Wednesday 3 January 2024

Vegan Mushroom and Spinach Pizza | With a Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce

Sometimes that pizza craving hits and you want something that's vegan-friendly, delicious and straightforward to make. In this blog post, I'm going to show you how to make an amazing mushroom and spinach pizza with a creamy 'cheese' sauce. 

It's a simple yet satisfying recipe that combines the earthy flavours of mushrooms and spinach with a rich, gooey homemade vegan cheese sauce. This pizza is perfect for a weekend cooking project or a mid-week meal (serve it up with a side salad and you're good to go).

Let's dive into some of the key ingredients before we get into how to make this mouth-watering treat.

1. Strong Bread Flour: This is a high-protein flour that's perfect for making pizza dough. It gives the crust the right amount of chewiness and structure. If you don't have this on hand, you can also use plain flour.

2. Instant Yeast: A key ingredient for making your pizza dough rise. Instant yeast is easy to use as it doesn't require activation and can be mixed directly with the flour.

3. Vegan Butter: Vegan butter is a plant-based alternative to traditional butter, made without any dairy products. Brands like Flora and Vitalite are good options. 

4. Vegan Milk: Any dairy-free alternative can be used to make the creamy cheese sauce, such as soya, oat, almond, coconut or rice milk. It helps to achieve a smooth and creamy texture. 

5. Vegan Cheese: A crucial ingredient for the cheese sauce, although it can be left out completely if you don't have access to a good variety. Vegan cheeses like Applewood melt well and add a delicious, cheesy, smoky flavour to the pizza. You can also use nutritional yeast.

6. Fresh Spinach: Adds a fresh, slightly earthy flavour to the pizza. Spinach is also packed with nutrients, making it a healthy as well as colourful topping. You can choose to use other leafy greens such as kale, rocket or collard greens.


(Makes 2 pizzas)

For the pizza base:
450g strong bread flour
7g (1 packet) instant yeast
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sunflower oil
300ml warm water

For the cheese sauce:
75g vegan butter
50g plain flour
360ml vegan milk (soya or oat milk)
Salt, to taste
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
100g grated vegan cheese (I recommend Applewood as it melts beautifully)

For the topping:
Handful baby spinach leaves
BBQ or hot sauce (optional)
125g mushrooms (sliced)
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp chilli powder (optional)


1. Make the pizza dough by mixing all the pizza base ingredients together in a stand mixer at low-medium speed for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough comes off the sides of the bowl and forms a cohesive dough ball. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, then knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes. Humidity and flour type can influence the hydration of the dough, but it should be soft and bouncy, not too sticky. If it is too sticky, add an extra tablespoon of flour at a time until you reach the right consistency. Add a little water at a time if it is too dry. 

2. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and leave to rise in a warm area for 60 minutes or until double in size. 

3. Make the cheese sauce by melting the vegan butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and mix well to form a smooth paste. Slowly add the vegan milk, stirring as you go, until you have a smooth sauce. Keep stirring as you simmer over low heat until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and coarse ground black pepper. Add the vegan cheese (either grated or cut into small chunks) and keep stirring until it has melted into the sauce. Take off the heat, add a handful of baby spinach and set aside.

4. Preheat your oven to 250C.

5. Assemble the pizza(s). Divide the dough in half. Set one half aside in a bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out. Take the other half, place it on a lightly floured surface and use your hands to flatten and shape it into a 12 inch circle. No need to be super precise - you can also just eyeball it and flatten to your desired thickness (I like a nice thick, chunky crust!) Transfer the pizza base to a lightly oiled baking tray and leave to rest for 2-3 minutes while you repeat this process with the second half of the dough. If you are only making one pizza, the second dough can be frozen in a tightly sealed bag or container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight when you are ready to use it.

6. Mix the sliced mushrooms with some sunflower oil and chilli powder (if you want a little kick). This is optional but you can also spread a layer of bbq or hot sauce on the dough for a flavour boost. Spread half of the cheese sauce (with spinach) onto the pizza and top with half of the sliced mushrooms. Do the same on the second dough if making two pizzas.

7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pizza crust is golden brown. Garnish with a couple of fresh spinach leaves, cut into slices and serve hot or warm. 

No comments:

Post a Comment