Week 12: Il Diavolo

He that is afraid of the devil does not grow rich.

– Italian Proverb

Baked Il Diavolo pizza with garlic, tomatoes, vegan mozzarella, and spices
Il Diavolo vegan pizza

We love spicy food. I also read that during cold and flu season it’s good to eat spicy things. Perfect! We decided to make a vegan version of Il Diavolo this week and spice it up! Il Diavolo is the Devil’s pizza, meaning it is hot as heck and has layers of spicy flavors.

Many pizzerias offer versions of Il Diavolo or Fra Diavolo pizzas. But when it came time to nail down a recipe, we found very few. I looked through our stack of pizza cookbooks and read the recipes I found online, looking for consistency in the ingredients. We came up with our own version and it was one of our favorite pizzas so far. Simple, spicy, and with enough garlic to scare the Devil away.

ingredients for the Il Diavolo pizza, garlic, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, red pepper flakes, red peppers, and spicy pizza sauce
Pizza toppings including fresh and sundried tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper

Garlic, vine ripened tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and spicy pizza sauce, what’s not to like? We like it all, and lots of it!

For this dough, we used an adaptation of this recipe that comes together in as little as 20 minutes.

Dough Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm to hot water (about 110°)
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-2.5 cups bread flour or all purpose flour


  • Mix yeast, sugar, and water in a large bowl. Let stand for 3 minutes, until the yeast begins to bloom.
  • Add olive oil to the mixture.
  • Stir in 1 cup of flour, stir with the end side of a wooden spoon or use your hands to bring the dough together.
  • Add the salt and 1 more cup of flour.
  • Optional: add 1 teaspoon of dried basil or oregano or other herbs and spices. For this recipe, we used oregano.
  • Take a look at your dough. You want it to be a little sticky to the touch. If it feels too dry, add a splash of water or olive oil and knead to work the liquid into the dough.
  • Cover with a tea towel and let it rest for 15 minutes. If you have an hour to let it rest, great, the dough will develop more flavor.
  • Sprinkle your work surface with flour. Use semolina if you have it. If not, the bread flour or all purpose flour you used for the dough works fine too.
  • Turn the dough out from the bowl and onto the surface, flip it once so that both sides are dusted with flour.
  • Roll it out with a rolling pin or stretch it with your fingers to get the shape you want (not all crusts need to be round).
shaping the dough
Stretching out the pizza dough

Our goal for this pizza was to generate some heat. Some recipes rely on spicy pepperoni to do the job, but for a vegan pizza that won’t work. Instead, we built layers of heat, starting with a store bought spicy pizza sauce. Diavolo pizzas typically feature peppers of varying heat intensity. We bought roasted red peppers for this purpose but decided against using them. For us, it was a good choice. We loved this pizza as created. Of course you can add slices of habanero or jalapeno or any peppers your heart desires.

crushing garlic over the pizza base
Crushed garlic makes a pizza taste good


To start, brush olive oil around the edges of the pizza using a pastry brush. Crush a few garlic cloves onto the dough base. Spoon about 1/2 a cup of pizza sauce onto your pizza and spread it out, leaving 1/4 inch crust all around.

Slice 2 medium tomatoes, sprinkle them with salt, and layer them on the pizza. Using kitchen shears or a knife, cut 2-3 sun dried tomatoes into small bits and toss them around the pizza. Sprinkle some red pepper flakes on the pizza. At this point, your pizza will have a fiery, red, Devilish look.

Il Diavolo pizza, ripe and red
Preparing the Il Diavolo pizza

Slice 2 cloves of garlic as thin as you can and place them around your pizza. If you have the time (an extra 15 minutes), toast your garlic in a frying pan before adding them to the pizza. They will add a little crunch and a richer flavor.

Il Diavolo pizza, almost ready to go in the oven
Add slices of garlic for deeper flavor

Your deep red pizza is now starting to look white. Add a handful of a good quality shredded vegan mozzarella. We love Violife. It’s made of cashews and coconut oil and it tastes and melts like cheese.

Bake for 13-5 minutes in 500°F oven. Slice and enjoy!

“You can’t make everyone happy. You’re not cheese.”

– Anonymous

blue plate of spicy Il Diavolo pizza
Il Diavolo pizza, baked to perfection

If you make this recipe or have your own version of Il Diavolo, let us know.

Published by 52veganpizzas

We're a couple living in the Bay Area who are committed to a pie a week in 2020. Join us!

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