You might think that pizza + vegetables = sacrilege. I agree that sometimes there’s no substitute for the greasy, meat-y goodness that pepperoni and sausage provide, but it’s always a good thing to go meatless when you can. And pizza is one of the easiest meals to make vegetarian. You could just go with plain cheese, sure—but what fun is that? Switch things up a bit! I absolutely love white pizza, but it’s not the healthiest option to order at a restaurant. It’s traditionally just a whole lotta ricotta and mozzarella cheese on a pizza crust with herbs and olive oil. I came up with an at-home version that’s flavorful, delicious, and bursting with nutritious spinach. If that concerns you, it’s also chock-full of cheese and roasted garlic, so don’t fear the green.
I made this on my favorite bread machine pizza crust (which uses part whole wheat flour), but you can use a store-bought crust or your own favorite recipe. The topping couldn’t be easier to put together. Just throw a head of garlic in the oven to roast while you get everything else ready. Then mix the cheeses, spinach, and a few cloves of roasted garlic together and spread it on the crust. Bake. Super easy! If you don’t want to take the time to roast the garlic, you can certainly leave it out or use some minced raw garlic instead, but believe me when I say that it’s a step you don’t want to skip. The roasted garlic adds that distinctive, almost sweet and buttery garlic flavor and really makes this pizza something special.
With each bite, you get the creamy ricotta, the gooey mozzarella and asiago, and the sweet roasted garlic. There’s a whole lot of spinach packed in there, but its presence is remarkably subtle. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with parsley and you’ve got yourself a pretty impressive pizza. Plus, this pizza gets even better leftover…which is pretty much a requirement for pizza in my book. With each slice clocking in at just over 200 calories, all this cheesy deliciousness makes for a perfectly reasonable weeknight dinner, with none of the sausage shame or pepperoni penitence. This is a great meatless alternative to pizza night that even veggie haters might enjoy. I mean, cover anything green in cheese and you’re golden, right?
Roasted Garlic & Spinach Pizza
Makes a 12-14″ pizza, 8 slices
- 4-6 cloves roasted garlic, recipe follows
- ¾ lb. pizza dough, recipe follows*
- 1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
- 6 oz. part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- ¼ cup asiago cheese, shredded
- ¾ cup thawed & drained frozen spinach**
- Salt, to taste
- 1 egg, beaten
- Olive oil and chopped parsley for topping, optional
- Preheat oven to 425ºF. In a medium bowl, combine roasted garlic, cheeses, and spinach. Using a fork or potato masher, mash until garlic is smashed and mixture is well-combined. Add a pinch of salt if desired. Spread on unbaked pizza crust, leaving about ½” of crust. Depending on the size of your crust, you may not need the entire cheese mixture.
- Using a pastry brush, brush crust with beaten egg. Bake pizza in preheated oven for 10-14 minutes or until crust is browned and cheese is beginning to brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped parsley if desired.
*You can also use your own favorite crust recipe or a store-bought crust.
**You can also use the same amount of fresh spinach (chopped, steamed, and wilted).
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Slice ¼-½” off the top of a whole head of garlic, exposing the cloves. Place the head of garlic on a sheet of foil and drizzle the exposed cloves with olive oil. Wrap the head loosely in the foil. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until cloves are soft. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes and squeeze the cloves to remove. They should easily slide out. Set aside 4-6 cloves for the pizza and reserve the rest for another use.
Bread Machine Pizza Crust
Recipe from Cuisinart
Makes (2) ¾-lb. pizza crusts
- 1 cup water, at 80º-90ºF
- ¾ teaspoon honey or sugar
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2⅔ cups bread flour
- 9 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 1¾ teaspoons yeast (active dry, instant, or bread machine)
Place ingredients, in order indicated by the manufacturer of your bread machine, in pan of bread machine fitted with kneading paddle. Run the machine on the dough cycle. When complete, remove the dough from the machine and place on a floured work surface. Divide dough in half and reserve one half for later use (place in a freezer bag and freeze or refrigerate). Toss or roll out to a 12-14″ circle. Transfer to a baking sheet covered in parchment paper or a pizza stone before adding toppings.