Spinach and Pesto Pizza

I’ve been insanely busy these past couple weeks with end-of-term school work and apartment hunting, which partially explains my lack of frequent posts lately. Next month, I’ll be relocating for the third time in as many years to beautiful Toronto from the numbingly homogenized suburbs that are, more often than not, the bane of my existence. Since I’ll be finished full-time studies this semester, the move should be indefinite and not just a summer fling like in years past. I’m excited to once again be able to do the following things much more easily: 1) ride my bike to one of the many farmers’ markets in the area, 2) drink local draught beers with friends in bars, 3) rent DVDs from Queen Video or Suspect, 4) look for weird and cool shit in Chinatown, 5) choose to eat from any of the many vegan restaurants whenever I don’t feel like cooking, and 6) just generally be closer to many more things that are awesome and not sucky.

Anyway, onto the pizza. Pizza rules. And you certainly don’t need cheese for it to rule. A few nights ago, I made this same pizza for a super cool vegan lady named Lora. She totally liked it. I served it alongside a roasted pear and butternut squash quinoa salad, since she had never tried quinoa… I know, right?! Never! It’s cool, guys, she’s a relatively new vegan, so it’s all good. The good thing is she ended up liking the quinoa a lot.

Every time I’ve made pizza dough from scratch it hasn’t really turned out all that spectacular, so I used a pre-made dough for this recipe. Luckily, there’s a family-owned bakery across the street from my house that makes and sells fresh pizza dough everyday. It’s good stuff. If you’re not making it from scratch either, please do yourself a favour and look for fresh dough from a bakery before going to your the grocery store’s freezer section. I used cornmeal to keep the dough from sticking while baking, but you could just as easily use flour. Although, cornmeal gives it a good texture and when the grains toast in the oven they kind of smell and taste like popcorn. I’m into it.

The pesto recipe here is pretty versatile. It only makes about 1/3 cup, which is certainly enough for a large pizza, but if you want to use it for other stuff, just double up the recipe. You can toss it with cooked pasta or use it as a sandwich spread.

For the pesto:
1 tablespoon pine nuts
2 tablespoons walnuts
2 cups fresh parsley, loosely packed
1½ cups fresh basil, loosely packed
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. In a skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat, toast the pine nuts and walnuts until fragrant and just beginning to brown. Don’t burn them!
2. Put the parsley, basil, toasted nuts, garlic, salt, and black pepper into a food processor and pulse a few times until combined and the nuts are broken up well.
3. With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil.
4. Remove pesto mixture into a small bowl. Add the lemon juice and mix well. If needed, season to taste with a tiny bit more salt and black pepper.
Makes: about 1/3 cup

For pizza:
1 pizza dough
Cornmeal, for dusting
Roasted red pepper, sliced
Kalamata olives, pitted, sliced or halved
Spinach, washed
Sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1. Preheat oven 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Dust your pizza pan (or stone) well with the corn meal so it doesn’t stick while cooking. Stretch out the dough to fit your pan or stone. You can dredge the dough in the corn meal a bit while stretching if it sticks to your hands too much. Cover the top of the dough with most of the pesto, leaving about 1 inch for a crust. Add as many roasted red peppers and olives as you want and bake for 25 minutes.
3. Remove from oven and add an even layer of spinach to the pizza. Top with the sun-dried tomatoes and cook for another 8 minutes (if you want you can also brush the crust with a bit of olive oil before putting back into the oven).
4. Before slicing and serving, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, season to taste with some black pepper, and add the rest of the fresh pesto in little dollops all over the pizza.


1 Response to “Spinach and Pesto Pizza”

  1. 1 joe simpson April 28, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    i don’t know how i missed this one. gonna try this shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit

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My name is Ross. I'm a food loving vegan and these are some of my recipes. I'm also the owner of Hot Beans vegan takeout in Kensington Market, Toronto. Check out my 'about' page for more info. Enjoy!

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All images and recipes (unless otherwise noted) Copyright © Ross Corder and Vegan Eats Blog, 2009-2013. All rights reserved. Please do not re-post or otherwise duplicate without permission. Thanks! Also, the "gluten-free" recipe tag is meant primarily for cataloging purposes and does not necessarily ensure that the recipe is completely gluten-free. Be careful to read the labels of any pre-packaged products to ensure that they are indeed gluten-free!

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