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Pizza Ortolana The Best Vegetarian Pizza

    The greatest vegetarian pizza is Pizza Ortolana with eggplant, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and buffalo mozzarella. This pizza is good for vegetarians because it has a lot of tasty vegetables and no fake meat toppings. In fact, this is an excellent option for meat eaters as well. Try a pizza with just vegetables, omitting the ham and sausage.

    If you are seeking vegetarian pizza on an Italian pizza menu, pizza ortolana is your best bet. In Italy, this is the common name for vegetarian pizza. The fact that it is not labeled “vegetarian pizza) makes it pretty evident that this pizza genuinely targets everybody. Italy is a beautiful place to grow vegetables, and pizza ortolana shows off all the best ones.

    In fact, pizza ortolana translates to “greengrocer’s pizza.” The pizza is covered with tomato sauce, eggplant, and zucchini in its most basic form. However, I prefer to be a bit more inventive and add even more deliciousness to mine. This pizza might be my one and only exception to the adage “less is more” when it comes to pizza toppings. Never limit your veggies.

    Ingredient notes

    Pizza Ortolana The Best Vegetarian Pizza

    Please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for exact measurements.

    It is fairly typical for Italian households to preserve eggplant or zucchini in oil so that they can enjoy garden fruit throughout the year. Even if you don’t use your own, you can use preserved vegetables in this dish. You may also purchase fresh ingredients and grill or sauté them just before adding them to your pizza.

    This is my recipe for handmade peppers cooked in oil.

    Check out my recipe for eggplant parmesan pizza for instructions on how to fry the eggplant.

    In this pizza, I used buffalo mozzarella, but you can substitute normal mozzarella if you cannot locate it.

    How to make pizza ortolana

    Pizza Ortolana The Best Vegetarian Pizza

    Prepare the condiments. If using oil-preserved veggies (such as sun-dried tomatoes or peppers), drain the desired amount. The eggplant and zucchini should be sliced thinly. I often use zucchini uncooked, but grill (on a grill pan) or pan-fry eggplant prior to consumption. The mozzarella should be drained, chopped into pieces, and placed on a fine mesh sieve. This step should ideally be completed a few hours in advance to ensure that excess moisture is extracted – see recipe comments below.

    Top the pizza. Stretch the dough to the desired thickness. If using a pizza stone (like I did) I recommend adding some semolina on the pizza peel so your pie would slide more smoothly. If using a pizza pan, be careful to coat it with olive oil to prevent the dough from sticking. Spread a uniform layer of pizza sauce before topping it with assorted vegetables. Finish with mozzarella cheese.

    Bake the pizza at 250°C (480°F) for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the crust and cheese are beautifully browned. Depending on whether you are using a pizza stone or a pan, you may need to place the pizza in a different portion of the oven or reduce the temperature slightly.

    Add a swirl of olive oil immediately after removing the pizza from the oven.

    Make it vegan?

    Pizza Ortolana The Best Vegetarian Pizza

    The traditional pizza ortolana is based on the original pizza Margherita in that the vegetable toppings are placed atop a tomato sauce and cheese base (mozzarella). Obviously, like with any pizza, it may be tailored to your preferences.

    If you would like your pizza to be dairy-free, simply omit the cheese. Alternately, you can use vegan cheese for the mozzarella, but be sure to choose one that can withstand the high temperature of the oven and melts into a stringy texture.

    However, if you choose not to use any cheese at all, this vegetable pizza will still be delicious. This pizza is loaded with so many different vegetables that each bite offers a unique combination of textures and flavors that you will not miss the cheese.

    Recipe tips

    Buffalo mozzarella troubleshooting
    Before usage, all mozzarella balls packaged in whey or brine must be fully drained. This is crucial when using buffalo mozzarella, which is typically softer and creamier than normal mozzarella. This step is not necessary for shredded mozzarella or the firmer, drier mozzarella tubes that do not come in brine.

    To drain mozzarella properly, you must remove it from its packaging and break it into pieces. Place the pieces in a colander or sieve and allow them to rest for at least 30 minutes. If you reside in a really hot region, you may want to let the colander drain in the refrigerator. If your mozzarella is extremely soft, you can gently compress it in the sieve to extract even more water.

    If the mozzarella has not been thoroughly drained, it may release water as the pizza bakes; if this occurs, move the pizza to the top of the oven for the last two minutes of baking to expedite the evaporation of the excess moisture.

    If you neglected to drain the mozzarella, you may simply add it to the hot pizza as soon as it comes out of the oven. Basically treat buffalo mozzarella like burrata.

    Ingredients

    • 1 ball pizza dough homemade or store-bought
    • 100 ml pizza sauce
    • 125 g buffalo mozzarella or regular mozzarella
    • 4 slices eggplant fried or grilled
    • 4 halves sun-dried tomatoes drained
    • 4 slices zucchini raw or grilled
    • 4 slices bell peppers roasted or grilled
    • a swirl of olive oil

    Instructions

    • Prepare the condiments. If using oil-preserved veggies (such as sun-dried tomatoes or peppers), drain the desired amount. If using fresh vegetables (such as eggplant or zucchini), slice and grill or fry the necessary amount.
    • Drain the mozzarella from the whey, cut it into pieces, and set them on a sieve with a fine screen to remove extra moisture. This stage should ideally be completed a few hours in advance, but a half hour is sufficient (see notes below).
    • Stretch the dough to the desired thickness. Spread a uniform layer of pizza sauce before topping it with assorted vegetables. Finish with mozzarella cheese.
    • Bake the pizza at 250°C (480°F) for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the crust and cheese are beautifully browned. Add a swirl of olive oil immediately after removing the pizza from the oven.

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