.
Assemble and bake the pizza:
- After the dough has risen, move it to a lightly floured surface. Using the pads of your fingers, gently move around the perimeter of the dough, pressing out to increase the dough in size. For a 13-inch pizza, stretch the dough to 16 inches in diameter, allowing for folding the edges over the cheese.
- Reserve about 1/3 of the cheese for topping the pizza. Cut the rest into 1/2-inch-thick strips or pieces. Distribute the cheese around the perimeter of the dough, about one inch from the edge.
- Reserve about 2/3 of the pesto to be added to the pizza after baking. Spoon a small amount of pesto onto the cheese (see photo in post). Fold dough over the cheese and pesto, lightly pinching/pressing down to seal the inner edge. It's important that the cheese is sealed in on all sides, or it will escape during baking.
- Remove hot stone from oven. If using a pizza peel, transfer the dough as you normally would. If you don't have a peel, gently fold the prepared dough in half (like a taco shell laying on its side) to make it easier to transfer to the stone. Carefully place dough on stone and unfold. *Keep in mind, where it lands is where it has to stay! That's why careful placement is important. Top with sauce, sliced potato, and the remainder of the cheese (simply pinch off pieces and dollop it on top).
- Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. If needed, broil for 1 to 2 minutes to brown the top. Allow the pizza to cool for a few minutes. Top with the remaining pesto, and sprinkle with crushed red pepper, if desired.
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