Homemade Pizza (Recipe) with TJ dough

Here’s a Pizza I made for dinner last night. For the base, I used Trader Joe’s Pizza Dough, in the refrigerated section. The bag of fresh dough sells for the super price of just 99 cents (for 1 lb). Thats correct, 99 cents folks. Whole Foods has pizza dough too- however  they sell it (frozen) for almost double or triple TJ’s price.

Trader Joe’s has three varieties of Pizza Dough – Regular dough, Herb and Whole Wheat. I amost always buy the “regular” (ie, “white”) dough. Why? Well I have tried the herb dough but found it a bit bitter and off tasting. You would be better off adding your own fresh garlic and fresh or dried herbs.  As far as the Whole Wheat dough, while noble in thought as “healthier pizza” in reality I found it came out with a too tough crust compared to the regular dough. You can try them all over time and see what you think.

I find a package of dough makes a very nice sized pizza for two people with leftovers (maybe). The 1 lb bag of dough could easily feed three. It might feed four with some side dish and/or a big salad. As pizza dough is after all “bread dough” of course one can use this to make a loaf of bread or some breadsticks (see below). This is a good idea too. So this is one of those TJ items I ALMOST NEVER LEAVE THE STORE WITHOUT. If you Freeze it, you have this handy stuff on hand whenever you want. It can defrost overnight or in a pinch  you can leave it out in the morning to defrost by  dinner time.


This time, believe it or not I did not use tomato sauce though I usually do. Today I was a bit unorthodox and did use some fresh tomatoes. Plus a ton of other vegetables: zucchini, mushrooms + peppers (I cooked both before with oil and garlic), more fresh garlic, olive oil, Mozzarela, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, hot pepper flakes, more fresh tiny red peppers I had on hand, plus anchovy paste… oh yeah and a simple homemade pork sausage with peppers and garlic (which I browned up first) and crumbled on top. It was “almost” a vegetarian pizza, and you could easily make it that way. Maybe use some TJ Soy Chorizo, perhaps for the sausage component…Or not.


Method:  Its will take a little practice but this is do-able. Take the Pizza Dough out of the fridge for at least a 1/2 hour to 1 hr beforehand! It needs to not be super cold to work it. Turn the dough out of the bag on to some flour. Flour your work surface and gently stretch out your dough to your pan. I used a non-stick half sheet pan. Put some olive oil in the pan first and spread it with your fingers. Put some more on top of the dough. I stretched the dough to fit the whole pan and used my fingers to build up the edges. Then add your sauce and toppings and cheese.

I dabbed some anchovy paste all around the body of the pizza, and gently smushed it in with my fingers with a good dollop of Olive Oil (TJ’s Spanish EVO). I cut my zucchini into paper thin slices and laid them out all over in neat rows, laid tomatoes sliced thin all over, added my cooked mushrooms and peppers I made the night before, laid out the Mozz (shredded) all over, hit it with red pepper, sliced garlic, Italian seasoning, a little arugula, and more olive oil which I brushed on the edges with my fingers. Some more tomato on top which got “roasted”, some more fresh red peppers, a pinch of salt, plus lots of black pepper.

Baked it at 450 degrees for 20-30 minutes (The TJ dough package says bake 9 minutes, thats sounds crazy short unless you have a very very hot pizza oven) In the style of my idol, Dom DeMarco (of Brooklyn’s DiFara’s Pizza) I tossed on some grated cheese (Parmesan or Grana Padano as Dom uses) AFTER it comes out of the oven. This gives your pizza some extra zing for sure.


Also like Master DeMarco, I was liberal with the Olive Oil especially on the pan for this squarish rendition, as I wanted that crust to get really crispy and brown -which it did thanks to that oil. After it was ready, I hit it with more fresh arugula on top (was tempted to use lemon juice like Paulie Gee too but didn’t…next time. Lemon juice on pizza? Trust me, with the arugula, its fantastic. Paulie Gee has some real pizza chops).

Result: Due to all the veggies honestly I felt the center was too thin and came out too wet  with all too many veggies I had loaded it with. If I did it over, next time I would not stretch out the dough quite as much and leave it much thicker all over to hold up to the veggies. The zucchini and fresh tomato produce a lot of moisture. In the center it was too moist. However other than the center the pizza came out perfectly. The outside edge crust (aka cornicone) was really crunchy and good, especially for something made in a regular home oven. Would it be better with a pizza stone? Maybe, I just don’t have one, nor do I have a Pizza Peel so would be a bit hard to get in the oven, without using the sheet pan I felt. I’m a very adaptable cook. Taste-wise? EXCELLENT. I got a high five from my Mrs, who deemed it one of the best pizzas I’ve made. First time I used the anchovy paste, which added a wonderful undernote of flavor. And the homemade sausage was fantastic on top. So basically I made the “sauce” right on the pizza in the oven. It does look tasty, no? I hope this picture inspires you to make a pizza at home; Its easy and delicious.

Oh and I tested out making a few breadsticks with a bit of the extra TJ’s dough. They were good! Try doing some of those too with this dough. You could of course even make a fresh baked bread with it too. I am now buying at least 2 packages of TJ’s Pizza Dough, and throwing one in the freezer to have on hand at all times. I do make my own dough on occasion but it requires some thinking ahead.

Now I know this isn’t exactly a “recipe” but to me, Pizza is a basic idea, that is improvised depending on your mood, ingredients, etc. So for the most basic “recipe” buy this dough, stretch it out on to a half sheet pan, add some homemade or good jarred marinara or tomato sauce, some mozzarella, olive oil, fresh garlic, etc. (add preferred toppings here). Bake it in a HOT oven. Check it at 15-20 minutes and make sure its brown and bubbly. Cook for another 5-10 minutes if not. When done, take it out and toss on some (fresh I hope) grated Parmesan or other hard Italian cheese. Remove from pan to a surface you can cut on and slice it up. Once you do this, you may never go back to “ordering in pizza”.




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chemietoilette
    Mar 02, 2013 @ 02:10:56

    Very good post.



  2. Trackback: Easy Home-Made Pizza using TJ’s Pizza Dough (Re-Visited!) | Trader Joe’s Rants & Raves

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