I’m still trying to master a great, thin-crust Neapolitan-style pizza out of my own kitchen. Until that day arrives (it may never arrive), these vegan Spinach & Cheese Pizza Rolls have become our at-home garlicky, cheesy pizza fix.
I’ll definitely be making these vegan spinach & cheese pizza rolls for upcoming holiday parties. They’re so appetizing and tasty, I’m confident these cheesy, garlicky little pinwheels will go fast. They look and smell fantastic, and with a side of pizza sauce for dipping, I think they’re gonna be irresistible.
They’re so easy to eat, they’d be great for game-day or movie-night get togethers, too. And they’re just the right size to pack for lunch. Just warm them a bit in the microwave—and don’t forget the dipping sauce!
These vegan spinach & cheese pizza rolls are amazing piping-hot, right out of the oven. But even when they’ve cooled down to room temp, they’re still delicious. Imagine a spinachy-garlicky-creamy piece of garlic bread. How bad can that be?!
I think this recipe works so well where some other vegan pizza recipes fall down, because the ‘basil tofu ricotta’ mixture is rolled up inside the dough, so it doesn’t dry out when it bakes. (Sorry Daiya, but I can’t stand the taste of fake vegan cheese!) And you really don’t get a tofu taste when you eat these, which is a plus for people who don’t care for it.
There are a few steps involved in making these pizza rolls, but it goes pretty fast, especially if you buy the pizza dough and sauce pre-made. (Of course, if you have a recipe you love, or you’re gluten- or oil-free, by all means, make your own.)
If you have a rolling pin, I recommend using it to roll out your pizza dough to achieve a nice, even thickness. For healthier rolls, I like a whole-grain pizza crust—like the fresh, refrigerated multi-grain pizza dough at Whole Foods.
You can make big, cinnamon-bun size, vegan spinach & cheese pizza rolls like I did here. We just tore them apart with our hands for dipping. Or, you can cut your roll into smaller sections to create more servings and a smaller, 2-bite snack.
I like to dip these vegan spinach & cheese pizza rolls in my favorite store-bought pizza sauce (I really like Rustic brand), or you could use marinara sauce. For an extra dose of vegan cheesiness, along with the pizza sauce, I think they’d taste great dipped in some gently warmed Vegan Easy Cheezy Sauce. Tangy-saucy, double-cheesy, yum!
For a make-your-own, oil-free, whole wheat pizza dough, try this recipe from Genius Kitchen (but sub plant milk for milk). I haven’t made it myself, but it has good reviews online.
This whole-food, plant-based recipe was inspired by Spinach & Artichoke Rolls, from the vegan food blog, Rabbit and Wolves.
Vegan Spinach & Cheese Pizza Rolls
- 1 14 ounce package extra firm tofu (pressed for 10 minutes or squeezed by hand to release water)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon tahini (sub 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil or omit if desired)
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (+more for top)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- Optional: 2-4 cloves garlic (to add to tofu ricotta, for extra garlicky pizza rolls)
- Sea salt to taste
- 2 cloves garlic finely diced
- 2 tablespoons finely diced shallots (about 1 small shallot)
- 4 packed cups baby spinach chopped
- 22 ounces of fresh pizza dough GF/oil-free if desired (I used Whole Foods fresh multi-grain. See link above for no-oil, whole wheat recipe. See notes)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning for topping
For dipping: pizza sauce or marinara sauce
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Take the pizza dough out ball of the refrigerator and any packaging, and allow to come to room temperature, at least 15 minutes. (Check directions on the packaging and follow them if different.)
- Set out a 9-inch round or square baking dish or pan. (Use non-stick or lightly oil.)
- To make 'basil tofu ricotta': In a food processor, combine the tofu, basil, nutritional yeast, tahini, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, garlic powder and onion powder. (Add optional garlic cloves, if using.) Process until completely blended and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add sea salt to taste, and pulse to blend in.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of water in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and saute 2-3 minutes, or until soft. Add the spinach and a pinch of salt, and saute until well cooked and no longer releasing liquid. Drain any liquid from the spinach.
- On a floured surface, roll out your pizza dough into a large rectangle about 1/4 thick, either 15 3/4 inches long (for a 9 inch x 9 inch square pan) or 16 inches long (for an 9 inch round pan.) (See notes.)
- Spread the tofu mixture evenly over the dough. Drop spoonfuls of spinach, spread out evenly over the tofu mixture.
- Roll the dough up lengthwise into a log. Using a very sharp knife, cut into sections (about 8 pieces, 2" wide for a round pan or 9 pieces, 1 3/4 wide for a square pan. See notes.) If the sections flatten as you cut them, unroll each one a bit and re-roll to get a nice round shape.
- Place the sections in the baking dish/pan, so that the edges touch. You can push them down just a little if needed. They will expand a bit as they cook, so they just need to touch, but not be crowded. If desired, brush with a bit of oil (skip if oil free) and top with Italian seasonings and crushed red pepper flakes.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the dough is cooked through and brown on top. To test, slide small, sharp knife between two rolls in the center of the pan and spread apart a bit to see if dough is cooked.
- Serve with pizza sauce or marinara sauce for dipping.
- Store bought fresh pizza dough comes in all different sizes. You can probably get away with a little more or less pizza dough, but I'd recommend at least 18 ounces. Or, feel free to make your own! (Most store-bought crusts have at least a small amount of oil, so if you're 100% oil-free, you'll probably need to make your own.)
- For even thickness, I like to use a rolling pin to roll out my dough. I shape it by hand into a small rectangle first, about half the finished size. Then I use the rolling pin to finish.
- Tips for getting even-sized sections. I use a tape measure and follow these directions. This will produce large cinnamon-bun sized rolls. (Or, you can probably just wing it and they should turn out fine as long as the sections are at least 1 1/2inches.)
- For a 9 inch round pan: Roll out dough to 16 inches wide. After you roll into a log, divide the long roll in half first, then divide each half in half again. You'll now have 4 even pieces. Divide each of these segments into half for a total of 8. •
- For a 9 inch square pan: Roll out dough to 15 3/4 inches wide. Find and mark the center of the roll. Cut a 1 3/4 piece out of the center, so that you have 2 equal size sections on either side. Cut the 2 remaining sections in half, and then in half again. You'll now have a total of 9, 1 3/4 size pieces. •
- For more/smaller rolls: I'd recommend cutting into sections no smaller than about 1 1/2 inches and fitting them into a round pan.