Pizza Night!

pizza roasted squash sprouts

This is our favorite vegetarian pizza–it is filling enough with the toasted nuts, sweet roasted squash, and sautéed greens that you won’t even miss the pepperoni.  The ingredient list includes roasted winter squash, caramelized onions, sautéed brussels sprouts (I know it sounds odd, but the sweet onions balance out the sometimes bitter sprouts) a good couple handful of greens, dollops of ricotta, and topped with toasted nuts.

I usually make this with roasted acorn squash (when it’s on sale I’ll buy a ton and roast it in the oven, scoop out the flesh and keep it in freezer bags to pull out for pizza or casseroles), but I didn’t have any, and instead used leftover roasted butternut squash I needed to use up.  I also normally use walnuts, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I used pecans, although i think pistachios would have been good, too.

The plain cheese pizza is for our boys…I am waiting for the day they are going to eat us out of house and home.


VEGETARIAN PIZZA

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 30-60 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy to medium, depending on how many ingredients you have ready to go
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As noted, you can put whatever veggies you have on hand–yummy combo ideas: roasted broccoli, sliced red onion, mixed greens with ricotta; thinly sliced zucchini and potatoes with fresh mozzarella.  The difficulty level would be “easy” if you already have the pizza dough and toppings ready; if you need to make the dough and prep the toppings, you’ll spend a bit more time making pizza, and the difficulty level would increase.  The ingredient list below reflects the amounts you will need for four pizzas, all with the same veggie topping.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 batch of your favorite pizza dough (mine usually makes 4 pizzas for us)
  • 2 cups of your favorite red sauce
  • 2 cups roasted winter squash
  • 2 onions, caramelized
  • 2 cups brussels sprouts, halved and sautéed
  • 4 cups mixed greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard, etc.)
  • 8 oz ricotta
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • pizza seasoning

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and place one oven rack on the uppermost rungs, and one on the bottom.
  2. Section your pizza dough into four equal balls.  Roll one ball to a thin crust to fit your pizza pan and spread 4-5 spoonfuls of red sauce in a thin layer.
  3. Break up toppings (roasted squash, caramelized onions, brussels sprouts) by hand and evenly spread over pizza.  The mixed greens will look like a lot when you put them on the pizza, but they will cook down, so feel free to put a liberal 2-3 handfuls on your pizza.  Dollop with fresh ricotta.
  4. I always top my pizza with the super-yummy-pizza-secret-ingredients:  drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with pizza seasoning.  I find some sort of pizza seasoning or Tuscany seasoning, or something of that sort for a few dollars at TJ Maxx.
  5. Bake on the top rack until the toppings and cheese are just starting to turn golden.  Gently loosen pizza from the pan and slide onto the bottom rack, without the pan.  This will help your crust get nice and crispy.
  6. After pizza is done, pull out of the oven (putting it right back on the pan works great), and sprinkle with toasted walnuts.

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pizza seasoning

Poached Eggs on Toast

poached eggs on toast

My favorite breakfast when I was little was poached eggs on buttered toast.  Something about that salt-sprinkled cracked egg yolk running over crispy crunchy, sweet, buttered toast–warm, yummy, and comforting.  Whenever I hear those famous chef-folk talk about “umami”, it’s always a somewhat nebulous mystery to me–what do they mean by umami?!  Why do they use the word in the definition?!–that doesn’t help anyone understand what they are talking about when they are licking their lips after downing sea urchin, soy sauce, and other “ocean-y” tasting things.  Is umami like drinking the ocean, or what?!

And then I remembered the salty, homey, earthy taste of poached eggs on buttered toast–and I realized, in my opinion, that’s what umami is!  Not the ocean per se, but that otherwise indescribably melty, homey, hint of salt flavor.

And when you’re all grown up, it’s only right to put something green on that toast, right?!  Homemade toasted 10-grain whole wheat bread topped with smashed lime avocado, sautéed asparagus, fresh tomato slices, poached eggs, and grapefruit sections on the side.


POACHED EGGS WITH LIME AVOCADO AND FRESH VEGGIES ON TOAST

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 20mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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You can top your toast with any veggies you’d like–peas, broccoli, etc.; I had fresh tomatoes and asparagus on hand so that’s what I used.

INGREDIENTS

  • bread of choice for toasting
  • 1-2 avocados (1 will be sufficient for 2 slices of toast)
  • 1-2 limes, juiced
  • 1 garden fresh tomato
  • 15-20 asparagus stalks
  • 1 egg per piece of toast

DIRECTIONS

  1. Bring a pot of water to a slow simmer over medium heat.
  2. While water is heating, first, toast bread and butter slices.  Next, trim and sauté the asparagus stalks in olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. The water should be ready for poaching the eggs at this point.  It’s true what they say–add a splash of vinegar and it will keep the egg white tighter while poaching.  Gently drop the eggs in the water and watch so they don’t over-poach, maybe 3-4 minutes total.
  4. While eggs are poaching, shuck the avocados and smash in a bowl with the lime juice, add salt and pepper to taste.  Slice fresh tomatoes.
  5. Layer toast: lime avocado, sautéed asparagus, one slice of tomato, poached egg, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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