Easy Vegetarian Paella

This vegetarian paella recipe is full of delicious, hearty flavor! A vegan spin on the classic Spanish recipe, it pleases…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This vegetarian paella recipe is full of delicious, hearty flavor! A vegan spin on the classic Spanish recipe, it pleases everyone.

Vegetarian paella

Here’s a recipe that’s guaranteed to get ooo’s and ahh’s whenever you serve it: this classic Vegetarian Paella! Paella is a traditional Spanish dish that has loads of variations. Often it’s made with seafood, but we’ve tasted many delicious vegetable-based versions while traveling in Spain! The saffron-scented rice is loaded with a colorful assortment of vegetables, and it’s a true delight. We love serving it for dinner guests, but if you’re organized this one is easy enough to work for a weeknight. (It’s a vegan paella, too!)

Ingredients in this vegetarian paella recipe

Vegetarian paella is also called paella de verduras: a rice dish cooked in a shallow pan and loaded with vegetables. This recipe is based on loads of research from our recent trip to Spain. Alex and I wanted this recipe to reflect vegetables you might see in a Spanish paella, not just any old veggies! Here’s what you’ll need for an epic vegetarian paella:

  • Traditional paella pan: you can also use a large skillet (see below)
  • Bomba rice: you can also use Arborio rice
  • Tomato, onion and garlic to make a quick “sofrito”
  • Saffron and pimentón aka smoked paprika (see below)
  • Artichokes
  • Peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Roasted red peppers (jarred)
  • Lemon wedges: garnishing with lemon is the perfect bright finish
Vegetarian paella recipe

Use a large skillet or paella pan

There are some people who say it’s not paella if it’s not made in a paella pan! (Purists.) But not everyone has access to this special type of pan, or wants to store it. We highly recommend one if you plan to make paella regularly. Here’s what to know about finding one:

  1. A paella pan is a large round, shallow pan with handles used for cooking paella. The shallow shape lets rice cook consistently. This recipe is for a 15-inch paella pan that serves 4 people. If you’re looking for one, here’s a link to purchase a 4-person paella pan.
  2. Don’t have one? Use your largest skillet. The larger the better! You may need to adjust the cook time slightly if you are using a skillet. Keep an eye on it!

Note that paella pans are made of carbon steel and can rust. If you buy one, make sure to dry the pan completely after cleaning it. Rub it with a bit of vegetable oil to prevent rusting.

Vegetarian paella

Best rice: bomba or arborio

The best rice for this vegetarian and vegan paella recipe? Bomba rice! Bomba rice is a white short grain rice that’s used for making paella. It can be hard to find at some grocery stores, but it’s easy to order it online: Bomba rice.

Another option is Arborio rice! This is the type of short grain rice that’s used for risotto. Arborio rice can result in a gummier texture than bomba, but it still works. Bomba is most consistent, if you can find it!

Paella spices: saffron and pimentón

There are two classic spices in a Spanish paella that bring in the authentic flavor. You may have heard of saffron, but it’s the combination with smoked paprika that makes the best hearty flavor in this vegetarian paella. (Bonus: we use it in lots of vegan recipes to bring in a meaty flavor.)

  • Saffron brings an earthy flavor and a beautiful color to the dish. It’s expensive but worth the splurge. If you can’t find it or don’t want to splurge, a good substitute is ½ teaspoon turmeric.
  • Smoked paprika (aka pimentón): This bright red spice gives the dish more color and a smoky undertone. Use leftovers for more of our top smoked paprika recipes.
Vegetarian paella recipe

How to cook vegetarian paella: a few tips!

Once you’re ready to cook this vegetarian paella, it’s mostly set it and forget it. Mostly! Here are a few tips for the cooking process:

  • Don’t stir it! That’s right: no stirring allowed! The broth and spices boil through the rice, leaving everything perfectly cooked. Traditional paella gets a nice brown crust on the bottom of the rice. The Spanish call this socarrat. (Note that it’s a little harder to get it if you’re using a skillet.)
  • Keep an eye on it. You’ll want to make sure the heat isn’t so hot that the broth cooks too fast or it will burn on the bottom and the rice will be uncooked! Slow and steady. See the recipe below for more tips!
  • If you’re using a paella pan, rotate the pan over the burners. Our paella pan can fit over multiple burners, so we rotate it during cooking so it stays even.

Side dishes for vegetarian paella

Once you’re done cooking, bring it to the table and spritz with lemon wedges. Unveil your brilliantly vegetable-filled vegan paella and everyone will ooo and ahh (we promise!). It’s great for entertaining, but we sometimes make them for weeknights too. What to serve with it to make it a meal? Here are a few ideas:

Vegan paella

More types of paella

Want to make paella over an open fire? Or use the traditional seafood? Here are our top variations on paella recipes:

This vegetarian and vegan paella recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Vegetarian paella

Easy Vegetarian Paella


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This vegetarian paella recipe is full of delicious, hearty flavor! A vegan spin on the classic Spanish recipe, it pleases everyone.


Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 to 3 roma or plum tomatoes (1 ½ cups finely chopped)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 large pinch saffron
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 ½ cups short grain Bomba rice or arborio rice
  • ½ cup frozen peas, rinsed under warm water
  • 12 ounces artichoke hearts, quartered (marinated if desired)
  • 1 to 2 jarred roasted red peppers, sliced into strips
  • Lemon wedges from ½ lemon
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Prep the vegetables: Mince the onion. Mince the garlic. Finely chop the tomatoes, removing the cores but keeping the seeds with their juices. Slice the roasted red peppers into strips, and set aside.
  2. Measure out the ingredients: Measure out all the remaining ingredients before you start. The cooking process goes fast!
  3. Cook the paella: In your largest skillet or a 4-serving paella pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until just translucent, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped tomatoes, the smoked paprika and red pepper flakes and ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and cook until the tomatoes have broken down and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock, chickpeas, saffron and the remaining 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Stir, then immediately sprinkle the rice evenly across the broth and tap the pan with a spoon to evenly spread the rice. Bring to a medium simmer and cook without stirring until liquid is absorbed, about 18 to 22 minutes (adjust the cook time as necessary if using a skillet). If your pan is large enough to span multiple burners on your stovetop, adjust the heat on each burner so you achieve a steady medium simmer. Rotate the pan every few minutes for an even cook.
  4. Add the artichokes and peas (10 minutes into cook time): When the top of the rice is beginning to show through the liquid, about 10 minutes into the cook time, press the artichokes, peas, and red pepper strips lightly into the rice.
  5. Assess whether the paella is done: In last few minutes, carefully watch the paella and rotate pan more frequently. As the paella finishes, you’ll see the steam start to slow down as the water cooks out. If desired, peek at the bottom of a pan by using a knife to scrape back the rice — you shouldn’t see any standing water. The sound will start to change from a simmer to a crackle. This indicates the crust is forming. Let the crackling continue for about 2 minutes before removing from the heat. If you smell any burning, remove immediately.
  6. Serve: When the paella is done, squeeze the lemon wedges onto the top of the pan. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of kosher salt and add the parsley, if using. Serve with additional lemon wedges.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Spanish

Keywords: Vegetarian paella, vegetarian paella recipe, vegan paella

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Ultimate Arugula Pizza

This arugula pizza features a topping of baby greens! The fresh, peppery flavor is a great contrast to the rich…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This arugula pizza features a topping of baby greens! The fresh, peppery flavor is a great contrast to the rich cheese below.

Arugula Pizza

Want to eat salad and pizza…at the same time? Try this Arugula Pizza recipe! You’ve probably seen this style of pizza at artisan-style pizzerias: a gooey, cheesy pie topped with fresh baby greens. Yep, that’s seasoned baby arugula! This Italian way of serving pizza is all about contrast: fresh peppery baby greens against a rich, saucy pizza. Here’s our favorite arugula pizza, made in a sheet pan! Or you can simply use the arugula topping on your favorite pizza.

Making arugula pizza: 3 tips to note!

You can use this arugula pizza recipe as a guide for topping your pizzas with fresh greens! This topping idea works for any pizza recipe, or you can use our amazing and tasty sheet pan pizza: more on that below. Here’s all about need to know about adding arugula as a pizza topping:

  • Use only baby arugula. This does not work with standard arugula: it’s sold in bunches and has large leaves that are very spicy. Instead look for baby arugula: it has a lovely feathery texture and milder flavor.
  • Season the arugula with olive oil and salt. Dry arugula on a pizza is not good (trust us). All you have to do is toss it in a bowl with olive oil and salt.
  • Use the recipe below, or eyeball the quantities. Once you’ve done this once, you can just eyeball the quantities. Then add to your favorite pizza recipe!
Arugula pizza

Use arugula with any toppings

You can use arugula topping to go with pizzas of any toppings! Below we used our favorite combination, but it works with just about anything.

  • Try pizza sauce, smoked gouda and mozzarella. Head to the recipe below for our favorite combo with arugula! It stars our Easy Pizza Sauce and smoked gouda cheese for a savory twist.
  • Make arugula and Prosciutto pizza. Salty cured Italian ham (Prosciutto) is the perfect pair with arugula! Just add a few pieces to the recipe below.
  • Or, use it with any of your favorite toppings! Seasoned baby greens work with just about anything: pesto pizza, burrata pizza, margherita pizza, and more!

Try it as a sheet pan pizza

The recipe for this arugula pizza below is a sheet pan pizza. It’s not our standard way to make pizza: instead it’s made in a sheet pan! Here are the pros and cons to this style of pizza:

  • Pros: it makes a big pan and it’s easy to make. A sheet pan pizza has 12 pieces, so it serves quite a bit! You can skip making 2 pizzas and make just one. Also, you don’t need as much equipment, like a pizza stone or pizza peel. You can press it right into a sheet pan!
  • Cons: it takes a little longer. This style of pizza takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to prep, a little longer than our standard cheese pizza (which takes 1 hour and less prep work). But it’s well worth it in our opinion!
Arugula pizza topping

Or, make a standard pizza or use purchased dough!

