As much as I love sampling foods from various cultures if I had to choose one thing to eat for the rest of my life it would be pizza.  But it would not be the same kind of pizza all the time. That is the beauty of this versatile food.

In many cases, when covered with high calorie toppings, pizza can be an unhealthy dish.  But at home, with some ingenuity and experimenting with nutritious toppings, you can create your own healthier version. I came across a pumpkin pizza recipe about a month ago and have been perfecting my own version.  This holiday season my own pumpkin pizza hit the party circuit and it was a big hit (not to mention the star of some delicious dinners at home).

Easy pizzas like this are perfect weeknight meals, and when accompanied by a simple salad, the dinner is satisfying and oh so good!

You can always try making your own crust or buy one that is pre baked and just needs to be reheated.  I have discovered several great ready-made whole wheat doughs that are very tasty and easy enough for a weeknight meal.  (I think making your own crust from dough tastes better, too) And you can have this dinner ready in about half an hour.

(Note:  Cook time can vary depending on the dough you buy.  The particular dough I use requires 8 minutes of precooking. You then dress the pizza and cook for an additional 10 minutes.)

Pumpkin Pizza
Serves 4-6

Whole wheat pizza dough (Make your own or use store bought)
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoons Aleppo pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups canned pumpkin
1 cup shredded Gouda
½ cup grated Parmesan
15-20 sage leaves
Vegetable oil, for frying sage
¼ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 °F.

Roll the dough out onto a greased/sprayed baking sheet and cook for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a medium pan, add the onions, and cook over medium heat until soft, about 6 minutes.  Add the nutmeg, Aleppo pepper, salt and pepper, stir, and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and mix in the pumpkin.

Spread the pumpkin mixture onto the dough, sprinkle with the gouda and parmesan cheeses.  Bake for 10 minutes and remove from the oven.

While the pizza is cooking, heat the oil in a small pan. Add a few sage leaves at a time and fry for approximately 20 seconds.  Remove the leaves from the pan and drain the leaves on paper towels. Repeat this process until all leaves are fried.

Wipe any remaining oil from the pan, return it to medium heat, and add the walnuts.  Cook the walnuts for approximately 5 minutes or until they begin to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat.

Arrange the sage leaves evenly on top of pizza, sprinkle with the walnuts and parsley.  Slice and serve.


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