Once, I used to imagine that pizza perfection means loads of melted mozzarella and a quality tomato sauce. Well, people change and so does their taste. Today I can make a cauliflower pizza crust, top it with some greens, chickpea and some nutritional yeast and really enjoy it! It’s been a while since I ceased thinking of pizza with guilt, as I learned to turn it into a really healthy treat to be enjoyed by everyone in the family.
Autumn is my favorite time to experiment with toppings – all the goodies from the farmers’ market, all those (always too many) roasted veggies and all those dark green leaves in season call for a gathering on a delicious slice of crusty pizza.
This autumn brings together all my favorite fall ingredients – pumpkin, red pepper and kale. The combination is a classic for fall salads an curries so I wondered how would they do as pizza topping? They really did well!
The creaminess an sweetness of roasted pumpkin, the smoky flavor of roasted red pepper, the earthy taste of those deep green Lacinato kale leaves – everything came perfectly together.
Pumpkin is the superstar of the season and I found myself adding it to mostly everything, including the spiced tomato sauce I made a while ago for some lentil balls.
It adds a nice sweetness to all your dishes while also improving their nutritional values. Eating pumpkin, with all its varieties, is the easiest way to build your antioxidant stock for the cooler months to come.
This humble vegetable is a way more than a starchy produce and comes with so many not-to-overlook health benefits. Its carotenoid concentrations place pumpkin in Top 10 beta-carotene antioxidant-richest foods, and their diversity is really impressive, making it a great addition to your diet routine.
And did you know that beta-carotene concentrations actually increase when stocking pumpkins for several months? That’s because they are slowly transferred from their skin to the flesh. Although it’s considered a sugar-loaded vegetable, the GI of pumpkin is considered rather low because of the presence of the soluble fiber pectin, which can actually contribute to lowering blood sugar.
Kale and every other dark leafy greens are the one vegetable that should be eaten on a daily basis. They support the liver detoxification, as they are packed with both carotenoids and flavonoids antioxidants, vitamin K and omega 3 fats, reducing the oxidative stress, chronic inflammation and boosting the immune system.
A little extra touches, such as pickled red onions and pomegranate seeds turned the kale, pumpkin and red pepper pizza combo into a real delish. You can also use crumble goat cheese as a topping, like I did, or keep it on the vegan side.
Want to experiment more with healthy pizza toppings and crusts? Here are some of my favorites: Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Kale, The Very Green Vegan Flatbread Pizza, or the Chickpea Crust Pizza with Greens Galore.
Vegetarian Pizza with My Favorite Autumn Toppings
- For the Crust
- 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tbsp dried yeast
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2/3 cups warm water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp corn meal
- For the Toppings
- 1 cup roasted pumpkin cubes
- 2 roasted bell pepper cut into thin stripes
- 5 Lacinato kale leaves roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup goat cheese crumbled
- 1/4 cup lightly toasted walnuts
- 5-6 pickled onion rings
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 tbsp tomato passata
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 pomegranate seeds only
- Combine sugar, yeast and water into a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes, until the yeast is dissolved.
- Add the flour and salt into a large bowl, pour the yeast mixture over, add the olive oil and use a fork to combine.
- Transfer the mixture onto a floured surface and knead until you obtain an elastic dough (about 5 minutes). Add 1 tbsp more flour if the mixture is too wet.
- Transfer the dough into the bowl, cover the bowl with a clean towel and let raise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
- Roll the pizza dough into a thin circle or oval shape.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, sprinkle it with the corn meal, then add the pizza dough.
- Evenly spread the passata onto the the pizza dough, then add the chopped kale, pumpkin, goat cheese, garlic and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, top with walnuts, pomegranate and pickled onion.
- Drizzle with honey and serve warm.