Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza With Homemade Beer Batter Crust, Spinach and Cashew Ricotta

The next time you’re craving pizza but want something really hearty and rich, try this deep dish Chicago-style pizza.  I was never a big fan of Chicago style pizza when I lived near Chicago, but I suddenly found myself craving it a few weeks ago and came up with this incredibly rich version stuffed with spinach and cashew ricotta.  If you want to serve it with something healthy, try a side salad of mixed leaves, cherry tomatoes, maple glazed pecans and any other toppings.

 

Pizza

  • 1 serving beer bread pizza dough (see recipe below)
  • 1 serving cashew-tofu basil ricotta (see recipe below)
  • 250 g spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Vegetable oil
  • 300 g pizza suace

Preheat oven to 475 F / 250 C.  Brush a 9 inch pie pan with oil, roll out pizza dough and place in the pie pan.  Trim off any excess and crimp the edges, then cover with a towel and set aside.

To prepare the spinach, heat a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil over medium heat in a frying pan or wok.  Once the wok is hot, add the minced garlic and sauté until just browned.  Add the spinach and stir, stir frying until it wilts, then remove from heat.

To prepare the crust: Brush the dough with a small amount of oil and prick with the tongs of a wet fork.  Put in the oven for two minutes.  Remove, prick with the tongs of a dry fork, and bake for another two minutes.

Take the pizza crust out of the oven, and spread a thin layer of cashew ricotta over the base.  Mix the spinach with the remaining ricotta in a large mixing bowl, if desired, then add to the pizza pie.  If you don’t wish the mix the spinach and ricotta, layer them in the pizza as desired.  Finish by spreading the pizza sauce over the pie.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the crust is browned.

Beer Bread pizza dough (thanks to Messy Vegetarian Cook for the dough inspiration)

  • 450 g/3 cup strong white bread flour
  • 2 tsp quick yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 250ml/1 cup veg-friendly beer (room temperature, not cold)

Mix dry ingredients together. Add oil and beer and knead.  Let rise at least 1 hour in a covered, greased bowl.  Roll out on a flat surface.

 

Vegan Ricotta

(from my recipe here)

  • 1 package (approx 1 lb) firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • fresh black pepper to taste
  • Italian dried herb mix to taste

1. In a spice grinder, grind cashews until fine.
2. In a food processor, blend cashews, tofu, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, nutritional yeast, basil, black pepper, and Italian herb mix until it forms a thick paste.
3. Adjust seasonings to taste.

I can’t wait to make deep dish pizza again soon, but I want to mix up the toppings. I can’t decide what to add, but I’m sure it would be good with other toppings.  If you have any good ideas, let me know in the comments!

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