Monday, August 25, 2014

Pesto Pizza

Growing up in my house, Friday night was pizza night! I think this stemmed from the days before the second Vatican counsel, when all Catholics couldn't eat meat every Friday: cheese pizza was one of the easiest pescetarian foods to come by when my Dad was growing up in Western Pennsylvania. These days I don't always eat pizza on Friday nights, but I do get indignant when free food around campus involves pizza for lunch on Friday. This is one of my many quirks that makes my parents refer to me as "Sheldon Cooper," although Sheldon's pizza night is Thursday.

In truth, eating pizza on Friday nights is logical and practical. Pizza makes an excellent, substantial dinner before a race or a long ride and there are plentiful leftovers for after the ride (or the rest of the weekend). Best of all though, pizza is easy! If you order take out, it's ready by the time you drive to the pizza joint. While it's easy enough to make your own, I find the mixing bowl required to make the crust can be prohibitive on a Friday night. Like everyone else, I'm often really tired and hungry on Friday nights so my favorite time-saver is a freezer pizza from Trader Joe's. A freezer pizza gives me 10 minutes to do my daily core workout while it cooks, but doesn't delay gratification and dinner beyond that!

Recently, I found Trader Joe's pre-made pizza crusts and decided that at $2.49 for two pizzas, it was worth a shot. I chose to top it with a basil pesto sauce, scallions, and tomatoes, which is my favorite variety of cheese-less pizza. Most pizzas that omit cheese leave me wanting, but this creamy, basil-y pizza is everything you want in a pizza. Give it a shot the next time you are looking for a quick dairy-free pizza option!

Get it while it's hot... this pizza goes fast!

Pesto Pizza

1 Pre-made Pizza Crust (I like Trader Joe's)
    Alternatively, to make this gluten free, feel free to use polenta as the crust, like in my Polenta Pizza.
1 large bunch basil
2/3c nutritional yeast
3T olive oil
salt (optional)
splash balsamic vinegar
water (to thin as necessary)
1 large or several small tomatoes, sliced
5 scallions or 1/2 onion, sliced

1. Preheat oven according to crust package directions.
2. In a food processor, combine basil leaves, nutritional yeast, olive oil, garlic, salt, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Food process into a pesto paste, adding 1T water at a time as necessary to thin. Taste your pesto to make sure you have enough garlic!
3. Slice tomatoes and scallions.
4. Top pizza crust with pesto. Add tomato and scallion slices.
5. Bake for 12 minutes (or as the package directs.) Let cool and enjoy!

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