Growing up, one of the more popular dishes that I saw at potlucks was veggie pizza and it always excited me. It was a cold pizza and it had veggies! And cheese! It tasted fantastic and I always felt a big smug as I was gladly eating up all my veggies while others munched on chips and dip.
Then when I moved out on my own, I looked up the recipe for veggie pizza so that I could make some for Scott and I. This is when I realized that what I thought was healthy was in fact not healthy at all.
Typical “veggie pizza” had a crust made from canned croissants and a sauce made from cream cheese mixed with a packet of ranch dressing. Tons of pre-shredded cheese on top. The only saving grace was that it did actually contain raw veggies but man the other processed foods really bring this pizza way down.
I was bummed because I loved it and Scott loved it but once I realized what exactly it was made from, I stopped making it.
A few weeks ago, we got hit with a really hot spell here in Columbus. It was humid and the temps were in the upper 80s. Basically it was a sticky mess. It also happened to be a Thursday (Pizza Thursdays!) and the thought of heating up the oven and pizza stone was not appealing.
However, pizza still was appealing, so what was I to do?
I remembered the “veggie pizza” from my childhood and decided to remake it, Food Embrace Style.
Andrea’s Chilled Veggie Pizza
- Spelt or Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
- 1 Green Pepper, chunked
- 2 Carrots, chunked
- 1/2 Large Red Onion, chunked
- 1/2 Head of Broccoli, chunked
- 1/2C Greek Yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
- Green Onion, chopped (both white and green parts)
- Shredded Sharp Cheddar
- Olive Oil for brushing (about 1/2 TBSP) and roasting (about 1 TBSP)
- Italian Seasoning
- Garlic Powder
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Ham Cubes (optional)
Preheat oven to 375. When the oven is heated and the dough is ready to be used, grease a cookie sheet either with nonstick spray or olive oil. Light roll out the dough and then transfer to the cookie sheet. Using your hands, spread the dough out until it fills in the entire cookie sheet. Push the dough up the sides so that it fills the entire cookie sheet. Brush with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Place cookie sheet in oven and bake the dough until it’s cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Now heat the oven up to 400. Coat the pepper, carrots, onion, and broccoli with the olive oil and seasoning with. salt, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. This is to taste, use how much you like. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray or olive oil. Place the veggies on the cookie sheet and into the oven. Roast for about 15 minutes or until everything begins to soften. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Once the veggies are cool, put them in a food processor along with the yogurt. Pulse until everything is combined and chunky. Taste, if you think more seasoning needs to be added, this is where you would add more in. Spread this veggie mixture all over the pizza crust until the entire crust is covered.
Top with shredded cheese and green onion. Again the amount is up to you. Cover and place in fridge. Allow to chill at least two hours before serving. Cut and serve chilled.
This pizza hit the spot on that humid Thursday evening. It was a perfectly cool meal full of veggies and whole grains. And of course cheese! Scott’s side had ham cubes on it while my side did not. Next time I’m going to sprinkle on a bit more cheese and green onion.
Shredding your own cheese for this is key. A great sharp cheddar is what brings this dish together and you need that bite from the cheddar to compliment the veggies. Cabot and Tillamook are very good cheddars to check out.
If you’re looking for a more “ranch” taste, add in dill to the seasoning mix and maybe some dried chives. To get a little extra tang, you can also add in 2 oz of goat cheese along with the yogurt. This will result in a slightly creamier topping and will be reminiscent of the cream cheese base in the original version of this pizza.
The best part about this pizza, aside from not having to heat up the kitchen too much, is that it can be made ahead. Even up to a day in advance! Making it perfect for when you’ve got a long day of work ahead of you or just a busy day when you might be too tired too cook at the end of it. Or just go ahead and bring it to your next potluck.
Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!