You can also make this arugula pizza as a standard pizza! We’ve included the instructions for that in the recipe below in the Notes section. Here’s a little overview:

  • Dough: You can use our Italian Pizza Dough recipe, which has incredible flavor and makes a medium sized pizza! Or use store-bought dough.
  • Pizza stone: The best homemade pizza uses a pizza stone, which gets blazing hot in the oven. The higher temperature makes a crispy crust on the outside that’s doughy on the inside. Here’s the best pizza stone we’ve found.
  • Pizza peel: The pizza peel is a paddle used to slide the pizza onto the stone. We recommend this Standard pizza peel or this Conveyor pizza peel.
Arugula pizza recipe

What to serve with arugula pizza

We love this arugula pizza because it’s absolutely delicious and it makes us feel a little bit healthier! The arugula adds a fresh, peppery flavor and fluffy texture that’s incredibly satisfying. We’d still recommend adding a few salads to make it a meal. Pro tip: make one pizza and two salads, instead of two pizzas and one salad! Here are some favorite sides for pizza:

This arugula pizza recipe is…

Vegetarian.

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Arugula pizza

Ultimate Arugula Pizza


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 pieces
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This arugula pizza features a topping of baby greens! The fresh, peppery flavor is a great contrast to the rich cheese below.


Ingredients

For the pizza dough*

  • 375 grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant or active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon each dried oregano and garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 264 grams (1 cup2 tablespoons) warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the sheet

For the arugula pizza

  • 1 ¼ cup pizza sauce (purchased or our favorite Easy Pizza Sauce)
  • 1 cup (3 ounces) shredded smoked gouda cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 4 cups (3 ounces) baby arugula
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the dough (5 minutes): In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, yeast, kosher salt, oregano and garlic powder. Add the warm water and olive oil and stir until flour is incorporated.
  2. Knead the dough (8 minutes): Knead the dough by pushing with the base of your palm, then reforming it into a ball. Continue kneading for 8 minutes until the dough feels pillowy and has a smooth, stretchy exterior. If the dough is very sticky, add a small amount of flour while kneading. Alternatively: attach the dough hook to a stand mixer and start the mixer on medium-low speed, then allow the mixer to knead for 8 minutes.
  3. Roll out and rest the dough in a sheet pan (15 minutes): Using floured hands, gently shape the dough into a boule (ball shape) by folding the dough under itself. Add a light sprinkle of flour to the boule. Then roll out dough on floured surface to roughly the shape of the 13×18 sheet pan. Brush 3 tablespoons olive oil on the bottom and sides of a standard 13″x 18″ sheet pan. Add the dough and brush it lightly with oil. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and rest for 15 minutes to relax the dough.
  4. Rest the dough again (45 minutes): Press the dough back into the corners of the pan so it evenly covers the pan. Cover and rest 45 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 500F.
  6. Bake the pizza dough* without toppings: After the 45 minute rest, bake the pizza dough for 6 minutes without sauce and toppings.
  7. Add the toppings and bake again: Remove the dough from the oven. Add the pizza sauce, smoked mozzarella, fresh mozzarella (torn into pieces), and Parmesan cheese, and top with a few pinches of kosher salt. Take care, since the pan will be hot! Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly brown.
  8. Add the arugula topping: In a small bowl, mix the baby arugula with the olive oil and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Sprinkle the pizza with torn basil, then add the arugula on top. Cut into pieces with a knife (a pizza cutter doesn’t get all the way to the pan edges) and serve immediately.

Notes

*Or, use store-bought pizza dough for quicker prep. For this method you can skip pre-baking the crust. Here’s what to do: Make our Best Pizza Dough or use storebought dough. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500°F. When the oven is ready, dust a pizza peel with cornmeal or semolina flour. (If you don’t have a pizza peel, you can use a rimless baking sheet or the back of a rimmed baking sheet. But a pizza peel is well worth the investment!) Stretch the dough into a circle; see How to Stretch Pizza Dough for instructions. Then gently place the dough onto the pizza peel. Top the pizza as noted above (you can use less cheese since the pizza will be smaller). Use the pizza peel to carefully transfer the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone. Bake the pizza until the cheese and crust are nicely browned, about 5 to 7 minutes in the oven (or 1 minute in a pizza oven). Slice into pieces and serve immediately.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Arugula pizza

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

The Best Focaccia Pizza

Here’s how to make focaccia pizza! This recipe makes a deliciously thick crust for all your favorite toppings: ready in just a few hours. Oh hello, beautifully fluffy crust and melty cheese. Here’s a new style of pizza to add to your repertoire: focaccia pizza! This is the exact opposite of the Neapolitan style pizza with a thin and chewy crust. Instead this pizza is built on focaccia bread: massively thick, pillowy on the inside, and crunchy on the outside. It’s actually reminiscent of a style of Roman pizza you can get in the city today. It makes a massive sheet pan, the equivalent of three pizzas. Oh, and it will make your entire house smell like a pizzeria. (We know from experience.) Ready to get started? How to make focaccia pizza: an overview Focaccia pizza is a style of pizza where you’ll make a homemade focaccia bread, then add toppings and bake it like a pizza. It’s actually similar to Bonci-style pizza that Alex and I had in Rome, though that style has a bubblier crust. Why? Well, most focaccia pizza recipes require making the dough in advance and resting it for 24 hours or more. But for our […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make focaccia pizza! This recipe makes a deliciously thick crust for all your favorite toppings: ready in just a few hours.

Focaccia Pizza

Oh hello, beautifully fluffy crust and melty cheese. Here’s a new style of pizza to add to your repertoire: focaccia pizza! This is the exact opposite of the Neapolitan style pizza with a thin and chewy crust. Instead this pizza is built on focaccia bread: massively thick, pillowy on the inside, and crunchy on the outside. It’s actually reminiscent of a style of Roman pizza you can get in the city today. It makes a massive sheet pan, the equivalent of three pizzas. Oh, and it will make your entire house smell like a pizzeria. (We know from experience.) Ready to get started?

How to make focaccia pizza: an overview

Focaccia pizza is a style of pizza where you’ll make a homemade focaccia bread, then add toppings and bake it like a pizza. It’s actually similar to Bonci-style pizza that Alex and I had in Rome, though that style has a bubblier crust. Why? Well, most focaccia pizza recipes require making the dough in advance and resting it for 24 hours or more.

But for our spin, we wanted a focaccia pizza you can bake in the same day (mainly because we hate thinking ahead!). This is considered a fast focaccia pizza: prep is a little over 2 hours: no advanced planning required! Since it does require a few hours before you eat, this recipe is great for weekends and days off, or anytime if you’re lucky enough to work or watch kids from home. The tradeoff of this fast version is that the crust is slightly less bubbly than a traditional focaccia…but to us it’s worth it. Here’s a breakdown in the timing:

Make the dough15 minutes, active
Rest the dough (Proof 1)45 minutes, inactive
Press the dough into a sheet pan and rest15 minutes, inactive
Rest the dough again (Proof 2)1 hour, inactive
Bake the pizza20 minutes
Focaccia pizza

Making the dough: weights are most accurate

Here’s something to note about focaccia pizza dough. When you’re baking it up, measuring the ingredients by weight is most accurate! Why? The environment and the way you pack the measuring cups can both affect the exact weight. So using a food scale is the most accurate way to measure out quantities when baking something precise like dough.

  • Need a food scale? Here’s the food scale we use. It’s also what we use for our morning pourover coffee!
  • Don’t have one? Use the spoon and level method. Spoon the dry ingredient into the measuring cup, then level it off (instead of plunging the entire cup into the flour container).

Focaccia pizza crust requires two proofs!

What’s the trick to the best focaccia pizza crust? Two proofs. If you’re an experienced baker (or at least watch the Great British Baking Show), you’ll know this means resting the pizza dough. Proofing is when you let bread dough rest after you’ve added yeast so that it rises. The trick to getting a super thick, pillowy crust is resting it twice. This is the same method as in our cast iron skillet pizza.

Of course if you were making true focaccia bread, you’d rest 24 hours to get massive bubbles. But we’re going for a day-of pizza recipe! If you prefer a super bubbly crust, this is not the one.

Focaccia pizza

Otherwise, baking focaccia pizza is easy

So, you have to wait for 2 hours for your pizza dough to rise. But guess what? The rest of the process is much easier than a traditional pizza? Why? You don’t have to bother with shaping a dough, or using a pizza peel or pizza stone, which we do with our traditional method. Just throw it into the sheet pan, and throw that in the oven. Easy as pie! Pizza pie, that is.

One last note: there’s a specific method to baking this sheet pan focaccia pizza:

  • First, bake the crust without toppings for 10 minutes. This is similar to baking up the focaccia bread! It makes it nice and crispy on the edges.
  • Then bake with toppings (another 10 minutes). Pull it out of the oven and add the toppings. Take care since the pan will be hot at this point!
Focaccia pizza

This recipe is equivalent of 3 pizzas in 1!

Another great feature of this focaccia pizza: it’s the equivalent of 3 pizzas in 1! That means you don’t have to make separate pizzas for the family. Just make this one sheet pan, and it’s enough for everyone. You also may want to split up the toppings, so you get a few different topping options. Speaking of that…

Topping ideas for focaccia pizza

There are many ways to top a focaccia pizza! In the recipe below, we shared what we did. We used our amazing Easy Pizza Sauce, which we guarantee you’ll be obsessed with. Then we topped it with smoked mozzarella cheese and fresh mozzarella, which is an irresistible combination. (Try it! Let us know what you think). But if you prefer, go free form or we’ve got some other ideas:

Focaccia pizza recipe

This focaccia pizza recipe is…

Vegetarian. For vegan, top with Vegan Pizza toppings.

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Focaccia pizza

The Best Focaccia Pizza (Fast!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 squares (about 6 servings)
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s how to make focaccia pizza! This recipe makes a deliciously thick crust for all your favorite toppings: ready in just a few hours.


