Vegetable & Walnut Pizza

Source: Photo and recipe courtesy of California Walnuts
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Main Ingredient: Vegetables, Nuts, Mushrooms, Cheese
Menu Part: Entree
Cuisine Type: American
Serves: 4 (6-in.) pizzas

Pepperoni may be the number one pizza topping, but pizza concepts must offer a couple of meatless topping options for the increasing numbers of vegans and vegetarians—and those who just want a lighter pizza option. Chef and cookbook author Mollie Katzen has long been a vegetable advocate and knows how to coax the most flavor out of ingredients like cauliflower and bell peppers.

Ingredients

1 cup wrist-temperature water
1 package (2 tsp.) active dry yeast
Pinch sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil (plus extra for the bowl)
3 cups unbleached white flour (1/4 cup may be whole wheat or rye)
Extra flour for kneading
Cornmeal
Thin slices mozzarella cheese
Thinly sliced red onions
Mushroom slices
Sliced bell pepper
Cauliflowerets
Broccoli florets
Canned artichoke hearts, drained, and sliced
Olives, pitted and sliced
Ripe tomato slices
Grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
Chopped walnuts 

Steps

  1. Place water in large bowl, sprinkle in yeast and sugar and stir to dissolve. Let stand 5 min., or until it begins to bubble.
  2. Stir in salt, oil, and 1 cup flour. Beat for several minutes with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. The dough will be soft, but should not be sticky.
  4. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead for several minutes. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise until doubled in bulk. This will take about 1 hr.
  5. Punch down dough; return to floured surface. Divide dough into 4 equal parts, knead each for a few minutes. Let dough rest about 10 min.
  6. Stretch each ball into a 6-in. circle. Sprinkle two baking trays with cornmeal, and place two circles on each. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 500°F. Top each pizza with any combination of toppings, making sure walnuts are on top to toast.
  7. Bake in lower half of oven 10 to 12 min., or until edges are crispy and brown. Serve immediately.