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The New Veganism: One Large Pizza, Hold the Cheese

By Gena Hamshaw / Photography By James Ransom | June 13, 2013

Asparagus Pizza with Vegan Pesto

With a stellar crust, a rotation of fresh vegetables, and a brightly flavored sauce, you’ll hardly miss the cheese in vegan pizza. And if you keep some dough in the freezer, pizza is a quick and easy-to-customize dinner. I like to change it up with the seasons: butternut squash and sage in autumn, caramelized onions or cauliflower in winter, tomatoes and peppers in summer -- you get the idea.


When creating a vegan pizza from scratch, I like to think about three things: a bold, flavorful sauce (pesto, homemade marinara, or even atapenade), a vegetable that stands up well to roasting (fennel, mushrooms, asparagus, onions, peppers, or tomatoes), and something that gives the pizza texture and contrast (I often sprinkle on fresh greens at the end, or if I’ve topped the pie with a crunchier vegetable, I’ll use a soft cashew cheese). 

More: Skeptical about cheeseless pesto? Gena's recipe will make you a believer.

This spring pizza has it all: tender spring asparagus, peppery arugula, an easy, forgiving dough, and a burst of flavor and umami from fresh pesto. If you can’t get your hands on asparagus, broccoli and artichokes will work nicely, too. Serve the pizza with a fresh salad for dinner or slice it into strips as an impressive appetizer.

Vegan Pesto

Asparagus and Arugula Pizza with Vegan Pesto 

Serves 4

1/2 recipe (2 disks) Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough
1 batch simple vegan pesto
12 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut in half
2 cups loosely packed, fresh arugula

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

This article originally appeared on One Large Pizza, Hold the Cheese