Ingredients

For the focaccia

  • 562 grams (4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant or active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 355 grams (1 1/2 cups) warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

For the pizza

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, for brushing the sheet pan
  • 1 1/4 cups Easy Pizza Sauce
  • 3/4 cup shredded smoked mozzarella
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt, for sprinkling
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, yeast, kosher salt, oregano and garlic powder. Add the warm water and olive oil and stir until flour is incorporated.
  2. Knead the dough: Knead the dough by pushing with the base of your palm, then reforming it into a ball. Continue kneading for 8 minutes until the dough feels pillowy and has a smooth, stretchy exterior. If the dough is very sticky, add a small amount of flour while kneading. Alternatively: attach the dough hook to a stand mixer and start the mixer on medium-low speed, then allow the mixer to knead for 8 minutes.
  3. Rest the dough (45 minutes): Using floured hands, gently shape the dough into a boule (ball shape) by folding the dough under itself. Place it in a covered bowl and allow it to rest for 45 minutes, until doubled in size.
  4. Rest the dough in a sheet pan (15 minutes): Brush 3 tablespoons olive oil on the bottom and sides of a standard 13″x 18″ sheet pan. Add the dough and press it with oiled fingers until it evenly covers the pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and rest for 15 minutes to relax the dough. 
  5. Rest the dough again (1 hour): Press the dough back into the corners of the pan. Dot the entire surface with finger indentations (see the photo above; this helps the thickness to stay even). Brush top of the dough with a bit of olive oil and rest for 1 hour.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 515 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Bake the pizza dough without toppings: After the 1 hour rest, place the sheet pan in the oven and bake the pizza dough for 10 minutes without the sauce and toppings.
  8. Add the toppings and bake again: Remove the dough from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the pizza sauce, smoked mozzarella, fresh mozzarella (torn into pieces), and Parmesan cheese, and top with a few pinches of kosher salt. Take care, since the pan will be hot! Bake an additional 8 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Sprinkle with torn basil. Cut into pieces with a knife (a pizza cutter doesn’t get all the way to the pan edges) and serve immediately. 

Notes

*For vegan, top with Vegan Pizza toppings.

  • Category: Pizza
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Focaccia pizza, Sheet pan pizza

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Classic Stuffed Peppers

This stuffed peppers recipe is a hit every time! The roasted bell peppers are filled to the brim with melty cheese and Italian flavor. Did you know stuffed peppers is a traditional Italian way to use up leftover odds and ends in your kitchen? We can’t take credit for this genius move, but here’s our spin on it. Try our favorite stuffed peppers recipe! The filling is seasoned irresistibly with Italian spices, pizza sauce and melty cheese. Even better: it works for many diets. We’ve got variations for meat eaters, vegetarian, and gluten-free eaters! (Vegan too, if you want to skip the cheese.) Here’s how to make stuffed peppers…the best way we know how. How to make stuffed peppers There are a few main ways to make stuffed peppers: the variations are in the way you cut them, and how you pre-cook them before filling. Here’s what to know about this stuffed peppers recipe: Slice the peppers lengthwise. We’re picky about our peppers. Eating them straight up with the top cut off makes them hard to eat (in our opinion). Cutting them lengthwise makes them easier to eat. Plus, you get 2 halves on your plate: which looks better and […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This stuffed peppers recipe is a hit every time! The roasted bell peppers are filled to the brim with melty cheese and Italian flavor.

Stuffed Peppers

Did you know stuffed peppers is a traditional Italian way to use up leftover odds and ends in your kitchen? We can’t take credit for this genius move, but here’s our spin on it. Try our favorite stuffed peppers recipe! The filling is seasoned irresistibly with Italian spices, pizza sauce and melty cheese. Even better: it works for many diets. We’ve got variations for meat eaters, vegetarian, and gluten-free eaters! (Vegan too, if you want to skip the cheese.) Here’s how to make stuffed peppers…the best way we know how.

How to make stuffed peppers

There are a few main ways to make stuffed peppers: the variations are in the way you cut them, and how you pre-cook them before filling. Here’s what to know about this stuffed peppers recipe:

  • Slice the peppers lengthwise. We’re picky about our peppers. Eating them straight up with the top cut off makes them hard to eat (in our opinion). Cutting them lengthwise makes them easier to eat. Plus, you get 2 halves on your plate: which looks better and like a bigger portion
  • Pre-bake the peppers! Some stuffed pepper recipes call for boiling your peppers before baking. Others don’t pre-cook them and they turn out too crunchy. Our research found that pre-baking the peppers for 30 minutes makes them perfectly tender! Once you stuff them, you’ll need 20 minutes in the hot even to get the cheese nice and melty.
Stuffed peppers recipe

Vegetarian vs ground beef filling

The best stuffed bell peppers filling, in our mind? Our insanely delicious “sausage” made with mushrooms and walnuts. Sound weird? Hear us out. Or, make the ground beef option: or maybe both ways for a family with a variety of eaters!

  • The best filling option? “Sausage” with lots of spices. Here we combined walnuts, mushrooms, and lots of spices to make an Italian-sausage spin on our Walnut Taco Meat. It is extremely delicious and satisfies even the most passionate of meat eaters (really). Or…
  • Or, make it with ground beef. We eat lots of vegetarian recipes around here. But we know: some family members just love meat! You can make this stuffed peppers recipe with ground beef using the same spices: see below!

Can you make it vegan? Yes, but the cheese is pretty integral to the overall concept. So substitute your favorite brand of vegan mozzarella cheese! The rest of the filling is vegan.

How to make stuffed peppers

Filling adders & ideas

You’ll use that vegetarian sausage or ground beef filling and mix it with rice, pizza sauce, and mozzarella cheese to make a gooey, savory and altogether irresistible filling. There are lots of fun add-in ideas for this filling (at least, we have several!). Here are some ideas to get your wheels churning — consider adding:

  • Chopped basil or fresh oregano
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded (a few tablespoons)
  • Feta cheese crumbles
  • Capers, drained (just 1 or 2 tablespoons adds a tasty tangy flavor)
  • Green olives, chopped (again, just 1 or 2 tablespoons)

Variations on stuffed peppers

As you might expect: there’s no one way to make stuffed peppers. It’s an Italian concept, but there are so many different styles. Here are a few ideas:

Stuffed peppers

Tips for make-ahead and meal prep

This stuffed peppers recipe takes about 1 hour to make. We typically reserve this one for special meals: a weekend or dinner party. But want to save time and make it on a weeknight? You can do that too. There are several options depending on what you’d like to do:

  • Make rice in advance: Make sure to reheat it with a splash of water and a pinch of salt before assembling the peppers. It dries out quite a bit in the refrigerator.
  • Make entire filling in advance: You can make the entire filling in advance and refrigerate. Then re-warm before stuffing the peppers.
  • Bake the bell peppers in advance: You also can pre-bake the peppers in advance, then fill and bake them day of.
  • Make the entire stuffed peppers in advance: Make the entire pepper recipe in advance and refrigerate. The day of serving, top with breadcrumbs and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until warmed through and the cheese is melted.

Make it a meal: serving this stuffed peppers recipe!

Lastly: how to accessorize these stuffed peppers? A simple salad is what we normally opt for, which you can mix up while your peppers do their final bake. Here are a few more ideas:

Stuffed peppers recipe

Bell peppers nutrition

Here’s another great thing about stuffed bell peppers…they’re loaded with vitamins, especially Vitamin C. In fact, one serving provides 169% of daily Vitamin C. Bell peppers are:

  • A low calorie food. One medium bell pepper has only 40 calories!
  • Loaded with Vitamin C. A medium red bell pepper provides a whopping 169% of your daily vitamin C! (Source)
  • A potential preventer of anemia. Some studies indicate peppers could prevent low iron (Source).

Let us know if you try this recipe, and what you think! We hope you love it as much as our family does.

This stuffed peppers recipe is…

Vegetarian and dairy free.

Print
Stuffed peppers

Classic Stuffed Peppers


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This stuffed peppers recipe is a hit every time! The roasted bell peppers are filled to the brim with melty cheese and Italian flavor.


Ingredients

For the filling (or use 1 pound ground beef and the spices; see Step 2 below)

  • 1 cup whole walnuts
  • 4 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (or coconut aminos for soy free)
  • 1 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon each fennel seeds, dried oregano, smoked paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

For the stuffed peppers

  • 6 multi-colored bell peppers (red, yellow and green)
  • 3/4 cup dry rice or 2 cups cooked (reheated to warm with a splash of water and a pinch of salt)
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce (purchased or homemade)
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella balls (or cut into bite-sized chunks)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, and/or Italian panko or bread crumbs (omit for gluten-free)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook the rice: Start the rice to cook. (See Make Ahead Tips in the notes below*.)
  3. Pre-bake the bell peppers: Wash the peppers and cut them in half lengthwise; remove the stems and seeds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then place the peppers on top. Bake with the cut side down for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip to cut side up, draining any with water. Sprinkle with salt (about a heaping 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt divided between the peppers). Bake another 15 minutes until tender, then remove and stuff (see below).
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling: Roughly chop the mushrooms. Place them in a large food processor, then add the walnuts and tamari, ketchup, spices, and salt. Pulse gently multiple times until everything is evenly chopped, being careful not to over process (or it will be too mushy). If you don’t have a food processor, use a chef’s knife to roughly chop everything and place in a bowl with the spices. 
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring until it releases all of its liquid then becomes dry and browned. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Ground beef variation: Drizzle olive oil into a skillet. Add the beef with the spices and salt and pepper. Cook for about 8 minutes until browned, then drain the fat. Taste and add additional salt as needed. 
  6. Stuff the peppers: Once the peppers are pre-baked, mix the filling from the previous step with 2 cups cooked rice (measure it), pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, and kosher salt. Spoon the filling into the peppers.
  7. Bake the peppers: Top with a handful of shredded mozzarella, and grated Parmesan and/or panko or breadcrumbs. Place the peppers back onto the parchment lined baking sheet and bake 20 minutes until the cheese melts. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving. 

