Just near our house, there’s a family-owned Italian place called Chef P’s and it’s just like you would imagine – fresh sauce, fresh dough – loads of traditional lasganas, pizzas, calzones. Sadly, they have about 4 vegan options on the 7 page menu (besides the huge salads, of course!). Not to complain, 4 vegan options is more than some places have! But when you walk in and see all the fresh pizzas, smells the amazing smells, and – oh – the garlic knots – you start to fill with longing for the other goodies. (As a sidenote, if you are a vegetarian, Chef Paolino’s is your place! Be sure to check it out, their cheesy dishes look incredible.)
Considering the decadent amount of melted butter and parm cheese on the garlic knots, we decided to re-make them at home. So we started with our usual pizza dough recipe, just like they do at the Italian place, and then coated it with vegan butter, garlic and parsley. We called this Garlic Goo. Pretty simple stuff.
If you want a shortcut, skip making the dough and use store-bought pizza dough (like Trader Joe’s) or get freshly made dough from your favorite local pizzeria. They usually sell a ball of it cheaply and nothing beats fresh dough!
Pizzeria-Style Garlic Knots
1 cup warm water
1 package dry active yeast (we use Fleischman’s Pizza Crust Yeast)
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups all purpose flour (we like King Arthur’s)
4 Tbl. Earth Balance (or use olive oil)
14 cloves of garlic, finely minced (use less if you like milder flavor)
2 Tbl. dried parsley flakes or 4 Tbl. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. salt
Gently mix yeast into warm water with sugar and olive oil in a glass bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes until yeast blooms and the water is cloudy and foamy. The sugar will “feed” the yeast.
Meanwhile, pour flour into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and when yeast combo is ready, add it and mix together to form a soft dough ball. (If you have a stand mixer, you can do this with your dough hook. ) Knead by hand for about 3 to 5 minutes. Don’t overwork or the dough will get tough. Shape into a ball. Lightly oil a second bowl and place dough ball in there. Cover with a warm, damp kitchen towel (not drippy, be sure to ring it out!) and place in a warm, dark place to rise. The rising process will take about two hours until the dough has doubled in size.
If you are using bought dough, this is the place to enter the recipe.
Just before the dough is done, make the Garlic Goo. Melt the Earth Balance in a saucepan and stir in the minced garlic, parsley and salt. Set aside. Prepare two large cookie sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.
When the dough is done rising, punch it down and turn onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut the dough in half and place second half in the bowl. Roll first half into a rectangle (or flatten with your hands for a more rustic look) until about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Brush with about half of the Garlic Goo. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice dough into 6 inch-inch strips, about 1 inch wide. Tie the dough in a knot and place on a cookie sheet. Repeat with all remaining dough, leaving a little space between each knot, and repeat the entire process with the second half of your dough ball. If you are using homemade or fresh dough, cover lightly with wax paper or parchment and allow to rise again until doubled in size, one to two hours. (If you have store-bought dough, like Trader Joe’s, it won’t rise again, so skip to baking.) The recipe will make about 25 knots.
Towards the end of the rising process, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until toasted and slightly browned on top. Cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes and serve warm.
Note: If you want them to be as hearty as the ones they make at Chef P’s, toss while hot in a large bowl with more olive oil/melted Earth Balance, more minced garlic and perhaps a little vegan parm or nutritional yeast. They will be slathered in goodness.