The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How Do You Like Your Pizza?? With Or Without Cheese??

baltochef's picture

How Do You Like Your Pizza?? With Or Without Cheese??

I recently started making pizza at home after nearly a decade since I last time I regularly did..

I have known for some time that it would be a very good thing if I eliminated all dairy products from my diet as they instantly cause mucus to form in my head and body..

In that vein I have been experimenting with pizzas that do not contain any cheese..Today I made two different thin-crust pizzas..

I pulled two 10" thin-crust pizza shells out of the freezer to defrost on a cooling rack while I prepared the toppings..

Both pizzas were baked on a 7/16" thick baking stone that had been pre-heated at 475F for 40 minutes..

Both pizzas started out by having the dough brushed lightly with a spicy green olive oil..

The first pizza consisted of a base of spicy uncooked tomato sauce topped with cooked, drained ground turkey that had Penzey's Turkish spices, salt, and ground ancho clilli powder added to flavor the meat..It was baked for 7 minutes at 475F..

The second pizza had a layer of pesto spread onto it, baked for three minutes at 475F, removed from the oven, topped with a mixture of carmelized green cabbage and yellow onions, sprinkled with diced bacon bits, and baked for a further 4 minutes..

Both tasted real good, although my favorite was the tomato sauce and ground turkey pizza..

I am curious as to how many other members here that might choose not to put cheese on their pizzas, and what combination of toppings that you use..

Of course, not to be prejudiced, I suppose I must ask those that make their pizzas with cheese what their favorite topping combos are..(tounge in cheek!!!!)

Thanks, Bruce



Baker_Dan's picture

Sometimes I think that cheese takes away from the creativity of a pizza, masking flavors and such. I love a good red sauce/ anchovy pizza with the slightest hint of sea salt (I'm a salt fiend). I also enjoy grilled chicken, artichoke hearts and garlic on red suace.

Whatever you do, make your own sauce, this gives you even more room to work in the non-dairy secition!

Keep us up to date on your new creations!

xaipete's picture

My favorite is Pizza Margarita: fresh mozzarella cheese and homemade pizza sauce (recipe in pizza primer) baked on a thin crust garnished with a chiffonade of fresh basil, a little kosher salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.


arzajac's picture

Hi Bruce.

I grew up in an italian neighborhood of Montreal.  They make the best "just tomato" pizza anywhere.  It is usually sold in 24x14 inch slabs.  You can also buy a half or quarter slab.  They wrap it up in an orange-tinted piece of wax paper that quickly gets saturated with olive oil as you bring it home.

It can be eated as-is or topped with cheese and reheated.

This is how I make it.  The dough is simply one pound of lean dough rolled out using olive oil.  The sauce is not cooked:

One 796ml (28oz) can of Plum tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 cloves of freshly pressed garlic
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon of dried basil
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano

Empty the can of tomatoes in a large bowl. Poke each one with a knife and squeeze the juice out of them with your hands. Leave some large and small pieces. Drain off the liquid to reduce the total volume by half.

Add the other ingredients and stir together. Let it sit for a few hours before using it. You can also take 1/2 cup of this and blend it until smooth to make excellent traditional pizza sauce.

In my oven, I lay the pizza on a stone using parchment paper in a preheated 450 degree oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the under side of the crust is brown.  The top should bubble slightly.  Eat once it has been cooled.


pancakes's picture

Your "just tomato pizza" sounds like what we call tomato pie here in western NY.  I have only seen it at a handful of places but it is delicious.

hsmum's picture

I spread a thin layer of pesto (either basil pesto or sundried tomato pesto) on the pizza base, and cover every square centimetre with thinly sliced zucchini.  Then I add thinly sliced sweet red peppers, red onion, feta cheese, tomatoes & pine nuts.  I  sometimes add sundried tomatoes.  I love this combination! 

By the way, my husband is lactose-intolerant and he has found that goat's milk & cheese (including feta of course) are relatively easy on his system.  We were glad to discover this as he seems to have trouble digesting soy milk products.   I've since heard the same report from other people -- might be worth a shot if you haven't tried this alternative already.




SylviaH's picture

A parmigiano-reggiano topped thin crust and topped with plenty of salad..such as Arugula, fennel and orange or a spring mix salad and sometimes add grilled shrimp or chicken.  Hard to pick a favorite!


GinkgoGal's picture

I really do love cheese but I suspect this one (my favorite non-traditional pizza) would be good without.  Caramelized onions and garlic in olive oil make the base, then top with thinly sliced cooked boiling potatoes, salt and pepper.  I usually add just a dusting of parmesan over the top.

sephiepoo's picture

Ever since I lived in CT, I've been in love with a fresh clam pie.  Fresh clam strips, great mozz, and garlic.  Sometimes with a little (pre-cooked) bacon, but without is just as good.  If you've never had it, it's pretty amazing, and definitely something to get if you're ever in the CT area at Pepe's.  I make it at home when there are fresh clams at the market, so you can be sure it's loaded!

