Saturday, September 06, 2008

Pizza on the Grill

We are getting a taste of summer weather this weekend, are you? We're due I think, since the end of summer was wet and cold... and this mom was sitting at an outdoor pool layered up and still shivering! The girls didn't mind so much, they enjoy swimming in the warm pool and with the trickling rain... but mom - not so happy! :) So, I guess this weekend is our last taste of summer weather, and so it's perfect for grilling.
Have you ever grilled pizza? I know it sounds peculiar, but it's quite a lot of fun, and the pizza tastes better than it ever could in your inside oven. When we returned from Whistler, I was able to pick up some pre-made whole-wheat pizza dough. I was so excited! You see, pizza dough is not something I enjoy making from scratch (at this stage as a busy mom when making most of our other foods from scratch)... and, I haven't found w/w dough in our area. If you are fortunate enough to be able to buy pre-made whole-wheat pizza dough at your local grocery/health food store, then do so! And try grilling them! (btw, if you want to try some w/w pizza dough recipes yourself, try these links replace honey with agave in second link)

I prefer making personal pizzas. They're easier to manage, and more playful for everyone involved. So, portion your dough and roll/stretch it out for personal sized pizzas. It doesn't really matter how big/small they are, because you can have more than one. Also, the shape doesn't matter. Don't go for round! Oddly shaped pizzas are more rustic and feel very 'authentic'. So aim for uniformity in thickness rather than shape... rolling evenly and fairly thin (no more than about 1/8" - 1/4"), since the crust will then become nice and bubbly/crispy on the grill.

It's quite easy, and here's how:

  • After rolling out your dough, get a large baking sheet and sprinkle it fairly generously with cornmeal. Then, place your pizzas on the baking sheet, on top of the cornmeal sprinkling. The cornmeal helps to keep the dough from sticking to the pans and also the grill.
  • Prepare your toppings - but don't place them on your pizzas just yet. Have the toppings at hand at your grill.
  • Give your grill a scraping, and brush it with olive oil. Preheat your grill, and be sure it's nicely preheated and hot (about medium-high) before placing on your pizzas.
  • Carefully drape your pizzas (without toppings) on the grill, again the shape doesn't matter. Let cook for just a couple of minutes, depending on the thickness of your dough, and the heat of your bbq. You'll quickly see that first side firming up.
  • Carefully lift and check the grilled side. If it is crispy and golden, and maybe even has a few grill marks, flip over. Now it's time for those toppings!
  • You can either to transfer the shells back to your baking sheet (cooked side UP) to put on the toppings, or keep on the grill. It is safer/easier to work when transferring back to the baking sheet, but if you work quickly, you scatter the toppings over the dough while on the grill. Transferring also prevents burning the other side of the dough, but again it depends on how many pizzas you are making and how quickly you work. If you have a cooler zone on your bbq, you can also slide the pizzas to that area to add toppings). You may want to reduce the heat on your bbq, since you don't want the second side of the dough to burn while assembling the toppings and then cooking.

I interrupt the process to discuss the pizza toppings. Now, usually I'm a topping/sauce gal - most of you know that. However, with grilled pizzas, I believe less is more. Opt for minimal, but flavorful, toppings. The flavor of the pizza will speak for itself, so use some of your fave ingredients, but don't overload with wet ingredients (like tomatoes or mushrooms) or too much sauce. Keep it light and flavorful, with things like artichokes, olives, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, and grilled veggies. A brushing of olive oil on the bare cooked dough before adding the topping is spectacular... this is safer to do on the baking sheets, fyi). Also give it a light dose of sea salt and ground pepper. Bake to the process...

  • Close the bbq cover again to cook (and, again, reduce heat if needed). Remember, your bbq is like and outdoor oven, so close it up to heat and cook your pizza, and also to crisp up that bottom side of the dough. This won't take long - just another 4-6 minutes.
  • When done, remove and serve all crispy and bubbly and hot and perfecto! Definitely drizzle with a touch of extra-virgin olive oil.

My pizzas you can see here I've topped with marinated artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, dry olives, and also a few sorrel leaves. Sorrel is a leafy green with a strong lemony flavor. I added the sorrel a little too early, however, since it lost its vibrant green color. Best to chiffonade and sprinkle on just before serving. I also had half of an already baked whole-wheat pizza shell, and this I topped with some of my Lemony Cashew-Basil Pesto and organic tomato slices (since the shell was already cooked).

And... for those sauce lovers like me, if you need that with your pizza, have a little bowl of extra pesto for your own pizza - or, warm a small bowl of a tomato-based sauce. That way, you'll have the best of both worlds... a crispy-crusted pizza with lots of flavorful toppings and sauce to boot!

I hope this post inspires you to bring your pizza to the grill this weekend. And, if anyone wants to send me some whole-wheat pizza dough...?... kidding! Happy vegan eats!

(p.s. the details of the Salba giveaway are a little delayed, but should be available to me soon)


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Grilled pizza = incredible.

Ruby Red said...

This post is full of awesome, creative ideas! I never would have thought of grilled pizza, but this sounds sooo delicious! It's like grilled flatbread with yummy veggie toppings. :)

Allie B said...

That sounds really good, especially with the artichokes! Thanks for the tips about how to cook it without burning or getting to soggy. This is a great idea and it looks really yummy!


LK Sisters said...

Yummy! We just made homemade pizza with whole wheat herb crust and it was heavenly. It would be nice, though, to find whole wheat pizza crusts at the grocery store, but we haven't had any luck yet. Our pizza tonight had fresh basil, lots of garlic and olive oil, halved cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, sliced eggplant! Simple, with no heavy sauce, and flavorful! Thanks for sharing your idea of grilled pizza!

Animal-Friendly said...

Looks great! It's so unfortunate that summer is coming to an end (even though I LOVE Fall!), but I think a meal like this will probably make a chilly weekend still feel like summer.

Lenora said...

Oh YUUUUUUMMMMMMM! I've read about grilled pizzas, but have never tried one... I think your post may have convinced me to pick up some dough tomorrow! I'm one of the fortunate ones that has WW dough available around the corner at Trader Joes :D
Thanks again for all the inspiration!

Judy's Nutrition said...

Mmmmm, I wish I had a bbq, I would make these in a heartbeat!

Meg said...

Artichokes and sundried tomatoes are my favorites. I love them on pizza. Great post!

Anonymous said...

Wow Dreena,
Your grilled pizza sounds and looks heavenly!

aTxVegn said...

We love grilled pizza at my house. It tastes just like all the brick oven pizzas. Sadly we haven't made one grilled pizza this summer. I always hated that I couldn't get a round crust (what you called *rustic*), but maybe a pizza peel would take care of that.

Almost Vegetarian said...

You know, Indian summer is here and I was thinking of dragging out the grill, but what to make, what to make? Then I tripped across your post.

And, even better, after my trip to the farmer's market, I have a houseful of potential toppings.


Arlete said...

Sounds delish, as usual. I've made grilled pizzas with ev olive oil and pressed garlic marinade brushed over the raw dough and then placing it on the hot grill. Then brush the other side, flip and top with your fave toppings. This garlicky dough tastes great even with just sea salt, freshly ground pepper and fresh, chopped herbs... for a very grown up and sophisticated garlic bread.
Yum... pregnant belly grumbling... again! LOL!
Thanks for inspiring Dreena! :-)

Yasmine under acid said...

I will try this asap. Thank you !

Anonymous said...

You are pure genius! That looks amazing!

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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