Monday, August 16, 2010

Recipe: Herb Crust Pizza

I don't think I've done a recipe post before but I figured I'm cooking all the time now so why not. The last four years of my life have been spent mostly heating up pre-made food. Now that I've graduated and I'm only working part time, I've discovered two things.

(1) Good food isn't cheap
(2) I have free time

The combination of the two has resulted in adventures into new and relatively easy to make recipes. Today we'll be having pizza for dinner so I figured why not chronicle it. We used to eat 1/2 the pizza each but now have about 1/4 at a time so I figure it serves 4 people (maybe 6). I'll focus on the crust because topping preferences vary considerable. So without further ado, let's begin.


There are a tonne of different dough recipes out there but this is based on the one that has been the easiest for me to make and the most consistent after cooking. You need:

2 cups water
4 cups white flour
1 cup soy flour
2 tsp sugar
4 tbs oil
1.5 tsp yeast
2 tsp salt

Parsley, Basil, Spinach (as much as you're comfortable with, I use spinach as a topping too)

Now put the two cups of water in the blender with the sugar and herbs/spinach and blend until mostly liquid. Visually it's nice to have larger herb pieces but the dough doesn't tend to stay together as well. I favour more workable dough and blend for a while. The water should feel relatively hot when you are done. Now place in the bowl and mix in yeast. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes (a bit longer tends to be better). There will be a bunch of foam on top so make sure the yeast is in the water and not just sprinkled on top.Toppings:

While this green, almost radioactive mixture is sitting, grate some cheese and chop up your vegetables. This part is completely up to personal taste. We enjoy our pizzas loaded with toppings. Instead of telling you what to put on, I'll just include a picture of our chopped delights. I put them all on plates and leave them in the fridge until needed.
If you have the time, you can also put some oil over the baking sheet. We put down aluminum foil because our sheet is old and the pizza tends to stick a bit (usually about 15% of the bottom sticks which is just enough to annoy us into using aluminum foil).Dough:

When the radioactive green mixture has finished it's 15 minutes of shame, you can add the flour, salt and oil. Now you can use 5 cups of white flour if you would like, but I switch out 1 cup for soy flower for two reasons:

(1) Defatted soy flour is 53% protein (James is vegetarian)
(2) Soy flour is gluten free, so if you use more than about 20% the dough won't hold together well.

I believe defatted soy flour also has slightly less calories, but this is a pizza covering an entire baking sheet so I don't think I'm going to go there. I find the soy also adds a bit more depth of flavour. I also removed the salt from the dough recipe because there will be more than enough in the pizza toppings.Now you have to kneed everything together. But first I would recommend putting down a dusting of flour on the surface you'll place the dough on. If the dough mixture seems really dry, you can add some water. This will make the dough more workable but also much more sticky so it's a bit of a trade-off. I tend to add a bit more water but then it sticks to the baking sheet.

When the dough looks relatively evenly kneeded, it's time to shape it into a ball. You can see here that mine is really sticky. I scrape off as much as I can and add it back to the dough then just wash my hands. If you have arm hair make sure to wash the attached dough out. If it dries in it can be uncomfortable to pull out. ;)
Now I just flatten it a little with a dusting of flour and toss it on the oiled baking sheet. Then I put the entire thing in the fridge until closer to dinner time. I find the cooler dough easier to roll out and less sticky.
Break. Time to contemplate if the last few minutes of your life have been spent wisely. If you are reading this, then I would assume so. ;)

Back to Dough:

When ready, take the dough out of the fridge and drizzle some oil on top. Set your oven to 450F so that it heats in time. Then roll the dough out with a rolling pin to fill the entire sheet. Remember, the more oil, the more delicious! You can go overboard though so don't put too much on. The only reason I even started to put it on top was so that it wouldn't stick to the rolling pin. It does however improve the overall taste.

Now Toppings Again:
Add some sauce and toppings. I've made it with both tomato sauce and creamy salad dressing. I would love to try it with an alfredo sauce but haven't yet. If you are using cheese, don't put it all on at the same time. I would recommend using half of it, putting on the other toppings, and then finishing off with the rest of the cheese. This prevents the topping from drying out. I noticed a huge difference with olives in particular.
Place the pizza-like object into the preheated oven and allow it to cook for about 20 minutes.

When it looks done (which again is personal taste) remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Don't cut the pizza on the baking sheet as this will probably damage it. If at all possible, remove it and cut it somewhere else.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe. It has evolved over the course of two months (about 8 pizzas). If you have any suggestions or tips, feel free to comment! Oh and the pictures are from two different pizzas so if you caught that it is now time to pat yourself on the back.


  1. Mmmmm...that looks good. I've been a bit of a naughty boy lately. I haven't been posting or reading as much. I do apologize. I've just been under mountains of things. Just "things" that seem to mutliply every minute! Figures you'd have "herb" pizza. Gotta get plants in there somehow, eh?

  2. Thanks for posting your recipe. It made me hungry the other day. I will have to give it a try, looks delicious.

  3. Looks good! I love making homemade pizza. The stores just can't beat the fresh taste of a perfectly cooked crust, especially when topped with garden delights!

  4. Makes my mouth water! You have all kinds of plants represented in this meal!

  5. I'm not generally an olive fan but that looks fantastic.

    Good food may not be cheap but it's surprisingly often a lot cheaper (I did add up the cost of a lasagna I made one time though... it can add up fast sometimes.) than frozen, and much tastier (and healthier).

  6. @Randy, I used to post about three times a week. Now it's down to maybe one. Not good. I'm sure I'll post up a storm in the winter when the weather is no longer amazing.

    @That Bloomin' Garden, just make sure you like the taste of soy flour. Some people don't. Hope it works!

    @Laura, I agree. We recently bought a delissio pizza which we used to have all the time (and loved) and it was terrible. I was shocked. Our pizzas are much better.

    @Compost in my shoe, Have to include plants some how!

    @Andrew, I LOVE olives. The black ones are much better than green. This pizza costs us about $7 dollars so it's really not a bad deal. We buy the cheapest stuff we can find though.

  7. having not had a job for 8 months, i know what you mean about the cost adding up. i was counting pennies to feed not only my family, but my grands and their parents too. this is such a great, and healthy idea. you can pack in a lot of nutrition with all of these vegies! genius idea to add the cup of soy flour for the protein! very thoughtful of you. i have been making some kneed-free bread recipes, and i have a pizza dough one as well. if i try it, and it turns out good, i will blog about it. i will try with substituting the 20% soy flour too, cause the idea appeals to me. thanks for it!

  8. wow! My tongue get is full of water..well thanks for sharing such delicious spicy recipe. I would like to make it at Halloween.
    Keep posting more recipes. Thanks!

  9. It looks delicious! I have a good recipe that I make fairly often. I don't enjoy the dough part but it is worth it.

  10. @Julie, just don't overdue the soy flour or things get weird. It will brown a bit quicker as well.

    @php ecommerce, I'm not sure if you're spam or not. I'm thinking yes. It's not spicy so...??

    @Phillip, dough is very trying to make. I don't particularly enjoy it, but it turns out well.


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