So I actually enjoyed this bad girl more than a month ago, during the first days of Vegan MoFo when fresh tomatoes were still abundant. Alas, I couldn’t find a way to work it into my theme – which, let’s be honest, already included its fair share of pizza! – and so it sat in my drafts folder. But that’s okay! Store-bought tomatoes will work too. Or just file this one away in your to-do list for next summer. I know I am.
Inspired by the Lemon Pepper Garlic Bread in Betty Goes Vegan, this Lemon Pepper Bruschetta Pizza is different from previous bruschetta pizzas I’ve made in that it’s twice-baked. To start, I covered the raw, pie-shaped dough with olive oil, minced garlic, and lemon pepper and then baked it for about ten minutes before adding the bruschetta. (After which I baked it again, obvs.) This is kind of how you do garlic bread, and it allows the crust to soak up all the flavorful, oily goodness. It smelled so good baking in the oven that Shane joked about eating it as-is. I might have agreed, if I’d made a dipping sauce.
The dough is delicious – it has a rich, buttery flavor – and of course the bruschetta rocks. I threw some corn on there too; with its yellow color, I associate it with lemon pepper, and often pair the two together. Vegan mozzarella is both optional and highly tasty, but we omitted it for a slightly healthier pie. (Add it at either the beginning or the end of Step 6, if you’re gonna. I won’t judge.)
Lemon Pepper Bruschetta Pizza
…for a Fluffy White Pizza Crust
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F / 45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 tablespoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
…for the bruschetta
2 cups tomatoes, finely diced
1 to 2 tablespoons diced marinated sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil (OR 1 teaspoon dried basil)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
…for the pizza
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons lemon pepper
1/4 corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1. Several hours prior to making the pizza, prepare the dough. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, yeast, and water; mix until completely blended. Add the salt and olive oil and mix well. Add the flour in stages (about 1/2 cup at a time) and mix until the flour forms into dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough by hand and shape into a ball. Cover loosely with a towel and leave the dough to rise, anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
2. Next, make the bruschetta. In a medium bowl, combine the fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Mix well. Cover and chill for an hour or more.
3. When you’re ready to assemble and bake your pizza, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
4. To assemble the pizza, start by spreading a dusting of cornmeal onto your pizza stone (or lightly coat your pizza pan with cooking spray). Using fingers dipped in olive oil (optional), pat the dough onto the stone, spreading it out evenly.
5. Next, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil onto the crust. Using a basting brush, lightly brush the olive oil over the entire pizza, distributing it as evenly as possible. Add the minced garlic and do the same. Finish by sprinkling the lemon pepper on top (I use my index finger and thumb for the most consistent results). Bakes at 425 degrees for about ten minutes, or until the crust begins to firm up (but before it starts to brown).
6. Remove from the oven and carefully add the bruschetta, along with some (but not all) of the juices. Once batch should be enough to cover a 12″ pizza. Add the corn.
7. Bake at 425 degrees, for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust is browned to your liking. Serve warm, topped with vegan parmesan if desired.