Caramelized Onion, Red Pepper, and Mushroom Pizza

by Laurel on April 23, 2013

Man, I love making homemade pizza. It’s a treat for my boyfriend and I, typically on a Friday night after a long week of work. Our favorite toppings are usually onion, mushroom, and green pepper (and sometimes veggie sausage too), but last weekend I was in the mood to try something new. I was wandering around the produce section when I found some beautiful big locally-grown tomatoes on sale, so I decided to make my own spicy tomato sauce from scratch. I figured, while I’m at it, why not caramelize some onions for a topping? After that, it was an easy choice of mushrooms and roasted red peppers to round out the toppings.

I’m just sayin’…this pizza freaking rocks. I mean, how can you go wrong with caramelized onions and roasted red peppers? Since we avoid dairy in my crib, I picked up our favorite cheese substitute (Daiya’s mozzarella shreds) to provide the soft and cheesy goodness.

I wasn’t sure how much sauce I would need, so I made extra and ended up with about a cup of leftover sauce. Rather than change the recipe, I’m keeping it as is. I figure some people might like extra sauce on their pizza. If you have leftovers like I did, you can boil some pasta later in the week and have delicious sauce ready to go for a quick dinner for 1-2 people.

 Caramelized Onion, Red Pepper, and Mushroom Pizza
(about 4 servings + extra sauce)

Caramelized Onion, Red Pepper, and Mushroom Pizza

Spicy tomato sauce:
2 lbs. tomatoes
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground fennel seed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. hot sauce (such as sriracha)
1/2 tsp. dried onion
1 bay leaf
1/2 tbsp. coconut sugar (or honey or maple syrup)

Remaining ingredients:
1 pizza dough
1 bag vegan cheese shreds (such as Daiya mozzarella shreds)
1 1/2 cups baby bella mushrooms
2 large yellow onions
1 roasted red pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil
Red pepper flakes (for garnish)

Chop up the tomatoes and then puree them in a food processor or blender. Pour the tomatoes in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic powder, fennel seed, salt, basil, oregano, hot sauce, and dried onion. Simmer and stir frequently for at least 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut sugar. Remove the bay leaf. Set aside.

Chop up the onions into a small dice and place them a big sauté pan over low heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir and allow the onions to cook slowly until they caramelize, stirring occasionally in the pan until they reduce in size, turn golden brown and very soft (take care not to burn them). It can take anywhere from 15-25 minutes to achieve the brown color you want. When the onions are done caramelizing, take the pan off the heat and set it aside.

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Roll out the pizza dough to about 1/4 inch thick in a rectangular shape and then spread out flat in a sheet pan. Pour on spoonfuls of tomato sauce (as much as you like), leaving about 3/4 inch of crust around the edges. Sprinkle half of the bag of vegan cheese on top of the sauce. Slice up the mushrooms and red pepper and sprinkle on top. Sprinkle on the caramelized onions (you may have some leftover). Add the rest of the vegan cheese. Drizzle the rest of the olive oil around the edges of the crust.

Cook the pizza for about 10-12 minutes on the bottom rack of your oven until the edges are golden brown and the toppings are sizzling. Cut into rectangles, and serve hot with a pinch of red pepper flakes for garnish.

Tip 1: I buy multi-grain pizza dough from the refrigerated section at Whole Foods. Most grocery stores carry fresh or frozen pizza doughs these days. Before you cook, let the dough rest on the counter for a couple hours to allow it to come to room temperature before rolling it out.

Tip 2: I always say, do what works for you. If’ you’re not having it with vegan cheese (even though I think Daiya shreds are awesome), feel free to sprinkle on a regular cheese of your choice.

Tip 3: As I mentioned in the intro, you will likely have leftover sauce. Use it to dip your crust in, or enjoy it over pasta later in the week!

Local tomatoes on sale

Locally-grown tomatoes, on sale at Whole Foods in NYC

Caramelized onions

Caramelized onions, cooking in the pan

Homemade spicy tomato sauce

Spicy tomato sauce, brewing in my pot

Roasted red peppers and mushrooms for pizza

Chopped roasted red pepper and baby bella mushrooms for toppings

Homemade tomato sauce for pizza

Multi-grain crust, rolled out thin, homemade sauce spread on top

Building the pizza toppings

Building the pizza toppings, this is the stage before I added the final layer of cheese

Caramelized Onion, Red Pepper, and Mushroom Pizza

Homemade pizza, ready to go in the oven

Caramelized Onion, Red Pepper, and Mushroom Pizza
Caramelized Onion, Red Pepper, and Mushroom Pizza
Caramelized Onion, Red Pepper, and Mushroom Pizza
Caramelized Onion, Red Pepper, and Mushroom Pizza
Caramelized Onion, Red Pepper, and Mushroom Pizza

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