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Tofu Pizza: Spicy BBQ Classic on Spelt Crust

Who doesn't love pizza? Crispy crust, gooey cheese, and tasty toppings - absolutely delicious, but not at all vegan-friendly. 

If you eat a vegan diet, you don't have to give up on pizza forever. By getting creative and switching out a few animal-based ingredients, we've made this vegan and vegetarian pizza recipe with smoky barbecue sauce, crispy sriracha tofu, and loads of sliced onion and sweet peppers. 

Spelt is the base for this tofu pizza crust, which doesn't rise like traditional dough. The result is a thin, crispy crust that is delicious but still lets the main stars of the show shine - the sriracha tofu and BBQ sauce. 

To keep this recipe vegan, use non-dairy cheese to top the pizza. We used vegan pepper jack for an extra spicy bite. 

This pizza requires a little bit of prep between the barbecue sauce, sriracha, tofu, and pizza crust. The whole recipe takes 30 minutes to prep plus baking time, but the payoff is well worth the work!

How to make BBQ tofu pizza

Ingredients

Spelt Crust:

  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp hot water
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp active yeast
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

BBQ Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1-2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and ginger powder
  • a big dash of cumin powder, black pepper, and cayenne

Sriracha BBQ Tofu:

  • 2 Tbsp BBQ sauce (above)
  • 2 -3 tsp (2 - 3 tsp) sriracha or chili sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder or paste
  • 1 cup firm or extra firm tofu

Other toppings:

  • Red onion, sliced
  • Red bell peppers, sliced
  • Tomato sauce or BBQ sauce as the base
  • Vegan pepper jack cheese or other vegan cheese, grated
  • Fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Press the tofu in a tofu press for 15 minutes. 
  2. While you wait for your tofu to press, whisk all ingredients for your BBQ sauce in a small mixing bowl.
  3. Make the spicy tofu: Chop pressed tofu into 1-inch cubes. Add the ingredients for the spicy sriracha sauce into a mixing bowl with garlic and pressed tofu. Leave the tofu to marinate until you're ready to use.
  4. Make the spelt pizza dough: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add water, yeast, and maple syrup. Mix ingredients, and let them sit for 5 minutes or until frothy. In a different bowl, add the dry ingredients. Mix well and add the dry ingredients to the wet. Add oil. Mix and knead for 2 minutes or until smooth. 
  5. Using a rolling pin, roll the spelt dough out on parchment. Use some flour if needed. Work the dough into a 12-13 inch oval. 
  6. Set the oven to 450°F. Let the dough rest for 10-20 minutes while the oven pre-heats.
  7. Make the pizza: Prep the pizza toppings. For the sauce, use the homemade BBQ sauce as your base, or marinara if you prefer. Spread your sauce on the shaped dough. Layer the peppers, onions, and other veggies. Sprinkle the pizza with salt and pepper. Add marinated tofu pizza topping, and drizzle any leftover sriracha BBQ sauce over the pizza's top. Add shredded pepper jack or other vegan cheese.
  8. Bake at pre-heated 450°F for 12 to 14 mins. Remove the pizza from the oven and sprinkle with chopped, fresh cilantro.

Nutrition Information

Calories 394; Fat 11g; Sodium 439mg; Carbohydrates 55g; Sugar 9g; Protein 15g

Spicy BBQ tofu pizza - FAQ

Does tofu melt like cheese?

Tofu does not melt like cheese; it retains its shape when heated. That's what makes it a great option to replace a meat protein in your pizza toppings - vegetarian dishes can sometimes feel too light, but the bbq tofu adds a protein kick that will be sure to satiate you. The tofu can crisp up like pepperoni and retains a meaty texture like chicken. 

How do you add flavor to tofu?

Tofu has a very light, mild flavor compared to most meat products. Marinating your tofu is the trick to adding flavor and keeping the tofu from tasting too bland. 

For this recipe, the tofu marinates in the sriracha bbq sauce for 15-20 minutes. You can leave your tofu marinating a little longer if you'd like, but it's not necessary. 

Do I need to cook the tofu first?

You do not need to cook the tofu before putting it on the pizza. It will get sufficiently cooked while the pizza cooks. If you want your tofu extra crispy, you can always bake or pan-fry it before putting it on the pizza. 

What is firm tofu? Can I use other tofu for the pizza?

Firm tofu is the texture of feta cheese; it can crumble with a little pressure but is mostly solid. It's the most versatile firmness and is used in most tofu pizza recipes because it doesn't fall apart in the oven. 

You can also use extra-firm for this tofu pizza but stay away from silken and soft, which can make your pizza a huge soggy mess.

Do I need to press my tofu?

Yes, pressing your tofu is the key to getting the right texture. If you skip the pressing step, your tofu will release water while it bakes, which ruins the pizza. Unpressed tofu won't absorb the marinade properly, either.

Use a tofu press and press the tofu for 15 minutes before marinating. If you don't own a press, use two heavy plates and leave the tofu pressing for longer - approximately 2-3 hours.

Can I substitute something else for tofu?

If you don't like tofu on pizza or don't have any on hand, there are a few other vegan options that would be equally delicious. 

Toss well-drained, blanched cauliflower or chickpeas in the bbq sauce and top your pizza with them for a tofu-free alternative.

Final notes

Don't be afraid to cook with tofu - it's a straightforward, protein-packed ingredient to work with once you know the basics. If you don't like BBQ pizza, make a more traditional marinade for the tofu and use marinara sauce instead of barbecue for the base. 

We hope you enjoy experimenting to find your perfect vegan pizza!

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