Pizza doesn’t have to be anything fancy to make me happy. But then again, it’s nice to have a change from the regular tomato-based sauce and experiment with different flavors. That’s how this white pizza with mushrooms and spinach was born. One day, my boyfriend and I created three different pizzas for the two of us, and one of those versions was very similar to this recipe.
We used vegan creme fraiche, which in my opinion is just great paired with mushrooms and slices of red onion. Spinach also fits quite well and adds a different flavor (plus more nutrients). If you don’t get vegan creme fraiche where you live, don’t fret – you can just use vegan sour cream instead. You could also make your own vegan sour cream – a simple blend of soaked cashews, some water and a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice tastes great.
This recipe isn’t too elaborate, but it takes a little time because the dough needs to rest in order to rise. If you’re in a time crunch or simply don’t want to bother, feel free to use store-bought vegan pizza dough instead. Personally, I never really liked the taste of store-bought dough, which is why I don’t use it. That’s just my two cents, though.
When working with the dough, it’s important to knead the dough for a couple of minutes. The warmth of your hands helps activate the yeast and also, the gluten from the flour can do its magic of making the mixture more of a homogenous dough. As you keep on kneading, you’ll find the dough will get stickier. In that case, just add a little flour at a time. It should not stick to your hands, but also not be too dry. Aim at making it so moist just can just handle it without any stickiness.
After kneading, let the dough rise in a warm (not hot!) place. Yeast works best at around 30° C (or up to 90° F). Cover the bowl with a damp table cloth and let it rest for 45 minutes or up to an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. When spreading out the dough later on, make sure not to use a rolling pin. It presses the air out of the dough and makes it less fluffy.
Apart from kneading and then waiting for your dough, there really isn’t all that much to do. So start with the dough, give it some time and chop some veggies in the meantime.
White Pizza With Mushrooms & Spinach
makes about 3 servings
For the dough:
- 475 g spelt flour or all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 teaspoons dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup plus 1/4 cup warm water
For the white sauce:
- 150 g vegan creme fraiche (or vegan sour cream)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- pepper to taste
- 150 g frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 50 g vegan shredded cheese
For everything else:
- 3 to 4 medium-sized mushrooms (cremini work just fine)
- 1/2 medium red onion, cut into strips
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- Thaw the spinach or put it in the microwave for a little bit to thaw.
- Start with the dough: Put all the ingredients in a big bowl. Start mixing with a fork or wooden spoon, then knead with your hands for about 5 minutes. 10 minutes are better yet. Add more flour as needed. Like I said, the dough should not stick to your hands, but not be too dry, either. You’ll start out with a rather dry dough but give it a little time – you will probably need more flour after a bit of kneading.
- Dust the dough with a little more flour, then cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let it rest in a warm spot (30° C would be perfect, but no more or you’ll kill the yeast), like close to a heater or outside on a hot day.
- While the dough rises, make the white sauce. In a small pot, mix vegan creme fraiche, salt, water, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon juice and pepper.
- Squeeze out excess liquid from the thawed spinach. You can use a kitchen towel or some paper towels for that. Then add the spinach to the sauce, along with the shredded vegan cheese.
- Slice the mushrooms and onions.
- When the dough has almost doubled in size, pre-heat the oven to 200° C (or around 400° F).
- The dough is enough for one big pizza on a baking sheet or two smaller round pizzas. Either spread out with your hands on a baking sheet or divide the dough in two. Spread it slowly so as not to rip the dough. It will stretch out further as you go.
- First add sauce, then mushrooms and red onion. Sprinkle with the oregano.
- Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like your pizza. Enjoy!