Blackberry and Arugula Pesto Einkorn Pizza with Vegan Ricotta Cheese

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Pizza gets a bad wrap for being super unhealthy, but if you're smart about it, it can be made no more unhealthy than a sandwich. And, if you're really smart about it, you can pack a ton of nutrition into a delicious form of food that everyone loves. Who could say no to that?

This pizza uses einkorn wheat in its crust. Einkorn is the most ancient species of wheat and contains 30 percent more protein than modern wheat. It also contains more antioxidants, B vitamins, and essential dietary and trace minerals. As someone with a gluten-sensitivity, I love that it does not contain certain gluten proteins that some people cannot digest. Additionally, it contains 15 percent less starch, translating to fewer carbohydrates. You can read more about this wonder wheat in Einkorn: Recipes for Nature's Original Wheat.

But for now, let's eat!

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Blackberry and Arugula Pesto Einkorn Pizza with Vegan Ricotta Cheese

vegancorn-freeegg-freedairy-freepotato-freesoy-freecane sugar-free
prep: 2 hours 45 minutes • baking: 20 minutes • start to finish: 3 hours 5 minutes
yield: 1 9" pizza or 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

Pizza Dough

  • 3/4 cups warm water 1
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teasp. active dry yeast 2
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose einkorn flour, divided plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • a pinch of black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon organic garlic powder
  • 1 sprig fresh organic rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped 3
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Arugula Pesto

  • 1 1/2 cup fresh arugula, coarsely chopped, rinsed and thouroughly dried
  • 1/2 cup or 0.75 oz carton fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped, rinsed and thoroughly dried
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, raw
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

Pizza Toppings

  • 2 oz. vegan ricotta cheese 4
  • 1 small carton fresh organic blackberries
  • 10-12 fresh arugula leaves for garnish

MIS EN PLACE

  • 1 medium or large mixing bowl
  • 1 set of measuring spoons
  • 1 set of measuring cups
  • 1 silicone spatula
  • 1 chef's knife
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 sheet of aluminum foil or 1 tight-fitting cover for mixing bowl
  • 1 blender or bullet
  • 1 sheet of parchment paper
  • 1 rolling pin
  • 1 metal dinner spoon
  • 1 pizza stone or 1 cookie sheet and baking rack
  • 1 pizza cutter

Optional

  • 1 pastry brush

NOTES

1 Approx. 100 degrees °F. Make sure the water isn't too hot, or the heat will kill the yeast. The temperature should feel like warm bath water.

2 I use Red Star active dry yeast, because it is potato-free.

3 Run your fingers along the stem in the opposite direction of which the leaves are growing to release. Coarsely chopped dried rosemary will work here as well.

4 I use Kite Hill brand.

METHOD

Pizza Dough

  1. In a medium to large mixing bowl, add water, sugar, and yeast. Be sure to check the expiration date on the yeast before you begin. Gently stir until well-combined. Let stand for about 3 minutes, so the yeast has time to discover their favorite food... sugar! 
  2. Add 1/2 cup of flour to the yeast mixture and gently mix with a silicone spatula until all the flour is covered by the yeast mixture. Be gentle, move slowly and do not to over-stir. Let stand for 15 minutes. You should see bubbles forming. If you don't, it may be that your yeast is old or dead or both.
  3. Add sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary to dough and yeast mixture. Gently stir with spatula until well-combined.
  4. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour to the mixture. Using the same spatula as before, mix the dough as much as you can. A little note here: If you're not familiar with einkorn wheat, your dough may seem a little "off" and you will be tempted to adjust with either more water or more flour. Don't. Einkorn takes a while to fully absorb water (probably because it wasn't genetically modified to absorb the living daylights out of everything it touches), so you won't see the dough's true consistency until you complete step #05. Adjust then if needed.
  5. Add the oil and then knead the dough in the bowl until it holds together. 
  6. Lightly flour a work surface. Place the dough onto the work area and knead for 2 to 3 minutes until smooth.
  7. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover tightly, and let rest for 2 hours at room temperature until the dough rises by 30 percent. If you need to let the dough rest for longer, place it in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.
  8. While you're waiting for the dough to rise (or warm up to room temperature if you chose to put it in the fridge), start making your pesto!

Arugula Pesto

  1. Add all ingredients to blender. Blend until well-combined and smooth.
  2. Taste and adjust as needed. Note: Depending on how much pesto you like on your pizza, you may have extra left over, and that's great! Add a few pita chips and you have a really delicious snack on your hands. This pesto can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days, or in the freezer if you plan on using at a later date... like... for more pizza!

Pizza Time!

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Roll out dough on parchment paper into a 9" circle or whatever size your serving dish requires. I usually roll out the dough with thinner edges and then roll up those edges back on themselves to make a nice, neat and refined thick crust.
  3. Cover the entire surface of the dough with pesto. I use the back of a spoon for more control and easy spreading.
  4. Add ricotta cheese and blackberries to top your pizza. I usually add them in a checkered pattern.
  5. Using a pastry brush or the tip of one finger, add a light coating of olive oil to the crust. This will give it that lovely golden brown color.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and thoroughly cooked. I used a baking rack and cookie sheet while placing the pizza and parchment paper on top of the rack. You could also use a pizza stone if you have one.
  7. Remove from oven, slice with a pizza cutter, and you're ready to serve. Enjoy!

This recipe was adapted, in part, from:

  1. Carla Bartolucci's New York-Style Pizza printed in Einkorn: Recipes for Nature's Original Wheat
  2. Minimalist Baker's Vegan Pesto Parmesan Breadsticks
  3. This pizza I had one time at a random Whole Foods in Portland. :)