It's finally here! Zucchini season! These little boats of goodness are perfect for all kinds of creative recipes. (I tweeted last week about my adventures in making Oh My Veggies' peanut-quinoa stuffed zucchini, which was just the start of the fun.) Zucchini is notoriously fast-growing, and there are tales of gardeners leaving baskets of them on neighbors' porches/ stoops/ in their cars, just to have somewhere to put the excess. [If you've never read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver, I highly recommend! It's full of funny stories like this about growing one's own food.]
So thus begins a season of finding fun things to do with zucchini! Zucchini, incidentally, is in the squash family and is an excellent source of dietary fiber; vitamins C, K, and B6; manganese, folate, potassium, and riboflavin. It's also a mild anti-inflammatory (perfect for conditions that tend to flare up in hot summer months -- nature knows exactly what its doing!)
I decided to do something a little untraditional with the beautiful zucchini we picked up at the farmers market last week. Untraditional, because pizza is never really on my radar of things to prepare. But what better way to work a little gooey cheesy saucy fun into a Thursday than to throw it on a crisped slice of zucchini!
After mixing up a quick batter to coat the zucchini to form a little 'crustiness', I pulled together a selection of our favorite ordinary pizza toppings, some Daiya cheese, and cheater tomato sauce. I say 'cheater', because it's a creative way of getting around the added ingredients that tend to find their way into commercially produced sauces. (Most tomato sauce lists sugar as the second or third ingredient - have an eye out for that!) By combing pureed tomatoes and some spices, you get all the flavor of traditional sauce without all the extra stuff that isn't as good for the body.
This recipe takes a little longer than most I share on FTGU, but it's totally worth it when it's done. The best part is that the majority of the time is cook-time, so you can accomplish all kinds of other awesome things while waiting for the veggies to cook and the cheese to melt. (Consider making a phone call to someone you love, checking some small stress-reducing tasks off your to-do list, or perhaps doing some push-ups in the kitchen! Always a fun idea. ;0) ) I used my free 45 minutes to write a letter to some family back home -- it was delightfully calming!
Enjoy putting together this fun dinner recipe - it's untraditional, but according to my husband it was "burgadilla good" [which you may recall scored in the top five things he's ever eaten ever. Score.]
- 1 large zucchini, sliced into 8 long strips
- 1 tbsp flax meal + 3 tbsp hot water (stir together to make a 'flax egg')
- 2 tbsp brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp hot water
- 1/2 cup tomato puree*
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 cup each: onion, mushroom, cherry tomato, green pepper (or other favorite pizza toppings)
- 1/2 cup Daiya cheese
- 1. Preheat oven to 350F.
- 2. Combine flax 'egg', flour, nutritional yeast, and water. Stir to combine to a 'pasty' texture. Add more water as needed.
- 3. Coat zucchini in mixture (both sides) and lay on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.
- 4. While it bakes, chop toppings and prepare 'cheater' tomato sauce by combining tomato puree and remaining spices.
- 5. At 30 minutes, remove zucchini from oven and turn heat up to 400F.
- 6. Layer tomato sauce, Daiya, and toppings on each slice.
- 7. Return tray to oven and bake for 30 minutes longer, until mushrooms and cherry tomatoes start to shrivel and cheese is melted.
- *look for a brand that lists just pureed tomatoes on the ingredients label (no preservatives, salt, sugar, etc.)
- The more thoroughly the zucchini is coated with the brown rice flour mixture, the more it will 'crisp' in the oven. While these little goodies won't be as stable as a dough-based pizza, and you'll want to use a knife and fork, the coating adds neat crispy texture under the toppings.