It's still warm out, so that means it's still grilling season, right? (Yes! Right!) Vegetarian grilling can be a bit dicey. Sure, you can always grill vegetables, but veggie burgers are a whole different story. I'd estimate that at least 70% of veggie burgers arrive at the table in pieces after falling apart on the grill.
The solution, obviously, is pizza. (Isn't it usually?) When I saw this article, I knew immediately that I needed to make grilled margherita pizza. I didn't have a choice. And, since I'm always looking for an excuse to make my favorite tomato sauce, the one that's so addicting and perfect that I've actually been known to eat it by the spoonful as it cooks, I decided to throw that into the mix.
It was a good decision. A golden crust topped with fresh mozzarella, rich tomato sauce, and bright green basil, the pizza retains just a whiff of smoke from the grill, making every bite feel somehow more rugged, as though you had hunted a fresh margherita pizza in the wild and brought it home to feed your family. Even though 1) margherita pizzas aren't animals, and 2) you're grilling it on a mini-grill on your deck in Chicago. A vegetarian can dream, right?
A few technical notes: cook the sauce down for longer than you normally would, until it's thick and most of the liquid has evaporated. Otherwise, it will all slide off your pizza immediately. And also, cheese first. Yes, cheese first. It melts better that way. There aren't really any measurements for the ingredients, since everything is to taste. Use your own judgment.
The original artwork for this post is by the amazing Jill Solarczyk, who captured my dog Layla's excitement about this pizza perfectly. (Okay, so she didn't actually steal a pizza, but she did get a few crust scraps.)
Grilled Margherita Pizza
Adapted from here
- Pizza dough
- Mozzarella (the fresh kind, not the shredded stuff)
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Fresh basil
Get your grill super hot. Like, as hot as you can get it. You want this pizza to cook quickly. While the grill is heating up, tear your cheese up into bite-sized pieces, have the sauce ready to go, and roll your pizza dough out so it's about 1/2 inch thick.
Once the grill is hot, lay your pizza dough out on it. Try to stretch the dough out as large as possible. Cook for about 30 seconds, until large bubbles form in the center. Check to see that the bottom has a nice color, and flip the dough.
Add the cheese first, then sauce. Cook for about 2 more minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Remove from grill, and immediately top with a good glug of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and fresh black pepper, and basil. Slice. Eat.