For this week’s “Flashback Friday” we revisit the pleasures of the Tuscan White Bean Pizza from Vegan on the Cheap. This insanely delicious pizza recipe is extremely popular among fans of VOTC and it’s no wonder: it tastes fabulous and is ideal for cooking vegan “on the cheap,” because it doesn’t call for any expensive vegan cheese. Instead, it has a creamy garlicky bean topping that is low in fat, high in protein, and, best of all, cheap to make. Remember, all the recipes in Vegan on the Cheap cost between 50 cents and two dollars to make, so you can easily eat wonderful vegan meals for just a few dollars a day.
As I mentioned the first time I posted this recipe, you can make the pizza dough using white whole wheat flour, but you can use anything from regular all-purpose flour, to half whole-wheat/half a.p. flour, to your favorite gluten-free flour blend. You can also add some dried herbs to the flour mixture when making the crust for added flavor. If you want to include extra toppings, here are some ideas: (Keep in mind that certain toppings, such as olives and artichokes, are pricier than others and will add to the cost of the pizza.)
vegan pepperoni slices (recipe in Vegan on the Cheap)
roasted or grilled vegetables
tossed baby greens salad with a light vinaigrette
crumbled vegan sausage and marinara sauce (recipes in Vegan on the Cheap)
sliced artichoke hearts and tofu feta (recipe in Vegan on the Cheap)
hummus, sliced tomatoes, and sliced pitted kalamata olives
And, finally, here is the recipe:
Tuscan White Bean Pizza
Makes 1 (12-inch) pizza
(Recipe from Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson © 2010, John Wiley and Sons.)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup water or vegetable stock
3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
2 ripe plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1. Make the dough: In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Stir in the water until combined then use your hands to knead it into a soft dough.
2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding additional flour as needed so it doesn’t stick. Shape the dough into a smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature in a warm spot until double in volume, about 1 hour.
3. After the dough has risen, transfer it to a lightly floured work surface, punch it down and gently stretch and lift it to make a 12-inch round about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the round to a floured baking sheet or pizza stone. Let the dough rise in draft-free place for 20 minutes. Adjust the oven rack to the bottommost position of the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
4. Make the topping: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the beans, salt, and pepper.
5. Mash the beans to break them up, then stir in the water and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is creamy, about 8 minutes. Stir in the basil and set aside.
6. To assemble the pizza, spread the bean mixture evenly on top of the dough round, to within 1/2-inch of the edge. Arrange the tomato slices on top and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake until the crust is browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.
Splurge a little: Add sliced pitted kalamata olives when you add the tomatoes. Garnish with thin strips of fresh basil leaves.