Notes

*Make ahead tips: You can make the rice in advance, but make sure to reheat it with a splash of water and a pinch of salt before assembling the peppers. You can make the entire filling in advance and re-warm before stuffing the peppers. You also can pre-bake the peppers in advance, then fill and bake them day of. Finally, you can make the entire pepper recipe in advance and refrigerate: then top with breadcrumbs and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until warmed through and the cheese is melted.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired

Keywords: Stuffed peppers, Stuffed peppers recipe, Stuffed bell peppers, How to make stuffed peppers

More bell pepper recipes

More to make with bell peppers? Here are all our favorite ways to serve them as a side dish:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Best-Ever Eggplant Meatballs

This eggplant meatballs recipe is truly amazing! The purple veggie makes a surprisingly juicy texture and a delightful Italian style dinner. Ever tried making meatballs…with eggplant? We’d been hearing for years that eggplant makes great vegetarian meatballs, we just didn’t really believe it…until now. Try this amazing Eggplant Meatballs recipe! Garlic, herbs, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese make one insanely juicy and savory meatball. Roasted eggplant makes them moist and textured, vs dry or mushy like lots of vegetarian balls. Combine it with marinara sauce and it’s out of this world delicious. In fact, we took one bite and yelled “Wow!” (True story.) Ingredients for eggplant meatballs It’s a short ingredient list here! All you’ll need to make eggplant meatballs is the following: Eggplant: you’ll need 2 pounds; 3 medium or 2 large (it’s helpful to weigh out exactly at the store! Garlic Jarred sundried tomatoes Italian panko: Panko are large, fluffy breadcrumbs. You’ll need to locate the Italian version, which has added salt and herbs. See below for more! Grated Parmesan cheese: Make sure it’s the powdery stuff: not shredded, which looks like little sticks! Salt and pepper What’s Italian panko? Is there a substitute? Panko is a flaky bread […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This eggplant meatballs recipe is truly amazing! The purple veggie makes a surprisingly juicy texture and a delightful Italian style dinner.

Eggplant meatballs

Ever tried making meatballs…with eggplant? We’d been hearing for years that eggplant makes great vegetarian meatballs, we just didn’t really believe it…until now. Try this amazing Eggplant Meatballs recipe! Garlic, herbs, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese make one insanely juicy and savory meatball. Roasted eggplant makes them moist and textured, vs dry or mushy like lots of vegetarian balls. Combine it with marinara sauce and it’s out of this world delicious. In fact, we took one bite and yelled “Wow!” (True story.)

Ingredients for eggplant meatballs

It’s a short ingredient list here! All you’ll need to make eggplant meatballs is the following:

  • Eggplant: you’ll need 2 pounds; 3 medium or 2 large (it’s helpful to weigh out exactly at the store!
  • Garlic
  • Jarred sundried tomatoes
  • Italian panko: Panko are large, fluffy breadcrumbs. You’ll need to locate the Italian version, which has added salt and herbs. See below for more!
  • Grated Parmesan cheese: Make sure it’s the powdery stuff: not shredded, which looks like little sticks!
  • Salt and pepper
Eggplant meatballs recipe

What’s Italian panko? Is there a substitute?

Panko is a flaky bread crumb mixture used in Japanese cooking for fried foods. It’s also made its way into international cooking because it’s the perfect breading and frying. Italian panko are made with seasonings and salt. Panko is available in most grocery stores and online. You can also find gluten-free panko or Italian panko online, to make this a gluten free recipe! If you can’t find Italian panko, here’s what to do:

  • Use regular panko and add salt and Italian seasonings. See the recipe below for quantities.
  • Look for coarse breadcrumbs instead, or make them! Some purchased breadcrumbs have very fine texture, which isn’t as ideal (but you can still use them). Italian breadcrumbs have the salt and herbs added, so they are a good substitute. If all you can find is plain, use the salt and herbs from the recipe below as well.
Eggplant meatballs

Roast the eggplant small diced, skin on (here’s why!)

The key to these eggplant meatballs is this. Roast the eggplant chopped very small, then mash it with a potato masher before forming the balls. Here’s why:

  • Roasting with the eggplant skin on makes the very best juicy, meaty texture that’s incredibly satisfying. You’ll have some chunks in the meatballs: but that’s good!
  • Using a food processor or blender or removing the eggplant skin makes a texture that’s gooey rather than meaty: not nearly as delicious. Speaking of…

A few tips on forming eggplant meatballs

These eggplant meatballs have lots of texture to the dough, which can make forming them a little different than say, falafel. Here are a few tips on the forming process:

  • Include the eggplant skin right into the the balls: try to evenly disperse them throughout each meatball.
  • You can also discard a few of the skin pieces if it’s hard to form the balls. But again, the skins and chewy parts are what you need for a meaty, interesting texture: so don’t worry that it’s not a smooth dough!
Eggplant meatballs recipe

You’ll need about 1 hour: or they’re great for make-ahead!

Keep in mind: in total, this eggplant meatballs recipe takes about 1 hour to make. We’re obsessed with fast and easy recipes around here, as you may know. But guess what: this recipe is so good, it’s absolutely worth the 1 hour prep time! Here’s what to know about planning and meal prep to make it fit into your lifestyle:

  • Eggplant meatballs save very well: you can refrigerate or freeze! If you can make them ahead, it makes dinner time a breeze! Store them refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months, stored in a single layer in a freezer safe container.
  • To reheat, simply warm them in a skillet with marinara. That’s it! So easy.
  • Or, make them on a weekend or when time allows. If you have the time, it’s a perfect recipe for a Saturday or Sunday dinner.

Make it a meal: main dish, pasta, and more!

Take one bite of these eggplant meatballs and you’ll be amazed by the amount of flavor going on with these babies. Don’t even think of them as a vegetarian meatball: they’re just DELICIOUS. Now, you don’t need to serve them with pasta: but you can. The only thing that’s required is the marinara sauce (use your favorite jar). Here are a few ways you can eat these eggplant meatballs:

How would you serve them? Let us know in the comments below!

Eggplant meatballs

This eggplant meatballs recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free panko.

Print
Eggplant meatballs

Best-Ever Eggplant Meatballs


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 20 meatballs (4 servings)
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This eggplant meatballs recipe is truly amazing! The purple veggie makes a surprisingly juicy texture and a delightful Italian style dinner.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds eggplant (3 medium or 2 large, about 12 cups diced into 1/2-inch pieces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon jarred sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups Italian panko (use gluten free as needed)*
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not shredded)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For serving, 1 large jar marinara sauce, 8 to 12 ounces spaghetti or bucatini pasta or zucchini noodles

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch chunks by slicing 1/2-inch rings and then cutting the rings into cubes. The size of dice is important for the final texture! (If you weren’t able to weigh the eggplant, measure out 12 cups 1/2-inch diced). 
  3. In a large bowl, quickly mix the eggplant with olive oil and kosher salt (the eggplant soaks up the oil in an instant, so mix as soon as you add it!). Pour the eggplant onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread it into an even layer.
  4. Roast for 25 minutes, then stir and roast 10 minutes more until browned and very tender. Remove and reduce the oven heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  5. Add the warm eggplant to a bowl and mash it with a potato masher until chunky and mostly mashed. Stir in the minced garlic, finely chopped sundried tomatoes, Italian panko and grated Parmesan cheese. Taste and add any salt to taste (we added only 1 pinch; remember that the marinara sauce will also add flavor after baking).
  6. Use your hands to form the dough into 20 balls. You’ll include the eggplant skin right into the the balls: try to evenly disperse them throughout each meatball.  You can also discard a few of the skins if it’s hard to form the balls. But the skins and chewy parts are what you need for a meaty, interesting texture: so don’t worry that it’s not a smooth dough! See the photos above. 
  7. Place the meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until lightly browned on top and very browned on the bottom. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, or longer if desired (the balls will firm up). At this point, you can serve immediately, refrigerate for 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months (in a single layer in a freezer safe container). While the meatballs bake, you can boil the pasta or prep the zucchini noodles. 
  8. To serve, add the marinara sauce to a skillet and add the meatballs in a single layer. Heat for 1 to 2 minutes until warmed. Serve over the noodles, then top with grated Parmesan cheese (and chopped fresh basil, if desired). You can also serve as a vegetarian main dish with a few sides, like broccoli and couscous, rice or quinoa.

Notes

*We recommend Italian panko for the best results. If all you can find is regular panko, use 1 1/4 cups regular panko, mixed with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (or 1 tablespoon dried oregano and 1/2 tablespoon each dried basil and thyme). If you can’t find panko at all, you can substitute coarse breadcrumbs — the texture of store-bought is very fine, so chunkier homemade breadcrumbs are ideal (but you can use either). Italian breadcrumbs work in a pinch; adjust the salt to taste. If you eat gluten-free, you can find gluten-free panko online.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired

Keywords: Eggplant meatballs, eggplant meatballs recipe

More eggplant recipes

Eggplant is one unexpectedly delicious vegetable, when you cook it correctly! Here are some more eggplant recipes to try:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Vegetarian Lasagna with Ricotta

This vegetarian lasagna recipe is a total crowd pleaser! The easy spinach and ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy. When it comes to lasagna recipes…well, this one is tops. Meet our best vegetarian lasagna with ricotta, aka vegetarian lasagne! We’ve been honing meatless lasagna recipes for years. This one is the culmination of all of our research: and damn, is it good (if we may say so ourselves). The tomato sauce has just the right zing and garlic nuance, and the spinach ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy. It’s scented with fresh thyme and a little lemon zest, which takes it to over the top status. There’s no one who will turn down a piece! At least, who we’ve met. Here are all our secrets. Ingredients in vegetarian lasagna Did I mention that we love easy recipes: or at least, recipes that are pretty simple to put together? The spinach ricotta filling in this vegetarian lasagna recipe is elegantly simple, with no need to chop a long list of ingredients. We’ve also got lots of time saving ideas for those evenings where you don’t have time to make your own marinara. Here’s what you need for this vegetarian […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This vegetarian lasagna recipe is a total crowd pleaser! The easy spinach and ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy.

