Looking to amp up your pizza night? This Vegetarian Diavola Pizza is a fan favorite starring Kalamata olives, spicy peppers, and gooey mozzarella cheese.
Last month, Alex and I hopped on a plane to Italy, Croatia and Spain in search of culinary inspiration. Armed with a notebook, we set about to eat everything we could get our hands on. Several pages of notes and a transatlantic flight later, we’re trying to recreate our favorites in our home kitchen so you can taste them, too! And on this trip, we found Diavola pizza. We discovered it in Rome, at a brew pub of all places. A brew pub, in Italy? Yes, crazy as it sounds. And this spicy Diavola pizza is ready to spice up your weekly Pizza Nights. (Because it’s a weekly affair in your house too, right?) Keep reading for our recipe.
Related:Homemade Pizza for Beginners
What is Diavola pizza?
So, what is Diavola pizza? In Italian, pizza diavola means “deviled” pizza. And in this case, deviled means one thing: spicy. We tasted our first Diavola pizza at L’Osteria Birra del Borgo, one of our very favorite restaurants on this visit to Rome. The man behind this restaurant is known as the King of Pizza in Rome, Gabriele Bonci. Everything Bonci makes quite literally turns to gold, which we’ll write about in a separate post (!). But on this visit, it was the Diavola pizza from his new brew pub that was memorable for all the guests at our table.
How to make Diavola pizza
It appears that there is some variation in what constitutes a Diavola pizza. Here are a few common denominators we’ve found that match up with our experience of Diavola pizza in Rome:
- Spicy chili peppers: Of course, chili peppers on pizza are what give the Diavola pizza its name! A fresh red pepper like a Fresno chili pepper or Calabrian chili pepper are what is traditional. (Calabrian chili peppers are used often in Italian cuisine and are our absolute favorite—we grow them in our garden and you can also find them canned by Dellalo.)
- Spicy sausage: The Diavola pizza we had in Rome had spicy sausage as a topping, and a few other online resources use sausage as a typical Diavola pizza ingredient. For this recipe, we left it off to make it vegetarian. Of course, you could absolutely add it back to this one if you’re serving meat lovers!
- Black olives: Olives seem to be optional, but the pizza we had in Rome had black olives so we’ve added them here. They add just the right amount of saltiness to the pizza—especially since our version is vegetarian.
- Margarita pizza base: We’e seen Diavola pizza described as a margarita pizza with spicy peppers and sausage added. Here we’ve used our Perfect Neapolitan Pizza recipe as a base.
Related: Want a quick pizza dough without yeast? Rye Pizza Dough Cracker Crust
Do I need Neapolitan pizza oven?
So, do you need a pizza oven to make this Diavola pizza? Not at all! However, if you want those lovely char marks on the crust as we have in these photos, you’ll need a pizza oven. A pizza oven can get much hotter than a regular oven. While your standard oven tops out at 550 degrees F, a pizza oven can get up to almost 1000 degrees F!
As I mentioned in our last pizza post, we did not own a pizza oven until recently. But we have been cooking with a new pizza oven for just under a year called the Ooni. Powered by wood pellets, the Ooni heats to 1000 degrees Fahretheit in just 10 minutes! It takes a bit of practice, but it’s revolutionized our homemade pizza. Here’s the Ooni pizza oven that we use!
Related: How to make artisan pizza
Looking for artisan pizza recipes?
This Diavola pizza is one of our favorite artisan pizzas we’ve ever made at home! Here are a few of our other favorite artisan pizza recipes:
- Perfect Neapolitan Pizza
- Loaded Mexican Pizza
- Our Best Vegan Pizza
- California Veggie Pizza
- White Pizza with Pecorino, Scallions, and Egg
- Homemade Easy Pizza Sauce
- Easy Calzone Recipe
- Homemade Margherita Pizza Recipe
- Related: 10 Romantic Dinner Recipes
This recipe is…
This Neapolitan Pizza Recipe is vegetarian, refined sugar free, and naturally sweet.
- Prepare the dough using either the stand mixer or food processor methods (follow this video instruction for more). Follow the preparation instructions in the dough recipe.
- Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500°F. OR, preheat your pizza oven (this is the pizza oven we have!).
- Prepare the Homemade Easy Pizza Sauce.
- Slice the mozzarella cheese into chunks and let it sit on a paper towel for at least 15 minutes to remove moisture. Then dab the mozzarella with the paper towel to remove any additional moisture.
- Slice the olives in half. Thinly slice the pepper (keep the seeds).
- When the oven is ready, stretch the dough into a circle (see this video). Spread a pizza peel with flour or cornmeal, then carefully place the dough on top.
- Spread the pizza sauce across the dough. Top with mozzarella cheese, saving out a small bite for tasting. Taste a bite of the mozzarella cheese; if it does not taste salty, add a pinch or two of kosher salt to the pizza. Remember that the pizza will have olives, which also adds saltiness.
- Top the cheese with the sliced olives and chili peppers.
- Transfer the pizza to the pizza stone on the pizza peel, then bake until the cheese is melted, about 7 minutes in the oven (or 1 minute in the pizza oven).
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for minutes, then top with torn basil leaves. Slice into pieces and serve immediately.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Pizza, Vegetarian Pizza, Neapolitan Pizza, Italian Pizza, Pizza Oven, Vegetarian, Entertaining, Diavola Pizza, Diavola, Kalamata Olives, Chili Peppers, Basil
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.