Charles & Deirdre's Sunday Evening Low-Fat Vegetarian Sausage Pizza

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1/2 Pie
Servings per Pie: 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 780 Calories from Fat 120
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 22%
   Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 17mg 6%
Sodium 1965mg 82%
Potassium 290mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 105g 35%
   Dietary Fiber 9g 37%
   Sugars 6g
Protein 61g
* Based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
See Microsoft Works 4 or Excel 4 spreadsheet for details. (NOTE: Half a pie may seem like a large serving size, but the only other meal we usually eat on Sundays is a late-morning brunch.)

The key to making a successful pizza at home is: Use a pizza stone. A pizza stone is a square or round stone about a quarter-inch thick that can be purchased at stores like Lechters. If you've ever tried cooking pizza without one, you'll be amazed at the difference. Put the stone on a rack in your oven and heat the oven to about 450° for at least a half hour to get the stone nice and hot.

How do you get the pizza on and off the hot stone? That's the second rule: Use a pizza peel. A pizza peel is a flat wooden shovel that you've seen countless times in real pizza parlors. We picked up a nice home-kitchen pizza peel at a Williams-Sonoma store for $20, although I can't seem to find it on their web site.

We make the dough for the crust in a bread machine. The recipe we use is a whole wheat variation of a pizza dough recipe from the recipe book that came with my Toastmaster Bread & Butter Maker model 1199S:

(The standard recipe calls for 2 cups bread flour, no whole wheat four, and no gluten.) Put the ingredients in the bread machine and select the dough program, which runs for about an hour.

When the dough is ready, you can leave it sitting around or in the refrigerator to rise some more. Put some plastic wrap on it so the surface doesn't dry out. And watch out: The dough can rise substantially!

We usually just proceed to flattening out the dough. Dust your hands and your work surface (we use the pizza peel itself) with flour. Pull and stretch and cajole the dough into a 10-inch (or so) diameter circle. Before putting on the toppings, dust the pizza peel with corn meal to make it slippery. Place the dough on the pizza peel and make sure it can slide around. You can then let the pizza crust rise some more after you've formed it; if so, make it a bit smaller initially. We usually just start applying the toppings.

Start with the pizza sauce. We have no fixed brand or type that we like, and we go fairly light with it. Here's the one I used for calculating the Nutrition Facts:

Our standard topping is:

These are vegetarian sausage made from tofu and soy protein. The links need to be thawed but not cooked before you cut them into half-inch chunks and scatter them on the pizza. We've also experimented with garlic, peppers, mushrooms, olives, and anchovies, but these additional toppings aren't included in the Nutrition Facts above.

We put the cheese over the toppings so the toppings don't dry out in the oven. The cheese we use is:

This cheese is made from skim milk and is key to making this pizza as fat free as it is. For a non-fat cheese, it melts very well and has the familiar consistency of mozzarella. We've experimented with some soy cheeses but haven't found one that works quite as well as this.

Finally, sprinkle the pizza with some pepper and oregano, and perhaps some grated Parmesan (not included in the Nutrition Facts above).

Transfer the pizza to the pizza stone. This works best when two people are involved. One person uses an oven mitt to pull out and hold the oven rack with the hot pizza stone on it. The other person wields the pizza peel. Sharp stabs of the peel usually do the trick in making the pie slide off the end. Don't worry if some toppings fall off; it always happens.

Cook the pizza for 10 minutes. (If you're not using a pizza stone, you may have to cook the pizza for 20 minutes or more, and still the crust won't be done right.) Again, it helps if two people remove the pizza from the oven. One wields the pizza peel and the other holds the oven rack and (if necessary) braces the pie so the pizza peel can get underneath.

Using a pizza cutter, cut the pizza into 8 slices and consume, preferably in front of the TV set. Recommended Sunday night television: The Simpsons, Malcolm in the Middle, The X-Files, Star Trek: Voyager, The Sopranos (in season), and Sex and the City (in season).

Charles Petzold
August 2000

© Charles Petzold, 2000