At the arrival of spring last week, sitting in a wooden basket in the corner of my kitchen, one lone butternut squash remained. A butternut from last year’s fall harvest and my days selling and slinging veggies at a weekly Saturday farmer’s market. Oh how time flies. And yet how sturdy and strong winter squash can stand through it all.
When I get all sorts of confused about life, which seems to happen a lot as a transient 20-something college grad, I remind myself to think like a butternut. Stay strong on the outside, but sweet and a little nutty on the inside, with the ability to open up and get all soft when the right times arrives. (That analogy is my nuttiness coming out…but I do quite adore and look up to the butternut.)
As time is flying, another growing season is upon us, and I am beyond psyched. Living in a city, I don’t yet have a garden of my own, but I do have some plans to get involved with some urban farms this summer, and of course, return home to help my parent’s kick butt in their own backyard plots. Heck yeah for spring. And please move a little faster! (It snowed here last night. I’m not the fighting kind of gal, but I sincerely wanted to punch the sky in the face.)
Until then, I feel fortunate to be savoring the last of the cold weathered season. With one golden squash remaining in my basket, I wanted to make sure it received some memorable treatment. As soon as I saw this pizza recipe from Dishing Up the Dirt, it was a no-brainer as to where that squash would be heading. The uniqueness of this dish had me hooked!
After making this pizza, I can 100% say that if you don’t already have a butternut laying around in your own home, it’s worth making the trip out to buy one. This was awesome! I honestly wish I could say I made up this recipe on my own because I just love how creative it is…I mean, quinoa-based crust made with a little love from the food processor?! How cool is that. (Props to you Andrea.)
This obviously isn’t your traditional cheesy, red-sauced ‘za. But if you were craving that, you probably wouldn’t be eyeing this recipe anyway. The good news? It’s will make for an every-bit-as-satisfying pizza night, especially once you get that tahini sauce drizzling on top. This is the kind of healthy app I’d love to see at a restaurant. It feels light but rich all at the same time. If that makes any sense. Make this yourself, and you’ll get what I mean.
The pizza does take several steps to make, but all are incredibly easy to execute. A simple 3-ingredient quinoa crust presents a base for a naturally creamy sauce stemming from butternut squash – i.e., no dairy needed. It gives a very gentle sweetness that contrasts with the mildly tangy tahini dressing that goes on top. I’m always in favor of a saucy pizza. With this pizza, you get to have two. Their richness (though as I mentioned before, not in a heavy way) is cut by cilantro, and are then finished with a crunch via fresh chickpeas on top. A pizza that has everything going for it – health included. Heck yeah.
- For the crust: 2 cups quinoa (thoroughly washed to eliminate any bitterness and soaked in water overnight)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2-3/4 cup water
- For The Butternut Squash Puree: 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch chunks
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- pinch of sea salt
- For the Creamy Tahini Sauce: 1/4 cup tahini
- 3 TBS nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp hot sauce (we like organic sriracha sauce)
- 1 TBS white wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup water
- Toppings: 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Prepare the butternut squash sauce by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Add squash cubes and cook until fork tender. About 10 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle add to a food processor with the oil and salt. Process until smooth. Set aside.
- Prepare the Tahini sauce by combing all the ingredients together and whisking until smooth.
- Once quinoa has soaked for 8 hours rinse and drain it. Add the quinoa, 1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt to a food processor. Process until the quinoa reaches a consistency of pancake batter. Adjust water as necessary.
- Layer two 8 inch pie pans with parchment paper, and lightly grease the top (this will insure the pizza doesn’t stick!!). You can also use two 8-inch cast iron skillets too but I’d still recommend the parchment paper even with these. Spread quinoa evenly and bake in the oven for 20 minutes (check around 15 minutes). Once the crust is cooked remove from the oven. Spread a thin layer of butternut squash “sauce” and top with chickpeas. Place back in the oven for about 3 more minutes until everything is warmed through.
- Evenly distribute the chopped cilantro and chickpeas between the two pies and drizzle with tahini sauce and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Enjoy!
If not using parchment paper, make sure to use something such as aluminum foil and lightly grease the top before spreading the dough.
Recipe via Dishing Up the Dirt