When I saw that today’s Vegan MoFo post was “make (or eat!) a traditional local dish” a few classic Chicago foods popped into my head: deep dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, and Italian beef sandwiches. I even thought about combining all of these foods into a super mega Chicago-style deep dish pizza…deep dish filled with hot dogs, no ketchup, and seitan Italian beef smothered in giardiniera, anyone? Thankfully, I toned it down a little and went with the classic pie for my vegan deep dish pizza. With giardiniera. And I also made a cheeseburger pizza version.
What is deep dish pizza?
So if for some reason, you’ve never heard of deep dish pizza, the name kind of gives it away. From the bottom up, it goes cheese, “toppings”, seasoning, a thick layer of sauce on top, and Parmesan and herbs on top. So basically an upside-down pizza in a deep dish with thick crust. For additional Chicago flair, I added giardiniera. I’m not sure if the store bought kind is readily available outside of the Chicago area or in Italian markets, so you could make it from scratch using my giardiniera recipe.
Deep dish is popular among tourists in Chicago, but locals typically stick with traditional thin-crust pizza and save the deep dish for dining with tourists, or as a novelty.
Vegan Deep Dish Pizza
- Prepared pizza dough for 1 pizza
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups shredded vegan mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 onion sliced
- 1/2 small green pepper sliced
- 5-6 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 small tomato sliced
- 1/2 cup vegan Italian-style sausage or seitan
- 1/3 cup giardiniera
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- Vegan Parmesan or nooch
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Grease a 9-inch round dish with the olive oil, then press the pizza dough into the pan.
- Scatter the cheese on the bottom, then add the onion slices, green peppers, most of the garlic, tomato slices, Italian sausage, and giardiniera.
- Pour the marinara over all of the ingredients, covering them completely.
- Sprinkle the remaining garlic, and some vegan Parmesan or nooch on top, as well as any dried herbs, if desired.
- Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes or until the crust is golden and the marinara starts to set.
- Let the deep dish sit for 30-45 minutes before cutting into it, to let the marinara set a little more. Otherwise, the insides will leak when you cut into the pizza.
- Don’t overstuff your deep dish pizza. It will take too long to cook thoroughly and the crust will burn in that extra time.
Cheeseburger Deep Dish Variation
Refer to the recipe for Cheeseburger Pizza, use HALF the amount of each topping/filling ingredient, and follow the instructions above, adding the filling in the following order: cheddar cheese, onion, green pepper, seitan, tomato, then cover the top with mustard and ketchup to your liking. After baking, add the diced onion, pickles, lettuce, and black pepper.
Because deep dish doesn’t wait around for the camera, I only got one inside shot of one pizza, and it was with my phone.
Have you eaten Chicago-style deep dish? What is your favorite local dish?