If you are American, you probably eat pizza all the time. Shoot, you may even eat vegetarian pizza sometimes. Although if you get double-cheese, that pretty much counts as meat. This is not that. This is home-assembled pizza (with a crust mix, I’m not that ambitious on weeknights) that is delicious and filling and actually not terrible for you. Because the sauce is leaves and the meat is vegetables.
You can even use different combinations of vegetables to create alternative delights catering to the tastes of your guests.
That’s right. So many veggies, and so few preparation steps. You can’t not love it. Assembly instructions for the pictured pizza as well as even more delicious veggie alternatives below:
Veggie Pizza Ingredients
1 pre-mixed crust packet per pizza (I’m sure Jiffy makes a great crust mix [Chelsea, MI, represent!], but I usually use whatever they sell at the local organic grocery store.)
2 tsp olive oil (1tsp for pre-risen crust, 1tsp for assembly)
dried spices for crust: basil, oregano, thyme, black pepper
Veggie for “sauce” layer: 2-3 redskin potatoes or one handful of leafy greens
6oz mozzarella (PLEASE, I am begging you: get the fresh kind, not the shredded kind)
Veggies for toppings: about 1.5 cups of whatever you’d like to see on a pizza, right before putting said pizza in your mouth
Step 1: Rise your crust. No matter what the crust mix packet says, after you mix in your hot water, let the dough sit for at least half an hour to rise a little somewhere hotter than 70F. If your kitchen runs on the cold side in the winter, you can simmer some water and place your bowl over top of the pot (turn the burner off after water starts to simmer). Also, I usually mix a couple spices into my crust: Oregano, thyme, and/or cracked peppercorns are all good choices.
Step 2: Prep it! I chop everything up and put it on a plate beforehand for easy assembly (see above picture). This also helps you realize when you have enough toppings and it’s time to stop chopping. NOTE: Potatoes, onions, hot peppers, and garlic slices are all excellent options, but I recommend sautéing these beforehand because your pizza will be cooking for a very short time. If you choose to buck the title of this post and go for meat, that should also be thoroughly cooked as well.
If you are nervous about making your own flavor combinations, stick with things that you’ve had in the past and enjoyed. I will tell you up front that the combination of mozzarella and thinly-sliced zucchini is slightly sweet and delicate. I will also tell you that redskin potato slices go well with everything.
Step 3: Make it! Now is when you should preheat your oven–450F to 500F is ideal for turning out a nice crunchy crust. See above picture for what crust should look like: I usually start by pulling it out a little bit (if it rose correctly it should be somewhat elastic, but that’s a good sign!), and then plop it down in the middle of my baking sheet and push outward toward the edges. If you tear it, that’s OK, just mold it back together because you don’t really want your cheese and olive oil seeping through the middle.
Now brush the crust with about a teaspoon of olive oil (if your “brush” is a paper towel you might need a little more, but don’t overdo it). Start with whatever your “sauce” veggie will be; I recommend either chopped greens of some sort or potatoes. Then pile the rest of your veggies on and finish it off with cheese. I find mozzarella to be crucial to a good pizza, but you can make it half parmesan or goat cheese if you’re feeling adventurous. Since this is a thin-crust type recipe, you can put your toppings all the way out to the edge, but beware if your cheese is very close to the edge it might spill over and burn a little on your pan.
Step 4: Cook it! This is the hardest part. Just kidding. Make sure your oven is fully preheated, then put your pizza on the second-lowest rack for 11-13 minutes. You’ll be able to see the bottom of the crust edges browning slightly, and then you’ll know it’s done. Alternately, try to cut the pizza toward the middle and if it’s still soft, give it another minute.
Step 5: Eat it!
Now then, wasn’t that easy? If you’re still not convinced, here are a few pictures of pizzas I’ve made over the past couple months using this technique. Now get healthy and eat some pizza!