Vegetarian lasagna

When it comes to lasagna recipes…well, this one is tops. Meet our best vegetarian lasagna with ricotta, aka vegetarian lasagne! We’ve been honing meatless lasagna recipes for years. This one is the culmination of all of our research: and damn, is it good (if we may say so ourselves). The tomato sauce has just the right zing and garlic nuance, and the spinach ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy. It’s scented with fresh thyme and a little lemon zest, which takes it to over the top status. There’s no one who will turn down a piece! At least, who we’ve met. Here are all our secrets.

Ingredients in vegetarian lasagna

Did I mention that we love easy recipes: or at least, recipes that are pretty simple to put together? The spinach ricotta filling in this vegetarian lasagna recipe is elegantly simple, with no need to chop a long list of ingredients. We’ve also got lots of time saving ideas for those evenings where you don’t have time to make your own marinara. Here’s what you need for this vegetarian lasagna:

  • Tomato sauce: homemade or purchased (see section below)
  • Lasagna noodles (dried or fresh)
  • Baby spinach (or frozen)
  • Ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh thyme
  • Lemon zest
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
Vegetarian lasagna recipe

Make homemade tomato sauce, or find your favorite brand

This vegetarian lasagna recipe features our favorite homemade tomato sauce for lasagna: made with garlic, tomatoes and our secret ingredient: dried tarragon. Here are a few notes about each type of sauce:

  • Make the homemade sauce for great flavor. When you have time, a homemade tomato sauce is where it’s at! This sauce is full of big flavor and takes only a few minutes of hands on time: it can simmer while you prep the other ingredients. Dried tarragon adds big Italian flavor: but if you can’t find it, you can use oregano as a substitute.
  • Or, go easy with purchased marinara! There are lots of nights where we want a shortcut. These days there are many high quality marinara brands on the market: look for organic if you can! Grab enough for 4 cups of sauce.
Easy marinara sauce

Substitute frozen spinach for fresh

Here’s another way you can customize this vegetarian lasagne recipe to your tastes: you can use fresh or frozen spinach! Here are the benefits of both:

  • Fresh spinach is tasty and often on hand. We often have a big box of baby greens in our refrigerator, so we love using fresh spinach here. It takes just a few minutes to wilt down on the stovetop.
  • Frozen spinach offers maximum flexibility! Frozen spinach is easy to stock in your freezer for whenever you have a lasagna craving (or spinach artichoke dip!). Make sure defrost and squeeze out all the water before you use it.

The best vegetarian lasagna recipe with ricotta cheese

Why make a vegetarian lasagna recipe with ricotta? Ricotta cheese is a creamy Italian cheese with a mild flavor. It’s most famously used in lasagna recipes to make that beautifully creamy, cheesy layer. We love it in this lasagna with ricotta because it has the best classic flavor.

  • What are other ways to use ricotta? Smear it on toast, swirl it into pasta, dollop it into scrambled eggs or even spread it onto a pizza. Want ideas? Go to these Genius Ricotta Recipes.
  • What are some substitutes for ricotta in lasagna? Don’t have ricotta, or don’t want to use it? You can also use the same amount of cottage cheese (if you can, food process it first) or creme fraiche as a substitute for ricotta in lasagna.
Lasagna recipe with ricotta cheese

Other filling variations!

Want to change up this lasagna recipe with ricotta? Here are some additional filling ideas that would go well with spinach and ricotta:

  • Spinach mushroom lasagna: Make the spinach and mushroom filling from Vegan Lasagna and substitute it for the spinach (with or without the cashews).
  • Kale lasagna: Make the spicy kale filling instead of spinach from Spicy Kale Lasagna.
  • Chard lasagna: Chop 2 bunches rainbow chard and wilt it down following the instructions in the recipe.

Make ahead and storage info

How to store vegetarian lasagna? Can you make it ahead? Here are a few pointers for this recipe:

  • Make ahead ideas: As noted above, you can use purchased marinara to make this recipe a little quicker. You can also cook the spinach in advance (or use frozen spinach). Mix up the cheese filling and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  • Or make ahead the entire pan: Make the vegetarian lasagna prior to baking, then refrigerate overnight. Increase the bake time as needed to cook until it’s warmed through and the cheese has melted.
  • Storage info: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days. Or freeze them: it’s easiest to cut it into single servings and freeze each in separate containers. To reheat, defrost the vegetarian lasagna the refrigerator, then place in a baking dish, cover with foil and reheat at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until warmed through.
Lasagna with ricotta

Sides to serve with vegetarian lasagna

The great thing about a vegetarian lasagna recipe? You can use the long bake time to prep some tasty side dishes! Here are a few sides that pair well with lasagna:

This vegetarian lasagna recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free lasagna noodles.

Print
Vegetarian lasagna

Vegetarian Lasagna with Ricotta


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 9
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This vegetarian lasagna recipe is a total crowd pleaser! The easy spinach and ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy.


Ingredients

For the tomato sauce (or substitute 4 cups of your favorite marinara sauce)

  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, fire roasted if possible
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce, fire roasted if possible
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (or oregano)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)

For the lasagna

  • 10 to 12 lasagna noodles (8 ounces, gluten-free as necessary)*
  • 5 ounces baby spinach** (or 8 cups chopped spinach)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 16 ounce (2 cups) ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Boil the noodles*: Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the noodles until just before al dente, according to the package instructions, stirring often. Drain the noodles, then drizzle a baking sheet with a bit of olive oil. Lay the noodles flat onto the sheet, then turn them over so they become coated with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Prepare the tomato sauce (or skip with purchased marinara): Mince the garlic. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring frequently. Once the garlic is fragrant after about 1 or 2 minutes, turn down the heat and carefully add the tomatoes (avoid any momentary spitting), tomato sauce, basil, tarragon or oregano, kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Remove 1/4 cup of the sauce and stir it with the cornstarch, then add it back to the pan (this helps to thicken the sauce). Simmer on low heat while making the remainder of the recipe, at least 15 minutes. When ready to use, remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Wilt the spinach: In a large skillet, mound the greens and 1/4 cup water in the skillet and cook, stirring often, until completely wilted and reduced, about 3 minutes (the greens significantly reduce when cooking; if necessary, sauté in batches.) Sprinkle with 2 pinches of kosher salt and stir, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Once cooled, use your hands to squeeze out all excess liquid and discard. Roughly chop the spinach.
  5. Prepare the cheese filling: Destem the thyme, then roughly chop the leaves. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme to a medium bowl and reserve about 1/2 tablespoon for topping the lasagna. To the bowl, add the lemon zest, nutmeg, ricotta cheese, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine.
  6. Layer the lasagna: In a 9” x 13” baking dish, spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then top with 1 layer of noodles, half of the cheese mixture (in dollops then spread it out), half of the greens, and about 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Repeat again: 1 layer of noodles (you may need to cut a noodle in half for the side, depending on your pan), the remaining cheese mixture, the remaining greens, and 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Finally, top with noodles (again, you may need to cut a noodle in half for the top layer), then the remaining 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the entire top with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 tablespoon thyme.
  7. Bake the lasagna: Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving (this allows the lasagna to set). Leftovers can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days and reheated in a 375°F oven.

Notes

*If you use fresh lasagna noodles, they don’t need to be boiled. 

**You can also substitute 3/4 cup frozen spinach. Defrost it and squeeze of excess liquid: you can skip the cooking step. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired

Keywords: Vegetarian lasagna, vegetarian lasagna recipe, vegetarian lasagne recipe, lasagna recipe ricotta, lasagna recipe with ricotta cheese, lasagna with ricotta, lasagna with ricotta cheese

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Spanish Paella Recipe

Here’s how to make a paella recipe…the Spanish way! This stunning one pan dinner features shrimp, vegetables and all the authentic flavors of this traditional dish. Here’s a stunning one pan dinner that’s made for celebrations: paella! This traditional Spanish rice dish has thousands of variations. but it’s always rice with an explosion of colorful toppings. This one is our best classic paella recipe, based on our travels through Spain! We’ve perfected the skills so you can try it at home. It stars saffron-scented rice, mixed colorful vegetables and shrimp, and it’s full of traditional flavor. Here’s everything you need to know to make paella at home! What paella types are there? Paella is a traditional Spanish dish with saffron-flavored rice topped with seafood, meat and/or vegetables and served in a shallow paella pan. There are varying sizes of paella pans: small pans for two people, and massive paella pans for a crowd. (Fun fact: the world’s largest paella was made in a pan big enough for 30,000 people!) What types of paella are there? Spaniards themselves differ on what is the most classic, authentic paella recipe. Alex and I have eaten paella in Valencia, Barcelona, and Madrid, and all […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make a paella recipe…the Spanish way! This stunning one pan dinner features shrimp, vegetables and all the authentic flavors of this traditional dish.

Paella Recipe

Here’s a stunning one pan dinner that’s made for celebrations: paella! This traditional Spanish rice dish has thousands of variations. but it’s always rice with an explosion of colorful toppings. This one is our best classic paella recipe, based on our travels through Spain! We’ve perfected the skills so you can try it at home. It stars saffron-scented rice, mixed colorful vegetables and shrimp, and it’s full of traditional flavor. Here’s everything you need to know to make paella at home!

What paella types are there?

Paella is a traditional Spanish dish with saffron-flavored rice topped with seafood, meat and/or vegetables and served in a shallow paella pan. There are varying sizes of paella pans: small pans for two people, and massive paella pans for a crowd. (Fun fact: the world’s largest paella was made in a pan big enough for 30,000 people!)

What types of paella are there? Spaniards themselves differ on what is the most classic, authentic paella recipe. Alex and I have eaten paella in Valencia, Barcelona, and Madrid, and all of them have been vastly different. There are four main types of paella:

  • Paella de mariscos: Seafood paella with shrimp, prawns, scallops or mussels
  • Paella mixta: A mixed paella with seafood, meat and vegetables
  • Valenican-style paella (paella Valenciana): Chicken, rabbit, garrofó (a variety of lima bean), saffron, and rosemary
  • Paella de verduras: vegetarian paella with vegetables only
Spanish paella recipe

Ingredients in this paella recipe

For our best paella recipe, we used the common elements in the paella recipes we’ve had in different regions in Spain. Here’s what’s featured in this paella:

  • Traditional paella pan: you can also use a skillet (see below)
  • Bomba rice: you can also use arborio
  • Tomato, onion and garlic to make a quick “sofrito”
  • Saffron and pimentón aka smoked paprika
  • Mixed vegetables like artichokes, red pepper and peas
  • Seafood: you can also make vegetarian paella (see below)
  • Lemon wedges: garnishing with lemon is the perfect bright finish
Best paella recipe

What is the best paella pan? Do you need to use one?

