There is nothing like a delicious pizza pulled straight from of a brick fire oven: woody, crispy, and perfectly cooked. Homemade pizza makes a really easy and fun meal, though, sans brick fire oven, not nearly as satisfying. We’ve spent many-a-night crafting away on a “masterpiece” pizza and since identifying a great brick fire oven substitute, the results have been mouth-watering. We have started using… the grill! Grilling the pizza ensures a nice crispy crust and imparts the unique flavor that only a grill can achieve. The key is grilling the dough first, at a high temperature, then topping, and re-grilling at a lower temperature to melt the cheese and cook the toppings. This has become our favorite way to have pizza, and it’s exponentially quicker than using the oven.
This recipe is by far a favorite, vaguely inspired by California Pizza Kitchen, except this pizza is obviously revamped to maximize the nutrition and freshness, and minimize all things CPK (no offense to the CPK lovers out there). For a vegetarian protein source, the chicken can be swapped out for tempeh, which provides a nice textural contrast to the pizza. We usually top half with chicken, half with tempeh.
In our opinion, the stroke of genius that makes this pizza amazing is the zing of feta cheese. (Sadly, we can’t take credit for the idea. After many attempts perfecting the pizza, Carli’s boyfriend Danny suggested the feta. He’s a keeper). The feta—red onion—cilantro combo gives the pizza a much needed acidity and freshness. Since feta doesn’t melt so well, we also add some fresh mozzarella to maintain the gooey cheesy quality that defines pizza.
1 package prepared pizza dough (we like Trader Joe’s whole wheat)
1-2 tsp olive oil
4-6 oz crumbled feta cheese
4 oz shredded fresh mozzarella
1 generous bunch of cilantro (about 4-6 cups)
1 cup prepared bbq sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s original is usually in our fridge)
2 cups thinly sliced red onion
4 cups cooked shredded chicken (we use a rotisserie chicken)
1 ½ cups tempeh crumbled (if making vegetarian)
*Note: on the protein, the amounts listed will cover ½ of the pizza—be sure to adjust accordingly if you plan on using all one protein source
**Amounts listed are very adaptable to your palate
Pre-heat grill to high
Let pizza dough come to room temperature
Meanwhile, prepare toppings:
Crumble the cheese if needed, thinly slice onion, and shred prepared chicken,
Crumble tempeh, clean and roughly remove long stems from cilantro
Divide dough in half, and roll out each portion on a floured surface to roughly 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch, lightly brush top side with olive oil
Grill pizza dough oiled side down for about 3 minutes until it begins to puff, remove
With the grilled side facing up, generously spread bbq sauce.
The layer cheese, chicken or tempeh, and then onion.
Lower grill heat to medium heat and place pizza uncooked side down to grill
Close lid and grill for 6-8 minutes until cheese begins to melt and crust is crisp.
Remove and top with cilantro!
Tips for making grilled pizza:
- Let the dough sit out about 20 minutes before rolling—it makes it more pliable
- Divide dough in half, or thirds makes it infinitely easier to manage on the grill—we usually make 2 to 3 “flatbread” shapes rather than one circular pizza
- Roll out the dough thinly—it will bubble and puff up on the grill more than you’d expect
- Use a high grill setting initially to ensure a crispy, flavorful crust, then turn it down to medium low before grilling the other side—the second grill time is mainly to melt the cheese and bring all the ingredients together.