Green Vegetables and Pesto Pizza

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I don’t have a lot of vegetarian recipes on the blog but I’ve realised that vegetarian recipes seem to generate a lot of interest and traffic for the blog; I guess there are more vegetarians out there than I imagined, though blog stats is not why I made this. A month or so ago I came across some really beautiful green asparagus and Brussels sprouts, both of which I have eaten but never cooked with; wanting to keep it simple this just seemed the best way to use both especially since I already had a jar of pesto in my fridge. Anyway, so here’s another one for all the ‘more vegetarians than I thought existed’ and if you just don’t see yourself eating a pizza topped with veggies, go ahead and add some ham, bacon or whatever meat you like because at the end of the day it’s a pizza, there are no toppings you can’t add or subtract from it.

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Every good pizza begins with a good dough, I don’t know if this is the best pizza dough recipe, but it is really simple and if I’m going to make pizza from scratch on a somewhat regular basis, I just want good, simple dough and this is definitely it. The sauce is my spinach pea pesto instead of the usual tomato sauce and in keeping with the green going on I topped it with some beautiful green asparagus, spring onions, Brussels sprouts and the green leaves, *what are they called?* *temporary ingredient amnesia* omg! That never happens to me, I can forget people’s names and places, not food!

Anyway so I was just short listing the pictures for this post and baby boy came, sat down next to me wanting to see what I was up to, actually he was just trying to get out of the gadget/ electronics ban he was under but that’s another story. So as I was going through the pictures and as soon as the pizza picture popped up, I saw him adjust his glasses, and with a surprised -kind of disgusted – expression he asks “Is that a pizza?” (he wasn’t here when this was made) I nod yes and he continues “Seriously? A pizza with vegetables? Green vegetables? Eww” I burst out laughing and he continues “I don’t think you should put up this pizza” I ask why and his very simple answer is “because no one will like it” Really? “Yes, because their children won’t like it.” Hmm, I decided to not take his advice and I’m hoping some adventurous kids or at least adults who don’t have children will give this one a try and like it as much as I did. Arugula! That’s what those leaves are, arugula leaves, phew! And so I repeat, you can just as easily top this pizza with meats or switch to veggies of your choice.

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This pizza is as simple as can be, the dough – knead and let rise; the pesto can be made a week in advance; the asparagus blanched/grilled or raw, the Brussels sprouts sautéed in a some butter and oil, the spring onions chopped – roll out dough, spread some pesto, add the veggies, bake and once out of the oven top with arugula and some Parmesan cheese. This will yield one large pizza or two small ones.

Ingredients

Spinach Pea Pesto recipe here.

For the dough

  • All purpose flour/maida- 2 cups + more for dusting the surface
  • Active dry yeast- 2 tsp
  • Sugar- 1 tbsp
  • Salt- 2 tsp
  • Olive oil (or canola/ vegetable oil)- 2 tbsp + 2 tsp for oiling the bowl
  • Warm water- 3/4 cup

For the toppings

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Spring onions
  • Arugula leaves
  • Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Take a large bowl (big enough to hold all the ingredients), pour warm water (not hot) in to the bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes, until the yeast-water becomes foamy. To the yeast-water add the salt, sugar and oil; mix and then add the flour, knead (I used my hands) until it comes together and forms dough.
  2. Grease another large bowl with 1-2 tsp of oil, transfer dough to the greased bowl, and turn it around once so the entire dough is greased. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and keep in a warm place that is free of any draft (I use my oven) to rise. It takes about an hour for the dough to rise and double in size.
  3. Once the dough has risen, punch it down to deflate it, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a little before rolling it out. *can be stored in the freezer at this point.
  4. Preheat oven to 200C, divide dough according to the size of pizza you want. On a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to 2 cm thickness (thicker or thinner depending on your preference), into a round or any shape you like.
  5. Put the rolled out dough onto a baking sheet, spread pesto on the dough, top with asparagus, Brussels sprouts and spring onions. Bake until the bottom and sides of the pizza get crisp and brown. The time will depend on the size and thickness of your dough. Start checking at 15 minutes for smaller, thinner pizzas and about 25 minutes for larger thicker pizzas. Add the arugula leaves and cheese once the pizza is cooked and out of the oven.
  6. For the toppings, I have purposely avoided mentioning quantity, you can use as much or as little of the veggies you like. My asparagus was on the thicker side so I blanched it (put in boiling water for a minute, remove the asparagus and add to ice water) you can also grill it or add it raw. For the Brussels sprouts, I cut it in half and sautéed it (cut side down) in some butter and oil till it browned and seasoned with salt and pepper, you can also blanch or roast it. The spring onions I just sliced.

Notes

*The pizza dough can be frozen and kept for 3 months. Wrap in cling wrap before storing. You can double the recipe and use half and store the other half.

*If your dough is very stick, add a little more flour, and if it’s too dry, add a little more water, a tablespoon at a time.

*You can use whatever veggies you like and cook them as you like. You can also add ham, bacon or meat.

*The spinach pea pesto can be made a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

 

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