You just want to try a bunch of stuff, because you don’t know what’s going to be great.~ Ira Glass
The Birth of an Idea
In searching for new recipes for our weekly blog, recipes for “Thai Pizza with Peanut Sauce” kept coming up. It sounded odd and I’ve never seen anything like it on a restaurant menu, but knowing we have 52 pizzas to try, we are trying to keep an open mind to new flavor combos. “Thai pizza” popped up on lists of the best vegan pizza recipes in Google searches, on Pinterest boards, and in print cookbooks. It sounded weird, but people were raving about it, oohing and aahing over the combination of spicy peanut sauce and melted vegan mozzarella.
I thought we should try it. My boyfriend was less enthusiastic about the idea of slathering a perfectly good pizza with peanut butter. But… we like Thai food. We like Thailand (gratuitous photos of our trip to Thailand below). So, after some debate, we decided to try it.
We sauteéd red onion, garlic, red bell pepper, and broccoli (in that order) in avocado oil over medium heat. We let the onions fry for about 3-4 minutes on their own, followed by garlic taking center stage for 30-45 seconds. Mix in the red bell pepper and broccoli, stirring frequently. The entire mix takes about 8-10 minutes to cook. The veggies are going in the oven so they don’t have to be thoroughly heated.
Peanut Sauce – Spoiler Alert, Not Recommended (at least not for pizza)
I adapted a recipe from Grilled Pizza the Right Way. It’s similar to a sauce often I use for noodles, though mine omits the hoisin sauce (brown sugar is the first ingredient) and adds fresh garlic and a small amount of water.
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
3 tbsp coconut aminos
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp Sriracha or other hot sauce
1 tsp grated fresh (or jarred) ginger
Why would anyone put peanut butter on pizza?
Up to this point, you’ve got a spicy, sweet peanut sauce for noodles, rice, or quinoa. The pizza base is just another carb if you look at it that way. As I was making the sauce, though, I started to get skeptical. Especially when the recipe called for 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
One teaspoon is a LOT of salt. I added a little more than half a teaspoon and quickly learned cooking lesson number 1 — always taste your sauce before seasoning it.
The sauce was so overwhelmingly salty that we debated throwing it out, but decided instead to try and salvage it. I used 1/2 cup of the sauce above and whisked it with about 1/3 cup of peanut butter. We hoped what others said would be true and that the flavor combo of spicy peanut butter and mozzarella would work well with the veggies.
I used this recipe from Bobby Flay to make dough with bread flour, which has more protein than all purpose flour. It needs to rise for at least 1 hour. (I let it go for 2 and it started ballooning up around the glass bowl it was rising in. I let it rest in the fridge for a few hours, taking it out about 45 minutes before I wanted to use it. It rolled out easily. Go Bobby! I’ll definitely try this crust recipe again.
We were a little reluctant to put the sauce on the pizza, but Bobby’s recipe made enough dough for a back up pizza, should we have needed it.
Use a generous two handfuls of vegan mozzarella cheese followed by the veggie mix. Bake on baking sheet or pizza stone in a preheated oven at 450° for 15 minutes or until you smell that your pizza is done.
We liked the pizza. But we wouldn’t make it again. There are too many amazing flavor combos to remake a pizza that’s just OK, plus peanut butter has a lot of calories and hoisin sauce has a lot of added sugar. I’d rather have a sauce-free pizza and save the extra calories for dessert. The Bobby Flay crust was a winner and the veggie combo was good.