Friday, 30 May 2014

Homemade Healthy Squash Pizza

You know by now that I do love a good healthy meal. As much as I love eating healthily and feel so much better for it (not to mention the ‘bad-food’ cravings have virtually gone), there’s still one thing that I desperately miss. Pizza. 
Yes.
Pizza pizza pizza. 
It used to be one of, if not the most, favourite meal of mine and I’ve done all I can to avoid it because it’s not the healthiest thing out there now, is it!

I’ve recently been seeing healthy pizza base recipes flying around the internet such as cauliflower bases, quinoa and even a spinach pizza crust. But when I recently read a blog post on wholehearted eats.com (I actually found her on Tumblr), the Incredible Squash Pizza really caught my eye and I wanted to recreate my own. The concept of pizza being made from butternut squash intrigued me.

So one quiet Tuesday evening with a usual pizza craving, Marcus and I decided to try making the squash pizza ourselves with our own little twists here and there. The pizza is gluten free and vegan for those of you with specific diets but Marcus and I added parma ham to ours. You may have read my ‘Healthy Living‘ post where I talk about having a pesto base on a pizza instead of a tomato sauce, which is exactly what this particular pizza has too. Hey, no judging before you try it!

Marcus also vlogged the whole cooking process from start to finish so check that out at the bottom of this post!

This recipe is for one pizza. I found these pizzas so filling that I only managed half so I saved the other half for lunch the next day. It tastes amazing cold too! But if you have a bigger appetite (ahem Marcus) one pizza per person will be perfect.


For 1 Pizza You Will Need:

Ingredients
Base:
1 Butternut Squash
1 Cup Ground Almonds
3/4 Cup Buckwheat Flour
3 tbsp Flaxseed
1 tsp Dried Oregano
A Sprinkle of Salt and Pepper

Pesto Sauce:
1 Cup of Fresh Raw Spinach
Large Handful of Plain Cashew Nuts, about 15-20
1/2 Cup of Fresh Basil
1/2 Lemon, just the juice
A Sprinkle of Salt and Pepper
A good ol’ glug of Virgin Olive Oil, we used about half a cup measurement

Toppings:
This is totally up to you, you can choose any of your favourite pizza toppings!

A selection that I think will pair perfectly with this pizza:
Olives, green or black
Cherry Tomatoes, because they go all squidgey in the oven
Mushrooms
Bell Peppers
Fresh or Dried Chilli
Red Onions
Pine Nuts
Dried Rosemary
Capers
Cooked Chicken
Parma Ham
Fresh Rocket Leaves
Fresh Spinach Leaves
Fresh Coriander
Fresh Basil

Equipment
1 Deep Roasting Tray
Cup Measurements (or convert to grams)
Shallow Baking Tray
Food Processor or Juicer (to make the pesto)
And probably an apron – prepare to get messy!

Instructions

1. Start by washing the butternut squash and slicing it length ways so you have two halves. Preheat the oven to 200C. Spoon out all the seeds and as much pulp as you can from the middle. This is the messy part!


2. Place the two halves downwards in a deep roasting tray and fill with about an inch of water so they are half emerged in the water. Place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes until they feel soft at the prod of a fork. Now you can take the dog for a walk, buy the rest of the ingredients, or if you’re like me, watch an episode of The Vampire Diaries. (Gahh, Stefan, drool, drool, drool).


3. When the butternut squash is cooked, remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes.

4. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of flaxseed with 4 tablespoons of water and set aside until you need it in a few minutes.


5. Now scoop out all the flesh from the squash leaving the skin behind and take 3 cups of the squash into a large mixing bowl. You may want to roughly mash it with the back of the fork if it’s still slightly tough. Ok I lied, THIS is the messy part.


6. Add to the large mixing bowl the ground almonds, buckwheat flour, the soaked flaxseed, salt and pepper, dried oregano, and 1 extra tablespoon of flaxseed. Stir it all together.


7. Line your shallow baking tray with a non-stick baking sheet (like this one) or with parchment paper. Be warned that our second time making these pizzas we used parchment paper and it totally stuck to it! I would recommend using the non-stick teflon baking sheets instead.

Spread the mixture onto the baking tray making sure to get right into the corners and make the edges slightly thicker for the crust. You could also make a round pizza in a round baking tray or shape it round in a large square tray.

Pop into the oven for about 30-35 minutes at the same temperature (200C).


8. While the base is cooking, you can make the pesto sauce. In a food processor, add all the pesto ingredients listed above and pulse until you get a smooth consistency. It may seem like a lot of olive oil but it does all blend together. Set the pesto sauce aside until the base is cooked.


9. When the base is cooked after 30-35 minutes, spread over the pesto sauce. Keep the edges bare to allow a crust. Add your toppings of choice that you want to be cooked because the pizza is going back in the oven. For example, I added the tomatoes, olives and parma ham now and then the leaves I added at the end because I didn’t want them cooked. (On reflection, the parma ham would’ve been better uncooked).

Place the pizza back into the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes, just to get those tomatoes extra juicy!


10. When the 10 minutes is up, drizzle some olive oil over the top, sprinkle with any dried herbs or cracked black pepper and add your raw ingredients such as fresh herbs and leaves.


Marcus’ Vlog:

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