A paella pan is a large round, shallow pan with handles used for cooking paella. The shallow shape lets rice cook consistently and lets it dry out more than it can in a skillet. If you have a paella pan or want one, now’s the time to use it! This recipe is for a 15-inch paella pan that serves 4 people. If you’re looking for one, here’s a link to purchase a 4-person paella pan.

Don’t have a paella pan? Don’t worry! Make this paella in your largest skillet. The larger the better! You may need to adjust the cook time slightly if you are using a skillet.

Paella pan care instructions: Paella pans are made of carbon steel and can rust. Make sure to dry the pan completely after cleaning it, and rub it with a bit of vegetable oil to prevent rusting.

Paella rice

What’s the best rice to use in paella?

The most authentic paella rice type is called bomba rice. Bomba rice is a white short grain rice. You can also use Arborio rice, which is easier to find but can result in a gummier texture than bomba. Either work! For this recipe we tried bomba and felt like it had more consistent results. You can find bomba rice online. Order it: Bomba rice

The secret spices: saffron and pimentón

This is an authentic style paella recipe, so it uses two special spices to get that traditional flavor. Here’s what to know:

  • Saffron brings an earthy flavor and a beautiful color to the dish. It’s an expensive spice, but it’s worth the splurge. What can you substitute for saffron? If you can’t find it or don’t want to splurge, use 1/2 teaspoon turmeric.
  • Smoked paprika: Called pimentón or Spanish smoked paprika, this bright red spice gives the dish more color and a smoky undertone. It’s easy to find and you’ll find it in many of our recipes here. (Here are our 20 best smoked paprika recipes.)
Easy paella recipe

Do not stir this paella recipe!

Once all the ingredients are added to the pan in paella, here’s what to do…or really, what not to do. Don’t stir it! Please repeat: no stirring allowed. The broth and spices boil through the rice, leaving everything perfectly flavored and cooked.

Traditionally, it’s good to get a brown crust on the bottom of the rice (perfectly brown, without burning it). The Spanish call this socarrat. It’s difficult to achieve the perfect socarrat because so much depends on the exact timing. It’s also a little harder to get it if you’re using a skillet. But never fear! Each time you cook this recipe, you’ll learn new things about perfecting your paella technique.

Paella variations

Variation: vegan and vegetarian paella

Don’t want to make a shrimp paella recipe? No problem. We love making vegan and vegetarian paella as well. (Or go to this Simple Vegetarian Paella.) Here’s what to do to customize this recipe:

  • Omit the shrimp! Obviously.
  • Add 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (1 1/2 cups cooked). Drain and rinse them, then add them when you add the vegetable broth.
  • Increase the salt by 1/4 teaspoon. You’ll need it to flavor the chickpeas.

This paella recipe is…

Gluten-free, pescatarian, and dairy-free. For vegetarian, plant-based, and dairy-free, see the section above.

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Paella Recipe

Spanish Paella Recipe


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Here’s how to make a paella recipe…the Spanish way! This stunning one pan dinner features shrimp, vegetables and all the authentic flavors of this traditional dish.


Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 to 3 roma or plum tomatoes (1 1/2 cups finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peel and deveined*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 large pinch saffron
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3 cups seafood stock or vegetable stock 
  • 1 1/2 cups short grain Bomba rice or arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed under water
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, quartered
  • Lemon wedges from 1/2 lemon
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Prep the vegetables: Mince the onion. Mince the garlic. Finely chop the tomatoes, removing the cores but keeping the seeds with their juices.
  2. Measure out the ingredients: Measure out all the remaining ingredients before you start. The cooking process goes fast!
  3. Cook the shrimp: Dry the shrimp and add it to a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. In your largest skillet or a 4-serving paella pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp and saute until it is just barely opaque, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp and set it aside.
  4. Cook the paella: In the same pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until just translucent, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped tomatoes, the remaining 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and red pepper flakes, and cook until the tomatoes have broken down and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock, saffron and 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Sprinkle the rice evenly across the broth and tap the pan with a spoon to evenly spread the rice. Bring to a medium simmer and cook without stirring until liquid is absorbed, about 18 to 22 minutes (adjust the cook time as necessary if using a skillet).
  5. Adjust the heat as necessary: If your pan is large enough to span multiple burners on your stovetop, adjust the heat on each burner so you achieve a steady medium simmer. Rotate the pan every few minutes for an even cook.
  6. Add the artichokes and peas: When the top of the rice is beginning to show through the liquid (about 10 minutes into the cook time), press the artichokes and peas lightly into the rice.
  7. Assess whether the paella is done: In last few minutes, carefully watch the paella and rotate pan more frequently. As the paella finishes, you’ll see the steam start to slow down as the water cooks out. If desired, peek at the bottom of a pan by using a knife to scrape back the rice — you shouldn’t see any standing water. The sound will start to change from a simmer to a crackle. This indicates the crust is forming. Let the crackling continue for about 2 minutes before removing from the heat. If you smell any burning, remove immediately.
  8. Add the shrimp and serve: When the paella is done, add the shrimp to top of paella and squeeze the lemon wedges onto the top of the pan. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of kosher salt and add the parsley, if using. Serve with additional lemon wedges.

Notes

*Vegetarian and vegan variation: Remove the shrimp. Add 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups cooked) when you add the veggie broth. Increase the salt by 1/4 teaspoon.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Spanish

Keywords: Paella Recipe, Paella

More paella recipes

Love paella? Here are a few more options to try:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Ultimate Spinach Pizza

Get your greens and pizza fix all at once with this spinach pizza! Ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese make for a creamy pie everyone will love. Want to get your greens and eat your pizza too? Try this Spinach Pizza! It’s got the power to change the minds of spinach haters everywhere. Yes, this pizza is all about garlicky, savory flavor! Any bitterness in the spinach melts away into the three cheeses. Ricotta makes for a creamy base, and mozzarella and Parmesan add stretchy texture and savory flavor. Top it off with herby spinach and a few colorful vegetables, and it’s a crowd-pleaser that everyone will love (especially with Italian salad). Even spinach haters! The secret to this spinach pizza? Frozen spinach. This spinach pizza has a little secret. It uses frozen spinach! Now, why is that important? It’s not just for the convenience factor (though that’s a thing). Frozen spinach has a satisfying texture: think spinach artichoke dip! Fresh spinach and frozen spinach are almost like two separate ingredients. Frozen spinach is blanched before it’s packaged, meaning it’s cooked quickly before freezing. This gives it a super satisfying texture when topped on a pizza: lightly crunchy and almost fluffy, […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Get your greens and pizza fix all at once with this spinach pizza! Ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese make for a creamy pie everyone will love.

Spinach pizza

Want to get your greens and eat your pizza too? Try this Spinach Pizza! It’s got the power to change the minds of spinach haters everywhere. Yes, this pizza is all about garlicky, savory flavor! Any bitterness in the spinach melts away into the three cheeses. Ricotta makes for a creamy base, and mozzarella and Parmesan add stretchy texture and savory flavor. Top it off with herby spinach and a few colorful vegetables, and it’s a crowd-pleaser that everyone will love (especially with Italian salad). Even spinach haters!

The secret to this spinach pizza? Frozen spinach.

This spinach pizza has a little secret. It uses frozen spinach! Now, why is that important? It’s not just for the convenience factor (though that’s a thing).

  • Frozen spinach has a satisfying texture: think spinach artichoke dip! Fresh spinach and frozen spinach are almost like two separate ingredients. Frozen spinach is blanched before it’s packaged, meaning it’s cooked quickly before freezing. This gives it a super satisfying texture when topped on a pizza: lightly crunchy and almost fluffy, whereas cooked spinach can get a little slimy. It reminds us of spinach artichoke dip!
  • It’s easy to use frozen spinach: no cooking necessary. Yes, the convenience factor is a thing too! Frozen spinach just needs a rinse under warm water to thaw it. No cooking required!
Spinach pizza

How to make spinach pizza (basic steps)

This spinach pizza is a white pizza, meaning it has a white sauce (or olive oil) that covers the dough. The most technique-driven part of making a pizza is the pizza crust, which we’ll walk through down below. Here are the basic steps (or go right to the recipe):

  • Make the pizza dough. See below for more on how to do it. Or, you can also do a “cheater” pizza by using this as a topping for Naan Pizza or Flatbread Pizza!
  • Thaw and season the spinach. All it needs is a quick rinse under warm water. Here’s the important part: squeeze out as much water as possible over a strainer! This brings the spinach to a dry, almost crumbly texture. This is what you want!
  • Season the ricotta. Mix it with some salt, pepper and minced garlic.
  • Top with mozzarella and Parmesan, then the spinach and veggies. That’s it!

A few more white pizza recipes? Try our Ricotta Pizza or White Pizza (Pizza Bianca).

Homemade pizza dough & alternative options!

