Alternative Easter Eats – Spring Veggie Pizza Recipe
Relief!!! Spring is finally here… Oh the absolute joy of pottering in the garden without a coat, birds twittering in the sunshine and signs of fresh green foliage breaking free through Winter’s spiky stems. Bring on that vitamin D!
For this season’s recipe… at a time of major choccy and cakey indulgence we decided to go against the grain and celebrate Easter with something colourful and intensely savoury. The humble and beautiful vegetable.
Before we start, a warning…. This ‘pizza’ does not resemble anything like a classic Italian, thin and crispy dough, stringy cheese Margarita masterpiece.
It’s more of a pizza tart, with a softer texture. A gluten and grain free base topped with an intense tomato sauce and plenty of colourful veggies on top to please the eyes as well as the belly. It’s surprisingly filling too. With nutritious veg crammed into every layer, it will leave you feeling positively angelic, especially after wolfing down two cream eggs and half a Lindt gold bunny!
It’s one of those loose and laid back recipes you can change up depending on mood or what you have in the fridge. There are eggs in the base ingredients but it can be made vegan easily, see below. This recipe a great balance of fibre, good carbs, protein and healthy fats. Not to mention a high vitamin and mineral content from all those fantastic veggies.
This pizza has become a regular in our home, and works really well for a leftovers lunch the next day.
You can pick up ready riced cauli and broccoli easily in most supermarkets which is a great time saver, however if you are happy to do it then obviously it’s cheaper and fresher to make your own in a food processor.
We used a rectangular enamel roasting tin approximately 34cm x 27.5cm and shape the pizza base to fit it, but if you prefer you can easily freeform and shape the base yourself on a flat baking sheet.
Preheat oven to 180C
Serves 4 (or 2 with leftovers)
250g cauliflower rice – approx
250g broccoli rice
100g ground almonds
3 f/r eggs
2 tbsp chia seeds
N.B For the vegan version – follow the recipe above but using ‘chia eggs’. Take 3 tbls chia and 1 tbsp ground flax/linseed combined with 7-8 tbsp water. Stir well, leave for a few minutes and add to the mix in place of the eggs.
1 tin passata or chopped tomatoes
1 large carrot or 1/4 butternut squash – grated
1 stick celery – grated
1 clove garlic – crushed
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
small handful of fresh basil – chopped
chili flakes to taste
splash of apple cider vinegar
olive oil and a knob of butter
Pick and mix a small but varied selection of about but don’t overswamp the top of the pizza. Think rainbow colour and texture.
red onion slices
fennel shavings and frondy bits
sliced aubergine strips
slices of avocado
spinach leaves – torn
grated or ribboned courgette
chopped broccoli florets
kale – thin strips
cherry tomato slices
leftover roasted veggies
extra basil leaves
fresh or dried chilli
cooked chicken pieces
parma ham or salami
crumbled goats cheese or feta
parmesan or pecorino shavings
vegan cashew cheese
fresh pesto/vegan pesto
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling and a sprinkle of fresh basil
Stir together the crushed garlic, broccoli and cauliflower rice until combined, then add the almonds, baking powder and chia seeds. Finally mix in the beaten eggs and season the mixture with salt and pepper. For the vegan version see the ingredients section. Press down the ‘dough’ with your hands – into your tin (lined with baking parchment) or spread out and shape straight on to a lined baking sheet if you’d rather go freestyle (if you don’t use the paper the base will stick). Try and shape the edges a bit higher so you get a bit of crispy crust (in contrast to the softer base). Bake for around 15- 20 minutes until firm and light golden in colour.
Leave to cool slightly whilst you make the tomato sauce.
Grate the carrot, celery and garlic. Heat some olive oil and a little butter in a pan on a medium heat and stir fry the grated veg. After 5 mins add the tinned tomatoes/ passata, the apple cider vinegar, the tomato paste, oregano, chilli flakes, s&p. Simmer gently for at least 20 minutes. When thickened and rich, stir in some fresh basil. Leave to cool slightly whilst you prep the veg and topping ingredients.
Slather on a generous amount of sauce over your pizza base. If you have any leftover you can freeze it ready for your next pizza.
Now for the toppings… you can go crazy with creativity here. It is important to make sure that all the veg you use are ether chopped small or sliced thinly otherwise they won’t cook properly.
Sprinkle on your protein and/or cheese, and drizzle with a little olive or avocado oil before putting the pizza back in the oven for anything between 15-25 minutes depending on the fierceness of your oven.
Once it’s sizzling and out of the oven, you’ll need to very carefully lift the pizza out of its tin by the baking parchment edges and place onto a wooden serving board or large plate. The tricky bit is getting the pizza off of the paper (this is advisable or the base will sweat and go soggy). It’s easier to rip the paper into pieces before gently sliding it off from underneath the pizza.
Just before serving tear up some extra basil and drizzle on some fresh pesto or extra virgin olive oil.
The pizza is basically a meal in itself but you could always serve with a few sweet potato wedges and a side salad if you want to stretch it further.
Enjoy and feel quietly smug.