I’ll be honest: in all my years of cooking, I’ve never mastered the art of making pizza from scratch. Whether I make the dough myself or buy it from Trader Joe’s, I manage to mess it up every time. What usually happens is the dough gets too tight and I have a hard time stretching it out to make a thin enough crust. When it comes time to bake it, the dough never bakes all the way through. I can recall several times I ate the toppings off what I thought would be a perfect homemade pizza, and sadly discarded the crust. Call this a humble non-brag about my cooking skills.
So what have I done to solve this? Bypass the crust completely and use another carb in its place. I’ll keep on trying to get the homemade crust right until I succeed, but in the meantime replacing it completely is what I do to fill the gap.
This recipe replaces the traditional crust with whole-wheat pita, which also happens to create a perfect single-serving sized pizza. The toppings – bright orange butternut squash, snowy-white feta crumbles, deep-green kale, and rustic chopped walnuts – add an alluring color scheme and leave little doubt as to the season they represent. Also included is a recipe-within-a-recipe for how I like to make sautéed kale, which I also love adding to pasta dishes, omelettes or grain bowls. It makes more than you’ll need to top the pizza, so save the leftovers.
Here’s to cooking being a process, and to admitting our struggles even in activities we take pride in.
- 1 head of kale, chopped with stems removed
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon vinegar (any kind – I used balsamic)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Dash of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- 1 whole wheat pita bread round
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons feta cheese crumbles
- 1/2 cup butternut squash, cubed (I recommend buying it already chopped – saves time and hassle)
- 1/2 cup sautéed kale
- 1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped
- Place a small pot of water on high heat to bring to a boil. In the meantime, prepare the kale.
- For the kale, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Add the kale, garlic, vinegar, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Sauté until the kale is wilted.
- Boil the butternut squash for 5-8 minutes until you can easily pierce it with a fork. Set aside.
- To make the pita a little bit crispy, using a pair of tongs, place it right over the flame on your stovetop burner. Move it around and flip it constantly, being careful not to burn it. It should only take 1-2 minutes to get warm and crispy.
- Place the pita on a baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray. Brush the olive oil onto the pita. Top with half of the feta crumbles.
- Add the kale and butternut squash cubes to the pita. Top with the other tablespoon of feta and the walnuts.
- Place the baking sheet on the top shelf of your oven and broil for 2-3 minutes, just long enough to warm it up and slightly melt the cheese. You may also bake it at 450 degrees for 5 minutes.