Homemade pizza dough is absolutely worth the effort: and once you practice a few times, it will become second nature! There are also several alternative options that are easier and quicker. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Pizza dough: master recipe! This Best Pizza Dough is our tried and true crust: it comes out with the absolute perfect texture. Stretching the dough takes a bit of practice, but it’s not hard. Head to How to Stretch Pizza Dough.
  • Thin crust. Try this Thin Crust Pizza Dough: it’s easy to roll out into a thinner, crispier crust.
  • Naan or flatbread pizza. To make a quick and easy pizza, try our Naan Pizza or Flatbread Pizza.
  • Pan pizza. You can even make this into a pan pizza in a cast iron skillet! It takes a little longer, but it’s easier because you don’t have to stretch the dough.
How to make spinach pizza
How to make

Equipment you need (for the master recipe)

If you make our master pizza dough recipe or the thin crust pizza, you’ll need a few tools for your spinach pizza. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Pizza stone: You can bake pizza on a baking sheet, but it’s infinitely better on a pizza stone! A pizza stone is what makes Italian pizza crust crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Here’s the best pizza stone we’ve found, plus care tips.
  • Pizza peel: When you use a pizza stone, it’s easiest to use a pizza peel to transfer the pizza onto the hot pizza stone in the oven. We recommend this Standard pizza peel or this Conveyor pizza peel.

Variation: make it into Spinach Artichoke Pizza!

Do you love spinach artichoke dip? (We do!) You can easily make this spinach pizza into a Spinach Artichoke Pizza! Here’s what to do:

  • Remove the red onion and red pepper.
  • Top it with a handful of chopped artichokes from a can or jar of artichoke hearts.
  • Or make this Spinach Artichoke Pizza, a slightly different variation!
Spinach pizza

Other topping ideas

There are lots of other fun topping ideas for this spinach pizza! Here are a few ingredients we’d try:

  • Tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Feta cheese crumbles
  • Bell peppers, multi-colored
  • Caramelized onions
  • Prosciutto

This spinach pizza is…

Vegetarian.

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Spinach pizza

Ultimate Spinach Pizza


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 slices
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Get your greens and pizza fix all at once with this spinach pizza! Ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese make for a creamy pie everyone will love.


Ingredients

  • 1 ball Best Pizza Dough (or Thin Crust Dough)
  • 8 ounces frozen spinach
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 handful sliced red onion
  • 1/2 jarred roasted red pepper (or fresh red bell pepper), diced
  • 1/2 small garlic clove (1/4 teaspoon minced)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Make the pizza dough: Follow the Best Pizza Dough or Thin Crust Dough recipe to prepare the dough. (This takes about 15 minutes to make and 45 minutes to rest.)
  2. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500°F. OR preheat your pizza oven (here’s the pizza oven we use).
  3. Prepare the spinach: Run the spinach under warm water in a strainer, then squeeze out as much water as possible so that it has a dry, crumbly texture. Mix it in a bowl with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, the garlic powder and the oregano.
  4. Prepare the other toppings: Mince the garlic. In a small bowl, mix the ricotta with the kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and minced garlic. Thinly slice the red onion, and dice the roasted red pepper.
  5. Bake the pizza: When the oven is ready, dust a pizza peel with cornmeal or semolina flour. (If you don’t have a pizza peel, you can use a rimless baking sheet or the back of a rimmed baking sheet. But a pizza peel is well worth the investment!) Stretch the dough into a circle; see How to Stretch Pizza Dough for instructions. Then gently place the dough onto the pizza peel.
  6. Spread the seasoned ricotta onto the dough. Top with the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, spinach, red onion, and red pepper.
  7. Use the pizza peel to carefully transfer the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone. Bake the pizza until the cheese and crust are nicely browned, about 5 to 7 minutes in the oven (or 1 minute in a pizza oven). Slice into pieces and serve immediately.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Spinach pizza

More favorite pizza recipes

It’s pizza party time! Here are a few more topping ideas to try:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Perfect Pan Pizza

Here’s how to make the incredible pan pizza at home! It’s got thick pillowy crust and tastes like your favorite pizzeria…but even better. Eh ’em. Calling all lovers of thick, pillowy pizza crust! This epic homemade pan pizza tastes just like the thick crust pizza from your favorite pizzeria. The smell wafting from the oven is enough to make you visibly drool (we did!). Cooking in a cast iron skillet makes the crust crispy on the outside and soft on the inside: and the cheese goes all the way to the edges. These supreme-style toppings with gooey cheese and garlicky tomato sauce…well, it’s true perfection. Side benefit: it’s easy to make, too. Here’s how to make the best pan pizza! How to make pan pizza: an overview Alex and I have spent years honing the art of Neapolitan-style artisan pizza and the perfect Margherita. But we’d never mastered American-style pan pizza: until now! While this style takes a little longer to make, it’s actually easier! You don’t have to shape the dough or worry about transferring it to a pizza stone. Throw it in a cast-iron skillet and let the oven do the magic! Here’s a basic outline of what […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make the incredible pan pizza at home! It’s got thick pillowy crust and tastes like your favorite pizzeria…but even better.

Pan pizza

Eh ’em. Calling all lovers of thick, pillowy pizza crust! This epic homemade pan pizza tastes just like the thick crust pizza from your favorite pizzeria. The smell wafting from the oven is enough to make you visibly drool (we did!). Cooking in a cast iron skillet makes the crust crispy on the outside and soft on the inside: and the cheese goes all the way to the edges. These supreme-style toppings with gooey cheese and garlicky tomato sauce…well, it’s true perfection. Side benefit: it’s easy to make, too. Here’s how to make the best pan pizza!

How to make pan pizza: an overview

Alex and I have spent years honing the art of Neapolitan-style artisan pizza and the perfect Margherita. But we’d never mastered American-style pan pizza: until now! While this style takes a little longer to make, it’s actually easier! You don’t have to shape the dough or worry about transferring it to a pizza stone. Throw it in a cast-iron skillet and let the oven do the magic! Here’s a basic outline of what you’re getting yourself into with skillet pan pizza:

Make the dough15 minutes active
Proof dough in skillet45 minutes to 1 hour, inactive
Proof dough again (and prep toppings)45 minutes, inactive (use time to prep toppings)
Top and bake pizza15 minutes, inactive
How to make pan pizza

You’ll need a 10″ cast iron skillet

The only equipment you’ll need to make pan pizza is a cast iron skillet! You’ll need a 10-inch skillet for this recipe, because the dough size is designed especially to fit this pan.

The trick to extra thick crust: two proofs!

If you’ve baked bread before, you’ll know the term “proof”. Proofing is when you let bread dough rest after you’ve added yeast, so that it rises. The trick to getting the extra thick crust in this recipe is proofing the dough twice. The downside is that you’ll need to wait for 45 minutes not once but twice. The up-side is that you’ll get super thick, pillowy crust.

Another pro to making a skillet pan pizza: you don’t have to worry about shaping the dough! No throwing pizza dough in the air, or getting frustrated when it tears. Just proof it in the skillet, then press it out into the dough. It’s so simple!

Dough in cast iron skillet

This pizza sauce is a must

When you think about toppings for pan pizza, you can use anything you like. Just make sure to make our Best Pizza Sauce! It is full of incredible flavor and makes any pizza taste like you just stepped into a pizzeria. Even better, it takes just 5 minutes to make. Please. We beg of you. Make this sauce! Go to Best Pizza Sauce for the recipe.

Top your pan pizza with these epic supreme toppings!

OK, so here’s the deal. You can top this pan pizza with cheese and pepperoni if you’d like. But might we suggest topping with these epic supreme toppings? Typically we encourage creativity (and we do!). But you’ve got to try these toppings at least once. They make your house smell like you just stepped into a pizzeria. And they taste, well…epic. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese (lots of it!)
  • Mushroom sauteed with fennel seed = tastes like sausage!
  • Bell peppers
  • Red onion
  • Dried oregano
Best skillet pan pizza

Pan pizza baking technique: stovetop then oven!

One last note about the technique for a pan pizza. The first thing you’ll do once you’ve topped your pizza is not put it in the oven. Nope, you’ll put it on a stovetop burner first and cook for 2 minutes. This makes sure that the bottom heats up just enough before it gets into the oven, making for the perfect crispy crust bottom. Trust us on this one!

Keep in mind: you can only make one (unless you have 2 skillets!)

This pan pizza recipe is made right in the cast iron skillet: you’ll rise the dough there for 1.5 hours, then press it in. Because of that, you can only make one pizza at once. Unless of course, you have two 10-inch cast iron skillets! (If so, can we be friends?)

That might not sound like enough. But guess what? The crust of a pan pizza is very thick, making it much more filling than a thin crust pizza. Typically Alex and I have at least 2 pizzas for our family (2 adults plus 3 year old), but with a pan pizza we can get by with one. Just make sure to accessorize with a salad or side. Speaking of…

Pan pizza

Ways to serve this pan pizza

Because you can only make one pan pizza at once, it’s an excuse to get creative on side dishes! It’s easy for Alex and me to load up on pizza, so we like the added challenge with this pan pizza. Here’s what we like to serve with it:

  • Favorite Chopped Salad This chopped salad will amaze everyone around the table! Homemade Italian dressing, crisp veggies and Parmesan cheese combine into one extraordinary salad.
  • Easy Arugula Salad The simplest salad you’ll ever make! This easy arugula salad is fool-proof: you don’t even need to make dressing. It comes together in minutes!
  • Spinach Apple Salad So easy and SO good, it will be your new go-to! No one will believe it took minutes to put together.
  • Simple Citrus Salad This refreshingly simple citrus salad features grapefruit and oranges topped with a tangy vinaigrette and fresh mint.
Best pan pizza

This perfect pan pizza recipe is…

Vegetarian.

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Pan pizza

Perfect Pan Pizza


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 4.63 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 slices
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Here’s how to make the incredible pan pizza at home! It’s got thick pillowy crust and tastes like your favorite pizzeria…but even better.


