Even the keenest of cooks can use a shortcut here and there to get dinner on the table faster, especially when it comes to prepping and cooking labor-intensive veggies like winter squash. We all love a good roasted butternut soup or some kabocha squash recipes, but the peeling, chopping and cook time make it a bit of a production when you’ve just come home from work and you’re 20 minutes away from being mega hangry. Enter this time-saving trick to get roasted veggie goodness on your plate with minimal fuss, mess and time spent in the kitchen. Skip dealing with the whole raw veggie and instead grab a can of squash or pumpkin puree.
Just season and bake the puree in the oven and you get an almost instant, savory roasted squash mash that you can use for your fave winter soups or sides (like this squash and cauliflower mash). All the watery, tinny flavor gets cooked out of the canned puree and the sugars in the squash caramelize as if you cooked it from scratch. This tip is perfect to try out on our new fave veggie pizza recipe, topped with butternut squash sauce, caramelized onions, goat cheese and kale. Yummm. Way more gourmet than your local delivery joint, and maybe even faster too — it looks like we’ve got your dinner plans covered. Bon apetit!
— 1 can butternut squash puree (or any other squash or sweet potato puree)
— 2 small garlic cloves
For the Butternut Squash Sauce:
— 2 Tablespoons olive oil
— 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
— salt and pepper to taste
— 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
— 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
For the Pizza:
— 1 portion of pizza dough or a pre-made pizza crust
— 1/2 cup caramelized onions
— 1/4 cup goat cheese
— a few leaves of kale
— a lemon wedge
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside. Scoop the squash into a bowl and grate the garlic into the puree. Stir well to combine, then transfer the mix onto the lined tray. Spread it in a fairly even, thin layer and bake for 10-15 minutes until the edges start to brown slightly and the puree turns a deeper orange color. This means that the excess water has cooked off and the sugars in the squash have caramelized, giving the puree a sweet, roasted flavor.
2. Once cool enough to handle, transfer the roasted puree into a bowl and mix in the olive oil and seasonings. Taste to see if you want to add more sweetness or salt. If you like, adding chilli pepper will give it some heat, while the nutritional yeast adds a cheesy, savory quality to the sauce. If you find it’s too thick after adding all the ingredients, add a tablespoon or two of water to thin it out slightly. It should be a smooth, spreadable texture but not runny.
3. Now you can assemble your pizza. Prepare your dough or crust and spread the squash sauce evenly over the pizza, leaving about an inch around the outer edge. Add the onions and goat cheese and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, tear the kale leaves into small pieces, place them in a bowl and squeeze the juice of a lemon wedge over them. Toss or massage the leaves with the juice so that they are well covered and start to soften slightly. After the pizza has cooked for 15 minutes, remove it from the oven, add the kale on top and bake for another 3-5 minutes so that the kale crisps up slightly and the pizza finishes cooking. Then you’re ready to slice it up and serve.
Grate the garlic into the squash puree before baking so that it can caramelize and mellow as it cooks in the oven, avoiding that harsh taste you can get when eating it raw.
Spread the puree onto a lined baking sheet — about a quarter to half an inch thick. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the puree browns slightly around the edges and becomes a deeper orange color.
Add in the oil, maple syrup and seasonings to the cooked puree until you have a sweet, savory and slightly spicy mix. The puree should be a nice spreadable consistency, not too runny or thick.
Time to top your pizza! Start with a base of the squash puree, then top with the caramelized onions and goat cheese. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until the pizza is almost fully cooked and the crust is starting to brown.
While the pizza is baking, you can prepare the kale to add at the end. Tear the leaves into small pieces, squeeze some lemon juice over top and massage with your hands so that the leaves are well covered and start to soften slightly.
After the pizza has cooked for 15 minutes, add the massaged kale and cook for another 3-5 minutes until the kale crisps slightly and the crust is completely cooked and golden. Then you’re ready to dig in!
This butternut squash and kale-topped pizza is a fun and delicious way to get out of the doldrums of winter veggie cooking.
Since the sauce is vegan and naturally has a rich and cheesy flavor, you can skip the goat cheese or use a non-dairy parmesan or mozzarella instead to make a vegan-friendly version of this pie.
Simple to make but a super impressive result. Serve with a simple green salad and your dinner dilemmas are over! You’re welcome ;)
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