This pizza burger is a sausage-style patty, simmered in tomato sauce, smothered in vegan cheese, and served between two pieces of fresh focaccia. Tempeh and vital wheat gluten give this burger its amazing meaty texture that's sure to satisfy everyone. Once you serve them, they'll disappear in an instant.

Pizza Burger on Focaccia [Vegan]

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Ingredients

For the Focaccia:
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 2 teaspoons dried Rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • Coarse salt, to taste
For the Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • Natural sugar, as needed
For the Burgers:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 8-ounce package tempeh, grated
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • Tomato sauce (recipe above)
  • 3/4 cup vegan cheese
  • Focaccia bread (recipe above)
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Preparation

To Make the Focaccia:
  1. Combine the water, 2 tablespoons oil, yeast, rosemary, oregano, and maple in a small bowl. Set aside to activate the yeast.
  2. Combine the flours and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the yeast mixture and process until a dough is formed.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon oil to a large bowl and add the dough. Cover with a plastic wrap and allow to double in size, about 1 hour.
  4. When doubled, knead the dough right inside the bowl until smooth and elastic. Cover again and allow to rise until doubled. This may be done overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a baking sheet. Without deflating the dough too much, transfer the dough to the oiled sheet and flatten using your hands. With your fingers make holes in the dough, all the way through to the pan. Cover the pan with wrap and set aside to rise, about 30 minutes.
  6. Add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the top of the dough and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from pan as soon as possible to keep crust crisp.
To Make the Sauce:
  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the onion and carrot and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, basil, oregano and salt, and black pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until it darkens for about 1 minute. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, black pepper and sugar. Cool or use immediately. Sauce will keep for 3 days stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
To Make the Burgers:
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onions and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the fennel, chili flakes, and oregano. Cook until the onion is beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tempeh, garlic and salt. Cook until tempeh is golden, about 5 more minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cool the mixture completely.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Add the gluten and bread crumbs to the mixture. Mix well. Add the broth and knead until the gluten forms threads, about 3 minutes.
  3. Form the mixture into 6 burgers and arrange them on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, flip and continue to bake them for another 30 minutes.
  4. Warm the tomato sauce in a large skillet (if cooled) and add the burgers, coating them in the sauce. Cook until the burgers have softened, about 8 minutes.
  5. Remove as much sauce as possible to a bowl and add the vegan cheese to the tops of the burgers. Cover and cook until the cheese melts.
  6. Cut the focaccia into squares large enough for the burgers and top one focaccia with the cheeseburger and add another piece of focaccia on top. Serve.
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