Vegetarian Barbecue & Wild Leek Pizza
Barbecue "Chicken" Pizza with Wild Leeks
At my house, this pizza is the taste of spring. The recipe is built completely around the presence of Wild Leeks, also called Ramps. The barbecue and ranch dressing flavors blend with the enticingly springy, new onion flavor of the Wild Leeks. Layer it all on your own homemade pizza crust (or on a pre-made crust if you don't have time), top it with a mild mozzarella, and let the flavors rule your palate.
Now, even if you don't have access to Wild Leeks, keep reading. The beauty of this pizza is that there are some easy substitutions that still make a darn delicious pizza.
Image used under Creative Commons from swanksalot
- 1 cup chopped Wild Leek
- 1/2 -1 cup barbecue sauce
- 1 pkg. meatless "chicken" chunks
- 3 -4 Tablespoons ranch dressing (or to taste)
- 1 -2 cups mozzarella cheese (or to taste)
- Pizza crust (I recommend the handmade crust below)
- In a frying pan, warm the meatless "chicken" chunks. When the "chicken" is warm, pour barbecue sauce over the chunks and stir until coated. Spread a thin layer of ranch dressing around on the pizza crust. Sprinkle on the chopped Wild Leeks and meatless "chicken" chunks. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake on baking stone in 350 degree oven until the cheese on top is bubbling and turning golden brown.
- More detailed instructions and information below. Read on!
First Ingredient: An Easy, Delicious Homemade Crust
Are you one of the people who think the crust of the pizza is just a delivery vehicle for all the goodies on top? Think again.
I used to think a handmade crust would take too much time and be too much work to be worthwhile, but I don't believe that anymore. Not since I got the book "Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day." When it says 5 minutes a day, this book means it. The pizza crust is made from one of the basic bread doughs shown in the book, which can be made ahead and left in the refrigerator. The recipe only requires a few minutes to make a dough ball, roll out and make.
A homemade crust is completely worth it. A good crust makes all the difference in complementing and supporting the flavors of the pizza toppings. If you have your own recipe, use it. If you don't have even 5 minutes a day, use a quality store-bought crust. But if you can, make your own.
Image used under Creative Commons from grongar
Delicious Homemade Breads in 5 Minutes a Day - Learn to make bread, pizza crust, focaccia, and much more...
Do you love the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven? Authors Jeff Herzberg and Zoe Francais make bread baking easy. The pizza crust recipe I use is in the "Artisan Breads" book, and I highly recommend both books.
You'll want a sturdy spoon to stir your dough. Some people recommend a dough whisk, but a strong spoon works just as well for the dough recipes in this book and it costs a lot less.
You'll want a pastry mat to roll out your pizza crust. The mat includes measurements to help you make it round and perfect for your spring pizza.
Second Ingredient: Wild Leeks (or Ramps)
I first experienced Wild Leeks while shopping at the Madison Farmer's Market in Wisconsin that takes place every Saturday in the summer on the square that surrounds the capital building. The Farmer's Market is a great experience on its own, but the Wild Leeks (also called Ramps) took my experience that Saturday morning to a whole new level.
Ramps grow deep in the woods across North America. It is not recommended to pick them unless there is a plentiful population where they are being harvested. If over-harvested, they run the risk of not regenerating. The farm that sells them at the market each year is very conscientious about limiting their harvest to protect the plants' regeneration from one year to the next. If you are lucky enough to get to buy Ramps from them, you are in business for this pizza. Better yet, go find your own.
For this recipe, chop about 1 cup of Wild Leeks, removing the roots at the bottom using all other parts (white and green). If you do not have access to Wild Leeks, I recommend substituting other spring greens that can be found at your local spring farmer's market like green onions, green garlic, or green (domesticated) leeks.
Image used under Creative Commons from Carly & Art
If you do not have access to Wild Leeks, substitute other spring greens found at your local spring farmer's market like green onions, green garlic, or green (domesticated) leeks.
More Information about Wild Leeks
- The Forager Press: Wild Leeks
The Forager Press featured Wild Leeks (Ramps) as the April Wild Harvest Food of the Month. Get more information here about what to look for and more recipes for Ramps.
- Wildwood Survival: Wild Leeks
Find out the vital details about Wild Leeks and view images of the plants throughout their life cycle in the wild.
Great Books about Edible Wild Plants
What I like about "The Forager's Harvest" is that Samuel Thayer, a Wisconsin native, draws on his own personal experiences in edible wild plants, while many other books are not. I have heard the author speak and have been on a forage hike with him and this book is a great resource in getting started on your own "forager's harvest."
"Edible Wild Plants" has 80 customer reviews and has a solid 4.8 out of 5-star rating.
The Rest of the Ingredients for Your Spring Pizza
Despite what you might think based on my previous recommendations for crust and Ramps, I like things to be easy. I just think some things are worth the extra time and energy. So, for the rest of this pizza recipe, I look for the easy and the accessible. If you have strong feelings about your selection for any of these ingredients (I know how serious some people are about their barbecue sauce), choose your favorites and make this recipe your own. Here we go:
* Ranch dressing - I use Hidden Valley Ranch light ranch dressing in a thin layer spread across on the crust. Don't use too much or it might make the crust soggy. Add the chopped Wild Leeks after the dressing and before adding anything else.
* Meatless chicken - I use Quorn Meat-Free & Soy-Free Chicken Tenders, which are made of a mycoprotein (fungi). Other soy-based meatless products work just as well. (Okay... why not? If you are a meat-eater and want to use real chicken, I won't tell.) Heat about half the bag in a pan and coat with barbecue sauce.
* Barbecue sauce - I have tried many different kinds of barbecue sauce and usually like the sweeter kinds to balance the flavor of the ranch dressing and the zippy flavor of the Wild Leeks. Add about 1 cup of barbecue sauce to the chicken in a pan and warm together before spreading on the pizza.
* Mozzarella cheese - Topping your pizza with 1-2 cups of shredded mozzarella, depending on your taste for cheese, rounds out the flavors of the pizza nicely. I usually go a little lighter on the cheese to let the other flavors take center stage.
Preheat a baking stone in a 350 degree oven. Place your pizza onto the stone and bake until the cheese on top is bubbly and turning a golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy!!
Image used under Creative Commons from trenttsd
Serious about Barbecue Sauce?
People can have pretty strong opinions about barbecue sauce, whether it's a favorite brand at the store or a family recipe. As a vegetarian, I don't use the condiment very often and haven't developed strong opinions about it. So, what do you think?
Is it important to have just the right barbecue sauce?
Essential Pizza-Making Tools
Having your own pizza stone is great for baking both pizzas and breads. These items bake through more evenly on a stone.
This Acacia Wood pizza peel makes taking both breads and pizzas out of your oven a breeze, and it's pretty enough to hang in your kitchen as a decoration.
Forget about your pizza sliding out from under the pizza cutter. One quick move and this cutter has a nice clean cut. Easy to clean up too.
If you prefer a traditional pizza wheel for cutting and easy storage, stainless steel works well and is easy to clean too.
Pizzas slide easily onto this stainless steel pizza peel and clean up is super easy.
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Will you try this pizza (or some variation of it)?