Vegan Caramelized Onion, Sausage and Kale Pizza with Almond Ricotta
With a rich flavor profile, this pizza is simple yet incredibly tasty. Topped with smoky, sweet barbecue sauce, caramelized sweet onions, vegan sausage crumbles, crispy kale and creamy almond cheese, this pizza is sure to be a favorite at your next pizza night.
2large (100 g each)vegan sausages, preferably brat style or other mild variety
For the Rest of the Pizza:
1lbpizza dough, store-bought or homemade
8tbspbarbeque sauce, smokey and sweet variety
dried red chili flakes, to taste
For the Caramelized Onions:
Peel the onions, and cut them in half root to tip. Either using a knife or a mandolin, cut the onion halves into thin slices, about 1/8-1/4" thick.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium. Add the onions and salt, stir to coat in the oil, and then even the onions out over the bottom of the pot. Stir occasionally, until softened and the liquid starts to evaporate. The color will start to change gradually after about 15 minutes. Use a metal spatula to help scrape up any browning, stirring every few minutes so the caramelization happens evenly and to prevent sticking to the pot. If the onions look like they are starting to burn rather the brown, reduce the heat a bit. The process is slow but this is how the caramelization happens and the resulting flavors to emerge. Crisping should not happen, rather a softening and then gradual development of blonde to golden to brown color. This should take 40-60 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar a few minutes before turning off the heat.
For the Almond Ricotta:
In a small pot, cover the sliced almonds in water. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the almonds soak for 10 minutes.
Drain the almonds and add them to a food processor. Pulse to break them up. Add the rest of the ingredients for the ricotta, then blend until almost smooth, scraping down the sides as you go. The almond mixture looks like an extra thick ricotta. Place in an air-tight dish in the fridge until you need it. It will firm up more as it cools.
For the Sausage:
If the vegan sausage has casings, remove them. Crumble the sausage into small pieces (about 3/4"). Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in the sausage and sauté for 4 or 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
For the Kale:
Wash the kale and pat it dry. Remove the thick stem from each leaf. Tear the leaves into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil, and massage the leaves with your hands to coat them with the oil and to soften them slightly.
To Assemble the Pizza:
Preheat the oven to 500°F. If you have a pizza stone, have it heating in the oven. Otherwise, lightly oil 2 large baking sheets (or use parchment paper).
Working on one pizza at a time, stretch out the dough for the first pizza on a baking sheet. Keep your hands lightly oiled to prevent sticking. My pizzas were about 8" x 12" each, or you could do 10" round ones.
Spread 4 tbsp of the barbecue sauce on the first pizza. Scatter half of the caramelized onions, 1/4 of the almond ricotta (about 1" lumps) and about 1/4 of the kale.
Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and cooked in the center. Remove from the oven and slide onto a heat proof cutting board or serving tray. While the first one bakes, prepare the second pizza.
To serve, sprinkle each baked pizza with a bit more of the remaining ricotta (you might have leftovers, it's amazing on toast etc) and kale. Sprinkle with red chili flakes if desired. Enjoy!