Beet and Spring Veggie Pizza

I love making homemade pizza – it’s an easy way to use up leftover meats and veggies and is always fun to make! Usually when I make pizza, I load it up with ingredients that you’d find on a ‘supreme’ pizza – marinara, cheese, peppers, mushrooms, sausage, onions, you get the idea. And while it IS my favorite way to eat pizza, I wanted to try something a little different. First up – a pink crust!

I get local produce from a company called Seasonal Roots, and this week, I received red beets, zucchini, yellow squash, Brussels sprouts, farm fresh eggs, fresh mozzarella, and fresh ricotta – all of these ingredients just screamed ‘Spring pizza’ to me, so that’s exactly what I made. The result was hugely different from my typical supreme-style pizza, but only in the best of ways – light, fresh, and packed with flavor and nutrients. I’ll be making this again!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 8 oz mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan
  • 6 small beets
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 4 small button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/4 onion
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Roast the beets. Heat oven to 500 degrees F. Place your beets on a baking dish, drizzle generously with olive oil, and rub until all beets are coated. Bake beets for 90 minutes, turning beets every 30 minutes to ensure even cooking. As soon as beets come out of the oven, sprinkle with salt.
  2. Peel and puree the beets. Once cool enough to handle, scour beets with a knife, and gently peel. Make sure you do this over the sink or a covered cutting board, and be careful to not get beet juice on your clothes, as it can stain. Once peeled, puree three of the beets with a blender or immersion blender. (I didn’t have my blender on hand, so I mashed the beets in a bowl with a fork. You can also do this, but the puree won’t be 100% smooth.)
  3. Make the dough. In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, mix water and yeast. (You can use active dry yeast; if you do, just be sure to let the yeast and water mixture stand for five minutes.) Mix in the flour, 1 tsp salt, honey, and beet puree. Mix until dough comes together.
  4. Knead the dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Knead about five minutes until smooth and elastic. (If it’s too sticky, add more flour; if it’s too dry, add some water and/or oil). Form dough into a ball, place into a lightly oiled bowl, turn dough once, and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
  5. Prepare the toppings. While the dough is rising, you can prepare your toppings (fun)! Dice the onion, zucchini, yellow squash into about 1/2-inch pieces. Thinly slice the mozzarella, mushrooms, and beets. Cut the stems off the Brussels sprouts, remove any bruised outer leaves, and cut each sprout in half. Sautee the onion, zucchini, yellow squash, and Brussels sprouts in olive oil over medium heat until slightly soft, about five minutes.
  6. Roll out the dough. Once the dough is done rising, transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Roll out with a rolling pin or your hands until the dough is a circle and is about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. (You can also use a wine bottle)! Next, transfer the dough to a greased baking sheet or pizza stone.
  7. Assemble. Start by brushing the crust with olive oil. Sprinkle ricotta and parmesan cheese, and arrange mozzarella slices all over pizza. Add all the cooked veggies and the frozen/fresh peas. (I didn’t cook the peas ahead of time because I wanted them to retain that little “pop” you get when you bite into them.) Do not add the sliced beets yet.
  8. Bake. Bake pizza at 525 degrees F for 30 minutes. (I baked mine for an additional five minutes at 550 degrees for extra crispiness.)
  9. Boil the eggs. While pizza is baking, boil the eggs. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the eggs, and cook on high heat for eight minutes. After eight minutes, rinse eggs under cold water for at least one minute. Once cool enough to handle, peel and slice the eggs.
  10. Top and serve. When the pizza is done, remove from oven, and arrange egg slices and beet slices over the top. Let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh basil leaves, salt and pepper and crushed red pepper (optional). I topped mine with some greens dressed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar for added freshness and some acidity. Enjoy!
Before baking. After taking the photo, I decided to add pepperoni to half the pizza.
Finished Beet and Spring Veggie Pizza!

Cooking is all about experimenting! This was my first time making this, and while I loved it, I have things in mind for next time make it even better:

  1. Puree the beets. I planned on pureeing the beats, but my blender was in the dishwasher, and I was too impatient to wait. Mashing them wasn’t bad, and I actually liked the texture of having small bits of beet in the crust, but I would’ve preferred for the color of the crust to be more even and less splotchy-looking.
  2. Add pesto. I didn’t want a red sauce on this pizza and stand by that choice, but I think this pizza would’ve been better with a little fat and another bold flavor, which pesto brings. I might try baking the pizza with some pesto under the cheese and then drizzling some more on top after it’s baked.
  3. Garnish with celery leaves. I definitely liked the freshness of having dressed greens on top, but I think celery leaves would be an even better option next time because celery leaves are crunchier and also bring a slight bitterness, which I think the pizza would benefit from.

Let me know if you all try making this Spring veggie lovers’ pizza!

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