I've received a handful of requests for dairy-free pizza since I started this blog. And because I don't believe in "fake" ingredients, it's taken me a while to develop a recipe that doesn't feel like a dietary restriction. Cheeseless pesto with roasted red peppers and olives wasn't bad, but John and I agreed that there was a gaping flavor hole where the mozzarella should have been. I got a little warmer with pumpkin puree, toasted chestnuts, and sage . . . and that's when it hit me: The key isn't to take the dairy out of a beloved flavor combination, it's to pizzify a recipe that never contained dairy in the first place. So Vegetarian Thai Curry Pizza was born, in all its creamy, dairy-free glory. And oh man was it delicious.
The cubed tofu and butternut squash add satisfying texture (which will remind your mouth of cheese), and the coconut milk makes for a perfectly creamy sauce that holds it all together.
Note: To make this pizza vegan, substitute the fish sauce with a mixture of 1½ teaspoons soy sauce and 1½ vegetable broth.
Vegetarian Thai Curry Pizza (with tofu, butternut squash, and coconut milk)
Makes one 12-inch pizza
- 1½ cups cubed butternut squash (1/2-inch cubes)
- 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons coconut milk, divided
- 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (from 1/2 lime)
- 1 teaspoon firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
- 1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 Thai chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
- 2 teaspoons red curry paste
- 1 cup cubed extra-firm tofu
- 1 (14 to 16-ounce) ball Basic Pizza Dough (or pre-made pizza dough)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- Sriracha sauce, for serving
Place your pizza stone (if using) on an oven rack about 8 inches from the broiler. If you plan to cook your pizza on a baking sheet, place a rack in the middle of the oven (you do not need to preheat the baking sheet). Preheat the oven to 550°F (or the highest temperature your oven will allow) and let it heat up for at least 30 minutes while you make the dough and/or prepare the toppings.
To prep the toppings: Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the butternut squash and cook for 8 minutes or until fork tender. Drain well.
In a small bowl, whisk 1/3 cup of the coconut milk with the fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, and Thai chile. Saute for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Add the curry paste and 1 tablespoon of coconut milk to the pan and saute for 2 minutes, then stir in the coconut milk–fish sauce mixture, butternut squash, and tofu. Cook the curry for 3 to 5 minutes to let the flavors blend and the sauce thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool slightly.
To stretch/roll out the dough: Place the dough on a clean work surface and, using your hands, gently stretch it into a 12-inch square or disk, making sure that it retains the same thickness throughout (more or less). If you want a thinner-crust pizza, dust the dough with flour and roll it out with a rolling pin.
If you’re using a pizza stone: Dust a pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet generously with flour or cornmeal. Place the dough disk on the prepared peel.
If you’re using a baking sheet: Spray the baking sheet with cooking spray or rub it with olive oil. Place the dough disk on the prepared baking sheet.
To top the pizza: Scoop the curry onto the dough and spread it out evenly, leaving a 1-inch border of dough all around. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the remaining coconut milk over top.
To bake the pizza: If you’re using a pizza stone, 10 minutes before you are ready to cook the pizza, increase the oven heat to broil. Slide the pizza from the peel (or inverted baking sheet) to the hot stone using quick shimmying movements. Broil the pizza for 6 to 8 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese just begins to brown. Using the peel or inverted baking sheet, transfer the cooked pizza to a cutting board. If you are making more than one pizza, allow the pizza stone to reheat under the broiler for 5 minutes before you cook the next one.
If you’re using a baking sheet, do not increase the oven to broil. Place the baking sheet on the rack in the middle of the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust is golden and the cheese just begins to brown.
As soon as the pizza comes out of the oven, drizzle it with the remaining tablespoon of coconut milk and sprinkle on the chopped cilantro. Let it rest for 5 minutes, then slice and serve with sriracha on the side.