Autumn Pizza with a Tuscan Pumpkin Sauce

Have I really not posted a pizza recipe yet?

Consider this a formal introduction:

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Pizza is one of my favorite foods. Making a pie that is vegan-friendly, however, can be a challenge. One does not simply omit cheese and have a delicious end result! I was determined to create a savory, flavorful pizza that was full of plant power and would please vegans and non-vegans alike.

Additionally, I have been VERY curious about the Trader Joe’s frozen cauliflower crust. Not that there is anything wrong with a plain wheat base of course; I just wanted to mix it up. The idea of not having to knead/wait for dough to rise was quite appealing. Important note: the ingredient list on this brand does not show any non-vegan ingredients. Once I got home, though, I noticed that the crust may contain “scant traces of milk.” So if you’re a very strict vegan, you may want to use a traditional crust.

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Of course I dented the box before I took the photo…

I never ate frozen pizza growing up, but I was pleased to see this crust has no junky ingredients. It bakes up in just 20 minutes too.

I used a pumpkin base, but I could see butternut squash puree also working well. If you don’t feel like pizza but still crave these fall flavors, pasta is an equally equipped vehicle for the sauce.

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Toppings are also flexible! I used kale, caramelized onions, and apples. Alternatives include: broccolini, red onion, mushrooms, etc. Whatever you have in the fridge basically.

This entire recipes come together in 30 minutes! It is loosely based on recipes from Chef Chloe, Minimalist Baker, and Detoxinista.

Ingredients

1 Trader Joe’s frozen cauliflower crust, or pizza crust of choice

For sauce:

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1/4 onion(reserve the rest for caramelized toppings)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup squash puree (I used canned pumpkin)
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, or tomato puree
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (optional, for creaminess)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh sage (optional)

For pizza toppings:

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 3/4 onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 bunch kale
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • Cinnamon and salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Cashew parmesan

Method:

Sauce:

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion for five minutes, until golden.
  2. Add minced garlic and mix, heating for one more minute until fragrant.
  3. Add squash puree, tomatoes, water, salt, cinnamon, maple syrup, and optional coconut milk. Bring to a boil.The sauce should be pourable but not too runny.
  4. Let simmer for 10 minutes more, so flavors meld. Remove from heat and add sage.

Crust:

  1. Follow instructions for crust of choice, or make your own. Here’s a recipe idea!

Toppings:

  1. Using the rest of your onion from earlier, heat in olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Sauté for 20 minutes over low/medium heat, stirring every now and then to insure the onions do not burn. Add more oil or water if they get too dry.
  2. Once onions are almost done, add kale to skillet and stir for a couple minutes more. Remove from pan.
  3. Add apple slices to pan, with a splash of water if necessary. Sprinkle with a little salt and cinnamon. Cook for five minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Spread sauce and then toppings on crust. Bake in oven until warmed through.
  5. Serve with red pepper flakes or cashew parm!

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