It’s one of those universal things. You can make it any time of year and put anything on it. You can eat it hot or cold for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can even make special pizzas for specific meals! Pretty much anything that starts with a crust and gets topped with whatever you’re in the mood to eat counts as a pizza.
I’m sure there are pizza purists out there who would disagree with me, but I’m of the opinion that pizza is a wonderfully nebulous, adaptable food. Which is why, when I recently found myself in possession of a rather nice haul of seasonal veggies, this recipe for Roasted Eggplant & Chickpea Pizza was born.
I’m one of those people who never tires of summer squashes. When zucchini and yellow squash start coming out of the woodwork this time of year, I eat them happily and in quantity. Eggplant is a rarer indulgence, but I love it when I can get my hands on it. Usually when I have this kind of veggie combination in my fridge, it winds up as chili, curry or an Italian-themed saute. This time, I was all about the pizza.
I started out by roasting all the veggies with a touch of balsamic vinegar and some black pepper. It took a lot of baking sheet space, but it was totally worth the mess. (Warning: This pizza generates a lot of dishes!)
While those were cooking, I spread out a batch of whole wheat black bean dough (courtesy of the ever-amazing Heart Healthy Pizza) for the crust and pre-baked it for a few minutes to start crisping it up. Then it got sprinkled it with nutritional yeast, garlic powder and some Italian spices before adding a layer of fresh tomatoes and some chopped mushrooms.
That went back in the oven to finish baking while I added some chickpeas to the roasting veggies. The final touch was to spread the vegetable mixture out on top of the tomatoes and mushrooms. And eat it, of course.
If you time it right, the tomato-mushroom base and the roasted veggies should come out of the oven at the same time. If not, that’s okay! You still wind up with a tasty pizza covered in colorful layers of seasonal goodness. Start by whipping up your favorite dough recipe and get everything else ready while it’s rising. Making a pizza “from the ground up” takes some work, but the time flies by and the rewards are delicious.
- [b]For the base[/b]
- 1 recipe of your favorite pizza dough
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- Italian seasoning
- garlic powder (optional)
- 1 large tomato, sliced
- 6 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, diced small
- [b]For the roasted veggies[/b]
- 1 large zucchini, halved and sliced lengthwise
- 1 large summer squash, halved and sliced lengthwise
- 1 large eggplant, sliced into rounds
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 15.5oz can, drained & rinsed)
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick mats. Arrange the squashes and eggplant in a single layer. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with pepper to taste. Roast for 15 minutes, flip, and roast for 5 minutes more. Add the chickpeas on top of the veggies and roast for 10 minutes more.
- While the veggies are roasting, lightly grease a pizza pan (or another baking sheet). Roll out your dough to the desired thickness. Pop it in the oven and cook for 5 minutes. Remove and add the nutritional yeast and optional spices. Arrange the tomato slices over the crust and sprinkle the mushrooms evenly on top. Return to the oven and cook for 15 more minutes.
- Remove the pizza and the veggies from the oven when done. Arrange the roasted veggies and chickpeas in layers on top of the tomatoes and mushrooms. Slice, eat and enjoy!
But don’t stop there…
Pizza loaded with veggies is often surprisingly low in calories, which led me to play around with ideas for a side salad to fill in the gaps. Since I already had half the farmer’s market roasting in the oven, I went with a salad that mixed fruit and greens. Flipping through cookbooks for inspiration led me to a combination of arugula, apples and blueberries. The slightly spicy bite of arugula offsets the sweetness of the fruit, and a simple dressing of lemon juice and maple syrup adds a bright, tangy note. This would also be a good salad to eat on a morning when it’s way too hot for oatmeal.
- ~[b]For the salad[/b]
- 2 cups arugula leaves, lightly packed
- 1/3 cup fresh blueberries
- one small apple, diced
- [b]For the dressing[b]
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- Place the arugula in a bowl. Top with blueberries and apples. Pour the dressing over the top and dig in!
So there you have it: pizza with the works, literally. No need for cheese substitutes or fancy store-bought ingredients–just straight up vegetables with a few simple seasonings. And it’s amazing.
What do you think of the larger images in this post? Do they help visualize the recipe better or are they just distracting? Let me know in the comments!