Pizza That’s Healthy??
"I don’t like zucchini, celery, eggplant, or any type of squash…"
Being the considerate person that I am, when the love of my life and I first entered this relationship, I asked him about his likes and dislikes when it came to food. It seems that when it came to root vegetables, there were few that he liked.
Further investigation confirmed what I suspected. When he had tried these vegetables in the past, they had been prepared in their most basic form… Plain.
While I love all root vegetables, and am not opposed to eating them with salt and pepper, I understand that to most people, they would be bland and unappealing when eaten that way.
My mission to expand his horizons… Starting with his taste buds…
Because my kids could be picky eaters, I’ve learned to be creative. Hiding mashed up green beans in meat loaf, shredded carrots in brownies, pureed onions and celery in stuffings… I managed to get vegetables in them without their knowing about it.
My plan now, was to show the love of my life, that foods that he thought he didn’t like, could, if prepared correctly, be a good thing.
I started with celery. Just by cooking it well, with lots of seasonings, in a simple vegetable soup, did the trick. He was pleasantly surprised. Next, I took on eggplant. Who doesn’t like Eggplant Parmesan? Tomato sauce and cheese over anything tastes good. He was actually excited to be eating eggplant, and loving it!
And so it went with zucchini in pasta sauce, turnips prepared like potato soup, acorn squash with shredded apple, butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar… I went through his whole list. Every vegetable that he said he didn’t like, was cooked my way. He loved them!!
All to me, pretty basic stuff. Kinda makes you wonder where he’s been eating for the last thirty years…
What am I gonna make for supper…??
Even though I love to cook… I face this question, just like everyone else. Usually two days before payday, when I’m low on cash, and creativity.
Standing in front of the fridge on just such an occasion, I was looking at 1/2 of a small zucchini, 1/3 of an eggplant, 2 slightly dried up mushrooms, 1 roma tomato, and 1/2 of an onion. The first thought that came to mind, was to cut them up, cook them with a little red wine, and make a pasta sauce out of them. However when I reached in the cupboard for spaghetti… There was none.
Ok… Plan B. Except, I didn’t have a plan B.
Back to the fridge…
Earlier in the day, watching the food channel, I had seen a segment on pizza. I always have yeast on hand, and making homemade pizza is nothing new to me. Another segment had been on using roasted red peppers, and tomatoes. What if I roasted the odds and ends of those leftover vegetables, and put them on a pizza?
So with two hours till suppertime, I made the pizza dough, cut, seasoned, and roasted the vegis, threw a bottle of wine in the fridge, and hoped for the best….
The result was a big hit! If I do say so my self… Yum! There’s also something about eating a pizza, and knowing it’s healthy, that is extremely satisfying! It’s now a permanent fixture on the menu, here at "Chez Mom’s Kitchen".
HOMEMADE ROASTED VEGETABLE PIZZA
You can use a pre-made or frozen crust, I like to make my own, so I have included my recipe. The crust needs to be started at least 2 hours ahead, and the vegetables need to be roasted and cooled before placing on the crust. .
HOMEMADE PIZZA DOUGH
- 2 packages of yeast (I use the rapid rise type)
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup olive oil (vegetable oil is fine)
- 2 tablespoons honey (or sugar if you don’t have honey)
- 2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups flour
Dissolve yeast in water, stir in oil, honey, and salt. Stir 3 1/2 cups of the flour into wet ingredients. Turn out onto floured surface, and knead remaining flour into the dough. Continue kneading until dough becomes smooth, using just enough extra flour to keep dough from sticking to surface. Oil the bottom of a bowl, place dough in bowl, cover with seran wrap and place in the warmest spot in your kitchen. Let dough double in size, punch down, and repeat process at least twice.
When ready to make your pizza, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Punch down dough, and roll out on a floured surface to desired thickness, and size. This dough makes an 18 inch medium thick crust, or a very thick smaller crust.
Tip…the more times you punch down the dough, the denser, and chewier your crust will be. I try to start early enough to repeat this process 4 times.
This is not an exact science. Use any type of vegetables you have handy, in any combination you want to. I have used onions, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplant, carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, beets, celery, zucchini, summer squash, butternut squash, radishes… Unlimited possibility
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut vegetables into bite size pieces, about 1/2 inch. Place in a ziplock bag, or large bowl. Season with garlic (chopped, or powder), basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Pour in 1 tablespoon of olive oil (can use vegetable oil). Shake, or stir to coat the vegetables.
Place on a greased baking sheet, and roast in oven for 15-20 minutes.
Allow to cool before placing on pizza.
Tip… Use cumin, garlic and chili powder, if you want a southwest flavor.
TO MAKE YOUR PIZZA…
Assemble the pizza anyway you want to. I don’t use sauce, and I just shake some parmesan cheese, and drizzle a little olive oil over it. Sauce, and cheese are totally up to you.
Bake at 450 degrees until crust is browned slightly on the bottom. Remove from oven, and enjoy!
Tip...If making a thick crust pizza, decrease the roasting time on your vegis to 10 minutes, as it will take longer to bake your pizza, and would dry out your vegis.