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Vegan Four Seasons Pizza: Meat Free Monday

Four Seasons Pizza

I’ve been making pizza again…I’ve decided that my pizza’s must be fine to eat fairly regularly because the base is so thin and crispy and there is no cheese! You’d never miss the cheese on this pizza though, the variety of fresh and interesting flavours would be destroyed by the greasy cheese! In fact I simply ban you to even think about adding cheese to this pizza (in a friendly veghotpot way of course)

I haven’t ever really had a 4 seasons pizza which excited me before, which may not be fair to 4 seasons pizzas because I’ve only ever eaten a few. I wanted each section to excite me and send me back to the flavours of that season…fresh spring and summer, cosy autumn and comforting winter.

You could of course pick your favourite flavour and make a whole pizza of it, or four big pizzas with each flavour :)

Spring (Asparagus), Summer (Tomatoes and Pesto), Autumn (Mushrooms), Winter (Carrots)

I made this a sort of rectangle pizza and made each section very separate from each other, each season is its own pizza in a way. This pizza takes a little bit of prep but I kept each season as simple as I could with one main tomato sauce and only 2 main flavours per season which speak for themselves. We have the following flavours:

Spring – Asparagus, Lemon Zest and Chilli Flakes

Summer – Basil and Tomato

Autumn – Mushroom, Thyme and Truffle Oil

Winter – Carrots, Mustard Seeds and Coriander

Who needs cheese with you’ve got so much flavour!

I did find that if you are only making one pizza then you only need half a carrot and a handful of mushrooms etc so I have written this recipe as if it would make two pizzas. If like me you don’t mind having half a carrot in the fridge for another recipe or to be juiced then just half it to make one. All of the “extra flavours” are ingredients I have in my store cupboard but below I have suggested some alternatives if you don’t have everything already and you don’t want this pizza to cost a lot.

Spring – Asparagus with lemon zest and chilli flakes

Asparagus season runs from May to June. I think it adds a gorgeous freshness to the pizza and contrasts really nicely to the crisp pizza base. If you can’t get Asparagus then swap it with artichokes, green beans or even some softened leeks, I wouldn’t suggest the canned asparagus it’s like mush! Fresh Asparagus is really good for you and for me it sums up the season of Spring. If you don’t have chilli flakes then you could use a fresh chilli or a good grind of black pepper will give you the kick it needs.

Summer – Pesto, Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

Tomatoes and Basil are classic summer ingredients. tomatoes season runs from July to October and they are a pretty basic pizza ingredient. I added pesto (you can make your own vegan pesto or buy vegan pesto from the shops) to add another level of flavour and I only add the fresh basil after cooking so that it remains that gorgeous bright green colour. If you don’t have pesto you could add a crushed garlic clove and some basil leaves. If you don’t have tomatoes then a nice red pepper sliced up would add a lovely sweetness to contrast the slightly peppery basil.

Autumn – Mushrooms, dried thyme and a good drizzle of Truffle oil!

Although you can get mushrooms all year around I picked them for Autumn because for me they sum up the sorts of foods I start to eat when the weather gets colder, Mushrooms are at their best between October and November. Mushrooms and Thyme are a classic combination and work perfectly on a pizza. I added truffle oil for an intense warming flavour but if you don’t have truffle oil then a good quality Walnut oil or even just an extra virgin olive oil will be nice drizzled over. If you don’t have thyme you could add rosemary or dried sage. If you don’t have mushrooms then go to the shops…..I really can’t think of an alternative for the cheap and cheerful mushroom :)

Winter – Carrots spiced with ground coriander and mustard seeds with fresh coriander

Carrots season run from January to April but again you can easily buy carrots all year around. I had never seen carrot on a pizza so it took me a while to decide how I was going to present it. I first thought a carrot puree would be nice but visually I didn’t think it would look appealing so I decided to go with a very finely Julienne carrot. This worked really well, the carrot softened enough to make it enjoyable to eat but still with a bit of texture and bite. The spices are not over whelming they just lift the dish. If you don’t have Mustard Seeds or ground coriander then some ground ginger or even just a small amount of cumin seeds would be nice. If you don’t have carrots then add some very thin julienne of parsnip? (question mark because I haven’t tried this but imagine it’d be nice!)

A platter of different flavours

Makes 2 Pizzas

Pizza Dough:
210g Strong White Bread Flour
1 1/2 tspn Dried Yeast
1 tblspn Olive Oil
Pinch Salt
110ml Luke Warm Water

To make the bread dough sift the bread flour into a large mixing bowl and add the yeast and a pinch of salt. Make a well in the flour and into that add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the luke warm water. Mix it with a wooden spoon combining all the flour untill it has come together as a dough (add a little more water if needed). Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes then shape it into a ball, coat it very lightly in oil to keep it moist and place in a bowl covered in cling film for an hour or so to let it rise.

Tomato Sauce:
1 Garlic Clove – crushed
1 tblspn Tomato Puree
1 Can Chopped Tomatoes
Drizzle Olive oil for frying

In a small saucepan heat some oil and fry the garlic and tomato paste for 1 minute then add the canned tomatoes, turn down the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes until reduced, thick and spreadable.

Pizza Toppings:
Bunch Asparagus (Around 16 spears)
1 Lemon
Pinch Chilli Flakes
2 tblespoon Pesto (1 per pizza)
2 Tomatoes (1 per pizza)
Basil Leaves garnish
Large Handful Mushrooms – sliced
Sprinkle Dried Thyme
Drizzle Truffle Oil
1 Carrot
tblspn Sunflower Oil
Ground Coriander
Mustard Seeds
Fresh Coriander garnish

Preheat the oven to 200c.

Roll the dough out into two rectangles, it will be quite thin. Place onto a pizza tray or some baking paper so that it is easy to pick up once the toppings are on. Spread some tomato sauce on to each quarter of the pizzas leaving a gap down the middle.

Blanch the asparagus for 1 minute then drain and line up in rows in the Spring corner (see photo), sprinkle on 1/2 lemon zest on to each pizza and sprinkle a small amount of chilli flakes on to each pizza.

On the Summer corner spread some pesto over the tomato sauce. Thinly slice the tomatoes and layer up over the pesto (fresh basil doesn’t get added untill after it’s cooked)

Slice the mushrooms and pile on to the Autumn corner. Mushrooms shrink when cooked so add plenty and don’t be afraid to over lap (look at my before and after cooking photo and you will see what I mean). Sprinkle over the dried thyme but do not add the truffle oil until after it’s cooked.

Julienne the carrot and in a small bowl mix with the oil and spices then add to the winter corner. Again the coriander leaves don’t get added untill the end.

Place the pizzas into the oven fo 12 minutes. Once out add the fresh basil to the summer sections, fresh coriander to the winter sections and a good drizzle of truffle oil to the autumn section. slice and serve hot!

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10 thoughts on “Vegan Four Seasons Pizza: Meat Free Monday

  1. I agree with “Vegan Sparkles” – when I saw this recipe, I immediately thought “party”! The presentation is so elegant, and you just know it has to taste delicious :)

  2. Pingback: Vegan MoFo: The Final Round-up « veghotpot

  3. Pingback: My favourite recipes from 2012! « veghotpot

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