Otherwise, pesto, chicken, and caramelized onions is a great way to go too :)

xaipete's picture

Sounds good to me; I'll have to try it.


baltochef's picture

Thanks for all the responses to thus far!!!..

arzajac -- I have been using a modified version of the No-Cook Tomato Sauce recipe that is found on page 28 of the little hardbound, 96-page book, How To Make Pizza by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine..Great little book with a lot of helpful ideas and suggestions, especially for the novice pizza maker..

Cook's Illustrated's No-Cook Tomato Sauce

1 - 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 - tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 - large cloves fresh garlic, peeled, minced

salt (to taste)

fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

Crush the tomatoes in a bowl with your hands, a potato masher, etc..Add the oil, garlic, and the salt & pepper to taste..Allow to sit at room temperature for several hours to macerate..Refrigerate, covered for up to 3 days..


Spicy -- Add 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Basil -- Add 2 tablespoons fresh minced basil leaves

Thick -- Place all ingredients in saucepot, simmer until thick, and sauce reduces to 2.5 cups in volume, approximately 20 minutes

I did not have 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes on hand the first time I made this recipe..Instead I substituted a single 14.5 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes, as I wanted to see how much sauce thie smaller can made..I am quite happy with the smaller amount, as it makes enough sauce to coat approximately 5-6 of my 10" thin-crust pizzas..

Bruce's Spicy No-Cook Tomato Sauce

1- 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes

2 - tablespoons spicy, extra-virgin olive oil

2 - large cloves fresh garlic, peeled

2 - teaspoons organic granulated cane juice

1/2 - teaspoon table salt

1 - teaspoon coarsely ground fresh black pepper

1 - teaspoon dried Turkish or Greek oregano (not Mexican oregano)

1 - teaspoon dried basil

1 - teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 - dash (shake) Tabasco sauce

I put all of the ingredients into the glass carafe of my 40-year old Oster Osterizer blender, and blend the ingredients on low speed for 30-60 seconds..I am aiming to break down and pulverize the garlic and dried spices so that they become lost in the mixture, without incorporating any more air into the mixture than is absolutely necessary..The mixture is then poured into the storage bowl that it will be refrigerated in..It will macerate at room temperature for 1-2 hours, just like the basic Cook's Illustrated recipe recommends..I stir the sauce every 15 minutes, or so, with a small icing spatula held perpendicular to the bottom of the bowl in order to get rid of any excess air bubbles in the sauce..

I REALLY like this sauce!!!..It is dead simople to make and tastes GREAT!!!..

Please try this recipe if you like spicy, well-flavored tomato sauce..

Keep your iseas for pizza toppings coming!!!!..



Janknitz's picture

I like a thin layer of Ranch dressing topped with vegies--artuchoke hearts, mushrooms, kalamata olives, spinach leaves, and thinly sliced onion. YUM!

summerbaker's picture

As someone who makes pizza once a week, I'll have to try your variation on the CI sauce, which I've made before and enjoyed.  I do like spice!  I've always liked the idea of a no cook sauce and have been known to simply puree diced partially drained canned tomatoes with a little olive oil, fresh basil and oregano (salt and pepper a given), when I'm in a hurry.  It's not fancy but it works in a pinch.


fooddude's picture

honey in the dough and rocket, pepperoni, green olives and chestnut mushrooms on top


louiscohen's picture

We like the thin crust with the pizza dough from (a great source for Italian bread formulas of all kinds).

Our favorite topping is pesto with caramelized onions, hold the cheese.  There's nothing wrong with no-cheese pizza, but I think it works best with a very thin crust.

If you don't use pesto, start by brushing the rolled-out dough with a little olive oil and put your sauce and toppings (thin sliced and fairly sparse) on top of that.  Bake in a wicked hot oven on a stone, maybe 5-6 minutes for the first one and less as you go (maybe the same in a well controlled electric oven - the stone and oven in our ceramic BBQ pit always got hotter as went along). 


baltochef's picture

I made the third batch of my Spicy No-Cook Tomato Sauce yesterday and I would like to report one change to the recipe..Instead of a dash of Tabasco Sauce, I used closer to 1/2 teaspoon of Tabasco in the sauce to bring it to the heat level that I prefer..

summerbaker -- When you really think the entire comcept of pizza sauce through, there is really no compelling reason, other than to create a thicker sauce, to cook the tomatoes that come out of a can, for those tomatoes have already been cooked during the canning process..

Cooking the tomatoes to infuse a sauce with flavors would also be a reason that some poeple might find as a reason to cook a sauce..

That being said, other than wanting a thicker, less watery sauce, as a chef I can find no reason to consider ever cooking my pizza sauces again as long as there is a dependable supply of decent quality canned tomatoes available for purchase..

Adding dried, or fresh, herbs and spices to the canned tomatoes, pureeing the sauce for a few seconds in the blender, and allowing the sauce to macerate at room temperature for 1-2 hours accomplishes exactly the same levels of flavor infusion as does cooking the sauce..With a LOT less work, mess, and clean up on my part, than cooking a sauce entails..

That is my opinion, YMMV..


summerbaker's picture

Sounds like a plan Bruce.  The only part that I had been leaving out in my attempts was the 1-2 hour maceration, which I'll be trying when I use your recipe next week.

BTW have you tried the Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes?  They're great for something different and don't have pesky added spices that will interfere with your recipe.  Basically they're just like regular diced canned tomatoes, but roasted.