Ingredients

For the pan pizza dough

  • 188 grams (1 1/2 cups) Tipo 00 or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 118 grams (1/2 cup) warm water
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

For the topping

  • 4 baby bella mushrooms or one portabella mushroom
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 bell pepper (or 1/4 green and 1/4 red)
  • 1 handful thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup Easy Pizza Sauce
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Dried oregano

Instructions

  1. Make the dough (15 minutes): Combine the flour, yeast, salt, oregano and garlic powder in a bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir to combine. Add the water and olive oil and stir until a raggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.
  2. Knead the dough by pushing with the base of your palm, then reforming it into a ball. Continue kneading for 8 minutes until the dough feels pillowy and has a smooth, stretchy exterior. If the dough is very sticky, add a small amount of flour while kneading. Alternatively: attach the dough hook to a stand mixer and start the mixer on medium-low speed, then allow the mixer to knead for 8 minutes.
  3. Proof the dough (45 minutes to 1 hour): Generously the oil bottom and sides of a 10” cast iron skillet with olive oil. When the kneading is finished, use floured hands to gently shape the dough into a boule (ball shape) by folding the dough under itself. Set the dough in the center of the skillet and dab the dough with a bit of olive oil to keep it moist. Cover with a damp towel and allow them to rise until doubled in size and spread out, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Press and proof again (45 minutes): Remove the towel and drizzle with a tad of olive oil. Use your fingers to press the dough out into a circle to the edges of the pan. Cover and rest for 45 minutes.
  5. Preheat: When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 475F.
  6. Prep the toppings: Slice the baby bella mushrooms. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Saute the mushrooms and fennel seeds for about 3 to 5 minutes, until they become golden brown and start to release moisture. Add 2 pinches of kosher salt and cook another minute, then remove from the heat.
  7. Finely dice the green pepper. Thinly slice the red pepper. Thinly slice the red onion.
  8. Top and bake the pizza (20 minutes): When the dough is ready, spread the pizza sauce over the dough using the back of a spoon to create a thin layer all the way to the edges of the dough. Add the mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Top with the mushrooms, peppers, and red onion. Sprinkle with dried oregano and a few pinches of kosher salt. Top with another light sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.
  9. Place the skillet on a stovetop burner on high heat for two minutes. Then transfer to the oven and bake 13 to 17 minutes until the cheese is browned. Run a butter knife around the edge of the pan so that the cheese doesn’t stick, then cool it to cool slightly. After a minute or so, remove the pizza to a cutting board and slice it into pieces. Serve immediately.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian American

Keywords: Pan Pizza, Easy Pan Pizza

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Vegan Enchiladas

These vegan enchiladas are over the top delicious! Stuffed with black beans and guacamole, they’re doused in a zesty homemade red enchilada sauce. WOW is all we can say about this vegan enchiladas recipe! It tops the charts (with our vegan lasagna and shepherd’s pie) as one of our most crowd-pleasing plant based recipes…ever. Tortillas are wrapped around a veggie filling oozing with flavor, and it’s all doused in a zesty homemade enchilada sauce. With the crunchy veggie topping, this dish looks simply incredible. And it tastes even better than it looks! Alex and my goal was a whole food plant based (WFPB) enchiladas recipe with no cheese substitutes or need for vegan cheese. With a few tasty tricks, it turned out even better than expected! Here’s how to make it. What’s in the best vegan enchiladas? Don’t let these vegan enchiladas fool you: they’ll satisfy people of all diets! They’re packed with zingy flavor and full of nutrients. Even better, there’s a lazy version and a version for when you have lots of time. Here’s what’s in these enchiladas (can you see it peeking out?): Veggie filling: The tasty filling features black beans, red onion, bell pepper, and portobello […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

These vegan enchiladas are over the top delicious! Stuffed with black beans and guacamole, they’re doused in a zesty homemade red enchilada sauce.

Vegan enchiladas

WOW is all we can say about this vegan enchiladas recipe! It tops the charts (with our vegan lasagna and shepherd’s pie) as one of our most crowd-pleasing plant based recipesever. Tortillas are wrapped around a veggie filling oozing with flavor, and it’s all doused in a zesty homemade enchilada sauce. With the crunchy veggie topping, this dish looks simply incredible. And it tastes even better than it looks! Alex and my goal was a whole food plant based (WFPB) enchiladas recipe with no cheese substitutes or need for vegan cheese. With a few tasty tricks, it turned out even better than expected! Here’s how to make it.

Vegan enchiladas

What’s in the best vegan enchiladas?

Don’t let these vegan enchiladas fool you: they’ll satisfy people of all diets! They’re packed with zingy flavor and full of nutrients. Even better, there’s a lazy version and a version for when you have lots of time. Here’s what’s in these enchiladas (can you see it peeking out?):

  • Veggie filling: The tasty filling features black beans, red onion, bell pepper, and portobello mushrooms sauteed with spices
  • Guacamole! This is the secret ingredient! Instead of cheese, guacamole is what brings the savory, creamy flavor to the inside of these enchiladas.
  • Red enchilada sauce: Use your very favorite red enchilada sauce here, or the best one is homemade (see below).
  • Tortillas: Flour or corn tortillas work. See our comparison below!
  • Veggie garnish: Since there’s no cheese on top, we went for a fresh Mexican-style veggie garnish with romaine lettuce, red onion, radish, and cilantro. It makes the entire dish look stunning!
Homemade enchilada sauce recipe

Homemade enchilada sauce makes the dish!

If you have time, it’s absolutely worth making our Homemade Enchilada Sauce. Turns out, it takes just a handful of ingredients to get huge flavor. This full-bodied sauce is zingy, zesty, and you’ll never want to stop eating it. Here are a few notes on incorporating this sauce into these vegan enchiladas:

  • It’s cheaper to make homemade. This recipe calls for 3 cups enchilada sauce. Alex and I priced out our favorite brand and it would be $12 to make this recipe! The homemade version weighs in at around $5.
  • Make it the day before for quick assembly. It takes about 30 minutes to make the enchilada sauce. We recommend making it the day before and refrigerating until serving. Or, you can…
  • It adds about 15 minutes to the prep time (and a dirty pan & blender). If you make it the day of, it will add about 15 minutes to the recipe, since you can simmer it while you make the enchilada filling. Just know you’ll have a little more to clean up, too!
How to make vegan enchiladas

How to assemble these vegan enchiladas

Assembling these vegan enchiladas is the hardest part. How to make sure you have the right amount of filling so it doesn’t spill out? How to make sure the tortillas don’t split? Here are our tips:

  • Don’t overfill the tortillas. It’s easy to want to put in way too much filling. All you need is 1/4 cup veggies and 2 tablespoons guacamole. Spread them in a line like you see below.
  • Roll them tightly and place seam side down. Placing seam side down helps them stay rolled.
  • If using corn tortillas, use a good brand and cook in oil prior to rolling. Corn tortillas taste great and are gluten-free, but they can easily tear and split when rolling them. See the instructions in the recipe and the section below for more!
Assembling enchiladas
Here’s what the inside of one of the tortillas should look like!

Flour tortillas vs corn tortillas: which are better for enchiladas?

Corn tortillas are more traditional in Mexican-style enchiladas. Flour tortillas are more traditional in American style enchiladas. There are pros and cons to both! When we tested this vegan enchiladas recipe, we had a lot of issues with corn tortillas that split open when we went to roll them. Here are some pros and cons to each:

  • Corn tortillas are gluten-free and more authentic Mexican. But many brands easily split when you go to roll them! To combat this, find the best corn tortilla brand you can. Then brush it with oil and cook it 15 seconds per side before assembling. Doing so can help to make it more supple for rolling (and infuses a little flavor).
  • Flour tortillas are more authentic to American enchiladas. They’re not gluten-free but they are much easier to roll! We also both loved how gooey they get when soaked in the enchilada sauce.
Vegan enchiladas

Homemade vs purchased guacamole

Our homemade guacamole recipe is so good, it’s worth making if you have time! But since storebought guacamole is so easily available, we’d recommend getting your favorite purchased brand to speed up prep time for the recipe. It takes about 15 minutes to make the guacamole. If you’re making of the components at home, we’d recommend the enchilada sauce instead.

But if you do have time, it’s worth making this incredible homemade guacamole, and you can use the extras as a side dish. You could also make it ahead and store it using this storage tip so it doesn’t brown: refrigerate it with 1/2″ of water on top of the guac. This serves as a barrier to the air and works like a charm!

Vegan enchiladas

Sides to serve with vegan enchiladas

These enchiladas are a stunning vegan dish that’s perfect for dinner parties or weeknight meals. What to serve with these vegan enchiladas to make it a full meal? We’ve got lots of options. Here are our favorite sides to serve with enchiladas:

This vegan enchiladas recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free (with corn tortillas).

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Vegan enchiladas

Vegan Enchiladas (Best Ever!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 4.44 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6

Description

These vegan enchiladas are over the top delicious! Stuffed with black beans and guacamole, they’re doused in a zesty homemade red enchilada sauce.


Ingredients

  • 3 cups Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce or purchased sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large portobello mushroom caps
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (leftover from the enchilada sauce recipe) or water
  • 1 1/2 cups guacamole (homemade or purchased)
  • 12 8-inch flour or corn tortillas (read section above)
  • For the garnish: 1 cup thinly sliced romaine lettuce, 1 to 2 radishes cut into matchsticks, 2 tablespoons minced red onion, and torn cilantro
  • Optional: Vegan sour cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Start the Enchilada Sauce (or for quicker prep, make it the night before). 
  3. Remove the stems from the mushroom caps and thinly slice them. Thinly slice the red onion. Thinly slice the bell pepper
  4. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Saute the veggies for 6 to 7 minutes until tender. Add the black beans (drained and rinsed), garlic powder, cumin, onion powder, paprika, kosher salt, lime juice and vegetable broth or water. Cook for 2 minutes until the liquid is thickened into a sauce. 
  5. Spread 1 cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish. 
  6. If using corn tortillas ONLY: Brush both sides of each tortilla lightly with olive oil. Heat a large griddle to medium-high heat. Cook the tortillas in batches for 15 seconds per side until lightly browned.
  7. Fill each tortilla with 1/4 cup of the vegetable filling and about 2 tablespoons guacamole, running in a line down the center (see the photo). Roll it up and place it in the baking dish seam side down. Once all of the 12 tortillas are in the dish, pour over the remaining 2 cups of enchilada sauce.
  8. Bake for 5 minutes until warmed through. Top with garnishes and serve. (Leftovers keep well refrigerated.)

Notes

*Prep time listed below does not include time for making enchilada sauce. This adds about 15 minutes to the prep time, since you can simmer the sauce while making the filling.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop / Baked
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Vegan Enchiladas

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