Vegetarian Dish

Vegan Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

Pizza in Chicago is a big deal. There's deep dish, thin crust and everything in between. But what makes it really special is the vegetarian deep dish. It's made with a dough that has been fully cooked and then layered with
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Vegan Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

This Chicago style vegan deep dish pizza is made filled with onions, peppers, vegan Italian sausage, and dairy-free cheese. There’s also a cheeseburger deep dish variation!

Jump to:

  • 🥫 Ingredients
  • 🔪 Instructions
  • 💭 Tips
  • 🎥 Video
  • 📖 Recipe
  • 🍔 Variation
  • 💬Comments

If you’ve never heard of deep dish pizza, the name kind of gives it away. From the bottom up, it goes cheese, “toppings”, seasoning, and a thick layer of sauce on top. Basically an upside-down pizza in a deep dish with thick crust.

Deep dish is one of those meals you have to get at least once in Chicago, just like the Chicago hot dog or Italian beef. Locals typically stick with traditional thin-crust pizza and go out for deep dish when out-of-town friends or family are visiting.

But there’s a different set of “rules” when it comes to vegan food. If a vegan version of a popular local dish exists, we’ll go out of our way to eat it. You can order a vegan deep dish pizza at many restaurants in Chicago, but if you can’t get to Chicago anytime soon, you can make a vegan deep dish pizza at home!

Deep dish pizza baked in a cast iron pan on marble counter

🥫 Ingredients

Dough

You can use any pizza dough you like. The amount of dough for 1 regular pizza should be enough for deep dish pizza. The pizza dough recipe included in the recipe is from my Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza.

Filling

I used onions, green peppers, tomatoes, garlic, giardiniera, and seitan, but you can use any kind you like.

Sauce

I used pizza sauce from a jar. If you’re using marinara or another thinner sauce, you can add tomato paste to help thicken it up. If your sauce is too thin, it will pool in the pan when you cut the pizza.

🔪 Instructions

Once the pizza dough is prepared, you’ll preheat oven to 425°F and start assembling the pizza.

Grease a 9-inch round dish or large cast iron pan with the olive oil, then place the rolled pizza dough in the pan, pressing it up the edges. Poke the bottom of the dough, as if you’re making a pie, to prevent bubbling.

Hands pressing pizza dough into cast iron pan

Scatter the cheese on the bottom. It’s okay to be heavy handed with the cheese since some of it will blend into the filling.

Hand sprinkling cheese on pizza dough in cast iron pan

Add the onion slices, green peppers, most of the garlic, tomato slices, vegan sausage, and giardiniera.

Uncooked pizza dough with cheese and toppings in cast iron pan

Pour the marinara over all of the ingredients, covering them completely. Sprinkle the remaining garlic on top, as well as any dried herbs, if desired.

Hand pouring tomato sauce on pizza dough in cast iron pan

Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes or until the crust is golden and the marinara starts to set.

Let the deep dish sit for 30-45 minutes before cutting into it, to let the marinara set a little more. Otherwise, the insides will leak when you cut into the pizza.

💭 Tips

  • Make sure the marinara you use is nice and thick. Otherwise, the sauce will be liquidy. If your sauce is too thin, you can mix in some tomato paste to thicken it up.
  • Don’t overstuff your deep dish pizza. It will take too long to cook thoroughly and the crust will burn in that extra time.

🎥 Video

📖 Recipe

🍔 Variation

Cheeseburger Deep Dish Pizza

Refer to the recipe for Cheeseburger Pizza, use HALF the amount of each topping/filling ingredient, and follow the instructions above, adding the filling in the following order: cheddar cheese, onion, green pepper, seitan, tomato. Cover the top with mustard and ketchup to your liking, then bake according to the instructions above.

After baking, add the diced onion, pickles, lettuce, and black pepper, and more ketchup and mustard, if desired.

This recipe was originally published in 2015 and has been updated with new photos, a video, and helpful information. The recipe has not changed, but now provides a recipe for making the pizza dough (previously called for “1 prepared pizza dough”).

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