I recently ate at Jack Astor’s and tried their Veg Out Pizza. It was delicious, so I took notes. Well, mentally, anyway. This weekend, I had a go at recreating it at home. It was a bonus that this particular recipe was pretty easy to duplicate. So I not only borrowed their pizza idea here, I stole their name, too, because I’m shameless. (It’s just such a great name. I couldn’t help myself.)
This vegetable-only pizza features roasted red onions, garlic and artichokes, slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, goat cheese and mozzarella, and is finished with a drizzle of balsamic and a sprinkling of fresh arugula. All my favourite tastes on one pizza!
Don’t be afraid of the onions. Once they’re roasted, they are lovely and sweet, so load them on. You don’t need a ton of cheese on this pizza though, just a handful of mozzarella and a scattering of goat cheese crumbles will do. I know it doesn’t look like a lot of toppings here, but trust me, there is a ton of flavour going on.
It should be said, I take my pizza a wee bit seriously. You see, I’m on a life-long quest to make a perfect pizza at home. That said, I don’t expect everyone to feel the same way. So the great thing about this pizza is that you can go all in and make your own pizza dough and sauce, or you can use a store bought of one or the other, or both. You can slow-roast the cherry tomatoes ahead of time, or you can just slice them in half and toss them on your pizza (where they’ll cook up nicely). The roasting of the onions, artichokes and the garlic takes place while the oven pre-heats for the pizza, so that part is dead easy.
Olives. It’s worth mentioning that the original dish specified olives (black kalamata, I believe). I don’t like olives, so I asked to have my pizza without. My recreated version here doesn’t have them either, because, well … it’s my blog and I don’t like olives :) I’m sure if you like olives, you’d like them on this pizza. I think. So feel free to throw some on, if, you know … the thought of it doesn’t make you gag.
What can’t you stand on your pizza?
Veg Out Pizza
Summary: This pizza can be made completely from scratch, or use your favourite store-bought dough and/or store-bought pizza sauce. If you’d like to make your dough from scratch, I love Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza dough. Recipe is below. One warning though, you need to start it the night before. Break out the good balsamic for this pizza.
- Pizza dough, store-bought or home made (or see below for recipe suggestion)
- Pizza sauce, store-bought or home made (see below for recipe suggestion)
- Cherry tomatoes, halved or halved and slow-roasted (see below for recipe)
- 1 can of artichoke quarters
- 1 large red onion, sliced about 1/4-inch thick (across the equator), and separated into rings
- 2-3 whole garlic cloves
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Goat cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Parchment paper
- For garnish:
- Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling on cooked pizza
- Fresh baby arugula, for sprinkling on cooked pizza
- If you are making the Lahey pizza dough, mix up all the ingredients the night before and leave out on counter until ready to make your pizza the next day.
- If you are making the slow roast tomatoes, roast off earlier in the day (or the night before) and refrigerate until ready to make your pizza.
- 1 hour before eating, with rack in bottom third of oven, place a pizza stone into cold oven, then preheat oven to 480-500 degrees. (*Tip: if you don’t have a pizza stone, I’ve heard a cast-iron frying pan works well.)
- 30 minutes before eating, slice the onions and peel garlic, but leave whole. Arrange onion and garlic into a single layer on a baking sheet. Drain some artichoke quarters on a piece of paper towel and then place onto the baking sheet as well. Drizzle all with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Pop into the (hot) oven just until soft and lightly browned (it won’t take long in a 480° oven, 4-6 minutes), then set aside to cool.
- Place dough onto a well-floured surface and divide into two pieces. Sprinkle a sheet of parchment paper with some cornmeal. Place floured dough onto parchment and shape dough into a round. Top with pizza sauce, roasted onions, roasted artichokes, cherry tomatoes, grated mozzarella and crumbled goat cheese. Mince the roasted garlic and sprinkle evenly over pizza. Using a pizza peel (or large cutting board, slide the pizza and the parchment onto your pizza stone). Bake, until dough is cooked and well-browned (Tap on the side of the dough. It should sound hollow). Remove from oven and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with fresh arugula.
Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 15 min | Total time: 50 min
Number of servings (yield): 8
No-Knead Pizza Dough Recipe (Adapted from Jim Lahey)
Makes four 12-inch pizza crusts
500 grams (17 1/2 ounces or about 3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
1/4 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
350 grams (1 1/2 cups) water
In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon, mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature for 18 hours or until it has more than doubled.
Slow-Roasted Tomatoes Recipe
Halve the cherry tomatoes and scatter over a baking sheet, with the cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place into a preheated 250° F. oven and roast until dried and shriveled up, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
Pizza Sauce Recipe (Adapted from Peter Reinhart)
Makes Enough for 4 to 6 Pizzas
1 can (28 oz.) crushed or ground tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste, start with 1/2 teaspoon, then adjust as needed)
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil (or 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano)
1 tsp. garlic powder (or 4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced or crushed)
1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice, or a combination of both
Stir all the ingredients together, adding the salt gradually, to taste. Do not cook this sauce. The tomatoes are already cooked when they go in the can and they will cook again on the pizza. This sauce will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.