Stromboli is one of those foods you can't really find all too often here on the West Coast, and yet it is also one of the foods I tend to find myself craving the most when I'm getting a little too nostalgic for my East Coast upbringing. I remember my father had a friend named George who would so often come to our house with large loaves of stromboli to share. My mother, as she was a dietician, seriously hated how often he did that because while stromboli is delicious, it is certainly not something you should let your children eat every single day! (It's essentially a baguette-length calzone, traditionally filled with meats and a whole lot of gooey mozzarella.)
I wish I had this recipe for vegan stromboli back then. I feel like my mother would have found it to be the perfect compromise between the stromboli concept and her habit for keeping good nutrition in mind. Unlike traditional stromboli, it is completely cholesterol free and kicks out all the ham and pepperoni for an equally savory vegetarian filling.
With that being said, you could easily add your own vegan pepperoni to this. Yves makes a great pepperoni that would work well in this. Also, Tofurkey deli slices or Veggie Garden meatballs would probably make a fun alternative filling too! Either way, this is a recipe your children are going to love, and you can honestly feel good about making.
Vegan Olive & Mushroom Stromboli
(Makes 1 loaf)
To Make the Dough -
1 cup warm water
1 7-gram package (or 2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more to coat the dough and bowl
1 tablespoon agave nectar
Healthy pinch of salt
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
For the Filling -
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups) cremini or white mushrooms, sliced
Another healthy pinch of salt
Black pepper to taste
1/4 cup kalamata or black olives, sliced
1 cup marinara sauce
1 cup Daiya mozzarella shreds (Follow Your Heart Mozzarella works well too.)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons vegan parmesan-style topping, divided
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon plain soymilk (as an egg wash)
2 tablespoon fresh parsley
Extra marinara sauce for dipping
1) Preheat oven to 475 F. If you have a pizza stone, heat it with the oven.
2) To make the dough, combine water, yeast, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, agave nectar, and salt into a bowl. Gently mix it all together and let it sit for 5 minutes, until it starts to froth. This ensures the yeast is active and has not expired.
3) Add 2 cups of the flour and mix it up. You can do this by hand or in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Continue to slowly add the rest of the flour until you have a slightly sticky ball. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. (This will take about 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes on medium speed with a stand mixer.) After kneading, form it into a ball.
4) Coat a large bowl with olive oil. (The dough is going to double in size, so make sure the bowl is big enough.) Also coat the dough in olive oil. Put the dough in the bowl, cover it with a damp kitchen towel, and stash it someplace warm for 90 minutes for its first rise.
5) After the first rise, give the dough a couple of light, open-handed slaps to make it collapse so that it's flattened out. Then let it rise for 40 more minutes. Now your dough is ready to use and is the equivalent of 1 pound of store-bought dough.
[Note: If you have a favorite store-bought pizza dough that you would prefer to use instead of making your own, make sure it is a pound's worth. Also, start your recipe from this point once you have preheated your oven to the above temperature.]
6) First, you want to begin by lightly dusting your work surface with cornmeal. Then, roll out pizza dough into a 10-by-14 rectangle.
7) In a skillet over medium heat, warm up some olive oil. Add your mushrooms, salt, and pepper, and cook until the mushrooms are softened and have released some of their liquid, about 5 minutes later. Remove from heat and stir in the olives. 8) Spread your marinara sauce evenly across the bottom 3/4 of the pizza dough, leaving margins of approximately 1 - 2 inches on the other 3 sides. Sprinkle both cheeses, onion powder, and garlic powder evenly on top of sauce, reserving 2 tablespoons of the parmesan topping. Next, spread the mushrooms and olives over sauce and cheese. 9) Starting at the long edge on the bottom, roll the dough as tightly as you can into a log. Pinch and fold the two ends and the seam to seal. With the seam side down, lightly brush the rolled up dough with the tablespoon of soymilk. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan topping.
10) Using a sharp knife, cut 3 or 4 slits in the dough. This will prevent your log of deliciousness from ending up as an exploded log of non-deliciousness in your oven. Transfer to preheated oven and cook 10-12 minutes, until top is golden-brown. Remove and sprinkle with parsley.
11) Cool 5 minutes, slice, and serve with extra marinara.