I've always had a weak spot for pizza. When I was younger, that meant pizza with tons and tons of cheese. In my twenties as I started to eat healthier, and then in my thirties as I started phasing dairy out of my diet, I would order tomato pie, which is basically a crust and sauce without cheese. Nice for a carb fix and all, but kind of boring for a serious pizza lover. But I was never a big fan of store bought vegan cheese, so what other options were there?
Eventually I realized there were lots of options. A pizza crust is basically a vehicle for whatever you want. As long as you've got a nice saucy base and plenty of flavor, you're good.
So I started throwing all kinds of things on pizza, sans cheese, and it turns out they were all delicious. (Hummus pizza, anyone?)
While Indian food might not be a traditional pizza topper, is a perfect fit.
Chilli paneer was always one of my favorite Indian restaurant dishes. If you're not familiar, it's basically cheese slices served in a really spicy tomato sauce with peppers and onions, and if you're lucky it's served on a sizzling platter. I love it so much I went and made a vegan version a while back using tofu in place of cheese. This time around I decided to try adding the spicy sauce to some chickpeas. As it turns out, super spicy chickpeas and pizza are a match made in heaven. I topped everything off with a drizzle of tahini, which may not fit with conventional Indian food or pizza, but trust me, it's delicious.
A quick word to the wise: like I mentioned above, this one is spicy! I went all out in an attempt to make the sauce taste as close as possible to the stuff I've gotten while dining out. If you're sensitive to heat, this might not be the pizza for you, and if you're not sure how you'll tolerate the heat, just decrease the amount of sriracha and cayenne pepper in the recipe, perhaps starting with a tiny bit of each and adding in increments. You could also serve this pizza up with some plain yogurt (dairy-free if you're vegan), or cashew cream to help quell the fire.
- 1 medium green bell pepper sliced into strips
- 1 onion sliced into strips
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 pound pizza dough store-bought or homemade
- ½ cup tomato paste
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce or to taste, see note
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste, see note
- 1 14 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 scallions chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1-2 tablespoons tahini sauce for drizzling (thin with water if needed)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place a pizza stone or baking sheet into the oven to preheat.
- Place the peppers and onions into a roasting pan or onto a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a 14 inch round circle, then carefully transfer it to the pizza stone or baking sheet and brush the top with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
- Place the veggies and the crust into the oven. Bake the crust until lightly browned and puffy, about 20 minutes. Bake the veggies until tender and browned in spots, about 20 minutes, flipping once about half way through the cook time.
- While the crust and veggies bake, place the tomato paste, vinegar, maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, sriracha, cayenne, and chickpeas into a small saucepan and give everything a stir. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, just until the sauce thickens up a tiny bit. Remove from heat.
- Once the crust and veggies are done baking, spread the chickpea mixture over the crust. Top with peppers and onions, then sprinkle with scallions and cilantro. Drizzle with tahini, slice and serve.