Entirely original recipes are hard to come by — we are all inspired by what our grandmother made for us, or what a good friend brought us when we needed a little pick-me-up.
We have countless variations of pasta sauces, numerous versions of soups and salads, old food-splattered favorite recipes for everything from pot roast to quiche. What I have for you today is a dish I am fairly certain you have never made or tasted before: carrot pizza!
Now please, before you decide this article would be put to better use lining a favorite pet’s cage, hear me out. There are more than just carrots to this pizza that boasts roasted garlic, sweet shallots and crispy cauliflower, though you’ll be delighted by how outstanding those orange beauties become when cooked to caramelized perfection. An added bonus is its subtle nod to my favorite season, Fall, both in the vegetables used and that piney, robust rosemary. This dish proudly proves that vegetarian pizza can most certainly hold its own among that prolific pepperoni, and actually, to my palate, I prefer it to that old standby.
Some might say that pizza isn’t pizza without heavy meats piled on top; to them I say, I don’t carrot all. Give me carrot pizza any day.
Rustic Roasted Vegetable Pizza
Generously serves 4.
1/2 head of cauliflower, florets cut from stalk and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 large cloves of garlic, whole and unpeeled
4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch sticks
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon whole rosemary leaves
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
11 ounces thin refrigerated pizza crust (found with canned biscuits)
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cauliflower, shallots, carrots and garlic with a good drizzle of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and chopped rosemary. Roast, stirring twice, until caramelized at the edges and nearly tender, about 30 minutes. Next, prepare that pretty pizza dough (no one will guess it’s store bought!). Roll out onto parchment paper and slice a 2-inch piece off of one long side. Cut in half lengthwise, then into thirds. Braid each three-piece section together, working quickly. Remember this pizza is called “rustic” — it’s not meant to be perfect! Cut off a 2-inch piece from one of the short sides of the dough, and repeat. Pinch braided pieces onto each edge, cutting off excess dough, as the dough stretches when you braid it. Transfer dough on parchment paper to a baking sheet. Brush dough generously with olive oil (including the braided portion) and bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes (it should not be fully cooked at this point). Remove roasted garlic from the skins and smash, using the side of your knife, to form a paste. Spread roasted garlic paste in an even layer over the whole surface of the dough. Then, top with a layer of mozzarella slices and top that with the roasted vegetables. Push rosemary leaves into the pizza, evenly spaced, and then drizzle the pizza lightly with olive oil. Bake until cheese is melted and dough is golden-brown, about 10 minutes.
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The Rev. Whitney Wilkinson is pastor of Cameron Presbyterian Church.