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Garden Pizza

March 30, 2010

Massachusetts is currently in a state of emergency (cue Jay Z song here) with all the rain and flooding we have been having. And though I would much rather stay out of this wet mess, a friend from New York is in town (yes, another friend 🙂 ) and I cannot say “no” to a meet up and a drink! As long as its indoors.

I have a confession: I don’t believe that all pizza is bad for you. If you think about it, a slice of pizza can contain all of nature’s food groups, along with a wealth of vitamins and nutrients. If you make the right pizza making decisions: a thin, whole grain crust, lighter cheese, and a ton of vegetables. A pizza, in my eyes, can be a health nuts best friend.

The problem is that we usually think of pizza as over-the-top and grease filled indulgence. Of course you want to dab the cheese with your napkin. Of course you cannot see the tomato sauce under the layers. Of course the crust is also cheese filled. And of course this is all processed by a fast food joint or frozen bakery. I obviously am aware that amazing, home made pizza restaurants exist, but the average person does not order from there on a Friday night. But I believe that if, instead of ordering pizza, America made their pizza on “pizza night” we would be taking a step towards making a healthier, Western diet.

Tonight’s pizza is my representation of that philosophy. Much to Z’s chagrin, who would (as usual) prefer his slice with meatballs or some Italian smoked something. As I was layering on the vegetables I got the usual question of “where’s the meat?”. But one taste of this baby, and I felt like I was in a real, gourmet Italian pizzeria. And I think Z agreed.

Garden Pizza with Shaved Manchego Cheese

1 serving of pizza dough (we use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Crust)

1 serving of Z’s homemade pizza sauce

1 red pepper, sliced thinly

1 onion, sliced thinly

1 zucchini, sliced thinly

1 clove garlic, minced

1.5 cups light mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 ounce Manchego cheese

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon oregano

Salt and pepper

Fresh cilantro to garnish

Preheat the oven to 450*

Make your pizza dough and press out thinly in a rectangular baking pan. Put in the oven for 15 minutes.

In a frying pan, add the onion, garlic, and red pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Add the oregano, basil, and salt. When the vegetables have begun to soften, add the zucchini and cook for 3-5 minutes. Don’t over cook them, zucchini cooks quickly!

Spread the pizza sauce over the crust, then a layer of mozzarella cheese and then the vegetables. Gently shave some Manchego cheese over the top.

Put in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese bubbles and the vegetables have begin to brown.

Serve with some more Manchego cheese and fresh cilantro. Bask in the vegetable goodness.

Taking a bite of this was really like biting into a garden. The vegetables maintained their crunch, while stir frying them before allowed their flavors to blend and enhance each other. The crust was deliciously thin and crispy; I am a huge advocate of baking your crust before putting the toppings on. No more soggy crust for me! The cilantro and Manchego added the last bang of fresh flavor. A medley of delicious, healthy ingredients. In addition, I cannot say how much fun I have making pizza at home. Deciding your toppings, adding some chili flakes here, maybe some extra garlic powder, the experience of making this meal is so enjoyable and easy for such an amazing outcome.

And on a last note: there is nothing like red peppers on a pizza. 🙂

What are your favorite pizza toppings? Do you ever make pizza at home?

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2010 10:56 pm

    This garden pizza looks too good for words!! YUM!

  2. March 31, 2010 5:55 am

    I love manchego cheese – that looks so fresh and delicious!!

  3. March 31, 2010 7:45 am

    I totally agree. Pizza doesn’t have to be bad for you. It can have ever food group in it– a complete meal.

    I like pretty much anything on pizza except for greasy stuff like bacon or sausage or pepperoni.

    My local Italian club makes thin crust brick oven pizza. The best one is just the baked crust sliced open and stuffed with nutella then sprinkled with icing sugar. Does that count as pizza?

  4. March 31, 2010 8:30 am

    I totally agree, pizza can be healthy, and is a great dinner choice! We have pizza once a week for dinner with homemade wheat crust and tons of veggie toppings.

  5. March 31, 2010 8:40 am

    I AM SO GLAD YOU SAID IT! Patients always fear asking about pizza, but it can actually be really great if you modify a bit. As you said, it includes lots of food groups and can be lightened up so easily! This made my day 🙂

  6. March 31, 2010 8:43 am

    i’m with you on this one 🙂 my latest pizza is still in my mind… i topped it with some roasted garlic goat cheese, caramelized shallots, and sauteed musrhooms and spinach, yum!!!

  7. March 31, 2010 8:47 am

    mangchego is SO SO SO GOOD!! i love it!! i also cannot believe all thisr ain we are having in boston! I can’t wait for the weekend, its going to be 75!!

  8. March 31, 2010 9:01 am

    Perfect pie, right there!!! Second to peanut butter and fluff sandwiches, pizza is my favorite food. I’m a real afficionado on the subject of pizza, and it truly seems like you just delivered the best looking, tastiest sounding pizza around! Manchego? Really? Amazing!
    I love veggies on a pizza- the way the oven crisps their outsides while maintaining the wet, chewy interior, mmmmmm…..
    And I completely agree that pizza, in its true essence, is not bad for you. It is a beautiful and complex mix of ingredients!

  9. March 31, 2010 11:16 am

    I totally agree with everything in this post! And we love using Bob Red Mill’s GF pizza crust to make our pizzas. So delicious! I don’t think I’ve ever had manchego cheese, but I’m quite sure I’d love it! 😉

  10. March 31, 2010 11:24 am

    I make pizza for Ali and Maya using the TJ’s pizza dough. Seriously good stuff! They like it pretty simple with mozzarella but I drop a bit of spinach in and disguise it in the sauce. 🙂

  11. March 31, 2010 11:31 am

    oh yes yes yes! Pizza is delicious (when homemade!). I usually do mine with tons of onions & peppers (and sometimes broccoli) lots of tomatoes or marinara and a hint of cheese (or even without). Deliciousness. Yours looks perfect

  12. March 31, 2010 11:36 am

    Wow! This looks great. I love homemade pizza. I’ve never tried a “garden” pizza before, but I might after reading this pose! Thanks for sharing!

  13. peanutbutterfingers permalink
    March 31, 2010 12:32 pm

    i looove pizza! my fav topping is cheese… goat cheese, mozzarella, cheddar… gimme all of it! 🙂

    i also really love black olives.

  14. March 31, 2010 4:34 pm

    Popped in from Reeni’s to say hi! I love pizza!

  15. March 31, 2010 4:52 pm

    Mmmmanchego cheese! I haven’t had it in ages, but man do I love it :).

  16. March 31, 2010 5:09 pm

    Love that pizza and love all of those colors! I recently tried Manchego cheese and it was delicious. I can only imagine how good it would taste on pizza. YUM! Nice work, Soph!

  17. March 31, 2010 7:50 pm

    Mmmmm…I love veggie pizzas! This looks delicious!

  18. March 31, 2010 8:14 pm

    Home-made pizza is the best! I make it about once a week. This looks excellent! I wonder – how is that crust? I had a gluten free crust that wasn’t so good – very dry and crumbly.

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