Been reflecting back on this year, of dazzling colors and an abundance of vegetables, breathtaking beauty in nature and the people around me, double rainbows over the barn, chopping ingredients for community pizza nights until the wee hours of the morning, and friends stepping more fully into their identity. Rainbow pizza seemed a fitting tribute. And besides, it looked so gorgeous and delicious that I haven’t been able to shake the idea since I first stumbled across it on The Novice Gardener a few weeks ago.
It certainly was not a quick meal, but not as involved or lengthy as it may seem, since there was a natural overlap in preparing the different veggies. To save time in the future, I might try roasting the sweet potatoes and potatoes together on opposite sides of the roasting pan, and simply coating the raw cabbage and onion in oil before placing them on the pizza. You could also prepare larger amounts of each ingredient so you could use them for other meals as well — maybe even ahead of time if you were exceptionally prepared.
How much prep is required will depend, of course, on what vegetables you are using. This recipe welcomes endless variations. I loved the whimsical effect of shaping the pizza into an arch, but a traditional round with concentric circles could also be cool, or a rectangle, or a star, or wherever your imagination and pizza crust stretching ability lead you. Late summer or fall offer the most options for a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, but you could also experiment with different seasonal toppings. The original recipe called for red, orange, and yellow bell peppers. Perhaps tomatoes (fresh, sundried, or canned) or even apples could step in as “red” when peppers are not in season. And in the spring or early summer, cheddar cheese, parsnips, curried cauliflower, yellow summer squash, rutabega or carmelized onions would love a chance to shine as “orange” and “yellow.” If you were feeling particularly daring, you might even spread a thicker layer of cheese and then sprinkle on some calendula petals right after you pull it out of the oven. For “green,” you can’t beat asparagus in spring, and some shredded, sauteed zucchini might be delicious in the summer. Or a tart green apple might provide the perfect counterpoint to the other flavors. For “indigo,” you could also try purple potatoes, or daikon, or an Asian eggplant with gleaming dark skin.
I used only a thin layer of mozzarella, just a half cup total for the two pizzas. It’s so loaded with vegetables, I hardly even noticed the cheese, so I’m sure it would work wonderfully as a vegan pizza. Or go ahead and pile on the cheese, if that’s what you prefer! How ever you go about it, eye-catching, delicious, and filling — a meal to itself! I was stuffed after just two pieces, which is quite a feat. Definitely look forward to making this again!
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 cup sweet potato or butternut squash, cubed
1 cup yellow potatoes, cubed (about 2-3 small potatoes)
Sprinkle paprika, achiote, turmeric, or curry powder (optional)
4-6 cloves garlic
1 cup broccoli (florets and tender stems only)
1 cup red cabbage, chopped
Pinch baking soda
1 mini red onion (or half of a small one), coarsely chopped
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (optional)
A few sprinkles fresh or dry Italian herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram)
Prepare pizza dough. While dough is rising, coat sweet potatoes or squash with oil and season with salt, and spices if desired. Roast at 350ºF for about 20 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally. Coat potatoes and garlic in oil, salt, and spices if desired, and roast likewise until soft and lightly golden. Meanwhile, saute red cabbage for a few minutes, then add a splash of water and a pinch of baking soda if necessary to turn the cabbage blue. In a small pan, saute red onions separately over medium heat until they turn a transluscent pink. Coat red pepper and broccoli in oil and set aside. Preheat oven to 450ºF and grease two baking sheets or sprinkle generously with cornmeal. Punch down dough, divide into two, and stretch each into a wide arch or desired shape. Place on baking sheets, brush with oil, and sprinkle with herbs and a thin layer of mozzarella cheese if desired. Top with strips of vegetables by color: red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, violet and bake for 10-12 minutes, until crust is crisp and golden on the bottom. Let cool for a few minutes, then cut and enjoy!