How To Make a Killer Cheese-Free Pizza

It’s a good day when we get to talk about pizza. Am I right or am I right?!?!

And today we are specifically going to have a little chat about how to make a killer cheese-free pizza!

Learn how to make a killer cheese-free pizza at home! With a flavorful pesto base and plenty of crunchy veggies, you won’t even miss the cheese! Vegan & dairy free!

Because now that I’ve shared all the nitty gritty details about why I’ve had to go dairy free, it seemed like the appropriate time to post today’s recipe.

So gather round my dairy free and vegan friends and let’s discuss how to make an awesomely tasty pizza without the cheese! {Or, you know, anyone who maybe wants to cut back on the dairy in their life??? All are welcome to this party!}

This pizza party! <— Okay I’m stopping now.

So! Since having to ditch the cheese, I’ve been endlessly playing around with how to make a really good pizza at home. I have tried SO MANY combos – switching up toppings and sauces and experimenting with different store-bought cheeses (none of which seem to melt quite right with the high oven heat needed to get an awesome pizza crust).

But this long pizza journey finally led me to the winning combo that I present to you today:

  • Homemade dairy free arugula pesto as a base
  • A delightful sprinkle of chopped walnuts for some crunch
  • Flavorful sliced red onion and bell pepper for topping
  • And fresh peppery greens for finishing

And my goodness me, lemme tell you that the combo is just dang GOOD. As in so good that you won’t even miss the cheese. <— Bold statement, I know. But seriously. It’s delicious.

A peppery and oh-so-flavorful arugula pesto (with sunflower seeds!) serves as the base of this delicious cheese-less pizza!

How to make a killer cheese-free pizza! With a combo that is so flavorful you won’t even miss the cheese! With a simple pesto, crunchy walnuts and plenty of veggies! Vegan & dairy free!

Now, let’s get to a few tips & tricks for making this delightful cheese-less pizza!

  1. First things first. As with all pizzas, feel free to adjust the amount of the toppings to your taste. And play around as you like! Use your own favorite pizza dough or dairy free pesto, use pecans instead of walnuts, etc. etc. I think baby kale would also be great here in place of the arugula (especially if you find arugula to be a bit too spicy / peppery for your liking!). But you get my point. Experiment and find your perfect combo.
  2. If you don’t have a pizza stone, have no fear. Just place the parchment with your pizza on a baking sheet and stick in the oven to bake away. It takes a bit less time as you don’t need to heat the stone (but I would highly recommend getting one if you are going to be making homemade pizza on the regular – it really does make a difference in the awesomeness of the crust!).
  3. If you find that your pizza dough keeps bouncing back while shaping, stop and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Then try again. This gives the gluten a chance to relax and will help with the shaping process.
  4. And finally, let’s talk salt. Because there is no cheese, this is definitely less salty than your typical pizza. So taste and adjust your pesto as desired, or sprinkle on a touch more salt after baking if you find you need it. Again, adjust to you!

Because this crispy, chewy, veggie-packed goodness??? Yeah, you sooo need to get in on it.

Let’s talk how to make a killer cheese-free pizza! This easy recipe includes a simple arugula pesto base, plenty of sliced veggies and crunchy walnuts! Dairy free & vegan!

Yield: 1 medium-large pizza

How To Make a Killer Cheese-Free Pizza

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 42 minutes

Learn how to make a killer cheese-free pizza at home! With a flavorful pesto base and plenty of crunchy veggies, you won’t even miss the cheese! Vegan & dairy free!

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Ingredients:

For the pesto:

  • 2 cups lightly packed baby arugula
  • ½ cup lightly packed baby spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
  • ⅓ cup olive oil

For the pizza:

  • 1 ball wheat pizza dough OR herbed whole grain pizza dough
  • ⅓ cup raw walnuts, chopped
  • ½ of a small red onion (or regular onion), thinly sliced
  • 1 small bell pepper (any color), thinly sliced
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 2 cups lightly packed baby arugula

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 500ºF. Place a pizza stone in the oven and allow the stone to heat for at least 15 minutes (if you can do 30, even better!).

For the pesto:

  1. Add the arugula, spinach, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil and process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. Set aside.

For the pizza:

  1. Place the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface and allow to relax for about 10 minutes (but no longer than 30). Roll out and shape the dough. Then transfer to a piece of parchment paper cut to about the size of your pizza stone that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal.
  2. Scoop the pesto onto the dough and smear evenly all over, leaving a border around the edges. Top with the walnuts, red onion and bell pepper.
  3. Transfer to the oven (put the parchment paper with the pizza directly on the pizza stone). Bake for about 10 to 14 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven, then sprinkle with the lemon zest and top with the fresh arugula. Let cool slightly, then slice and serve!

Prep time includes time to preheat the oven and allow the pizza stone to heat.

Be sure to read the tips & tricks section in the post above for more helpful info!

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