So, I proposed a pizza party, to which the response was “Great….but you don’t eat cheese”. To which I responded, “I’m making Pizza with no cheese…. and no tomato because neither Grandma nor the baby react well to tomato”.
This year on my birthday, we had a great big family shindig, with members from 4 generations coming together for a meal. The youngest was 10 months and the oldest, a modest 91 years. In a state of sleep deprivation/ bravado/ possible insanity I somehow managed to volunteer myself to organise the food for everyone, despite it being my own birthday party.
“A pizza with NO TOMATO and NO CHEESE?!?” (well, I did use a bit of tomato puree in the topping but it’s delicious without too!).
It suddenly looked like pleasing everyone with my idea of ‘plant-based pizza’ was going to be a challenge. I hadn’t even mentioned the pizza base would have no salt or sugar so that the baby and young kiddies could eat it too.
So I quietly went on my way and rustled up a shed-load of healthy, wholesome, vegetable-covered pizzas with a variety of toppings. All with a sweet and juicy layer of smooth butternut squash, white beans and apple puree.
Guess what? The result was amazingly delicious and everyone tucked in and loved it!
We’ve since made this pizza multiple times and each of us has loved every bite. The white beans in the butternut puree provide a good source of protein (a substantial and healthy alternative to cheese!), iron and calcium, making it a perfect stand-alone puree if you’re still in the early stages of weaning or don’t think baby is quite ready to chew on a slice of pizza. It’s such a great meal to make with a toddler or older child and a brilliant way of getting a whole load of your favourite veggies in one go!
Obviously making a baby-friendly pizza dough without salt does change the flavour, so the addition of some mixed herbs is a great way to add taste. If you’re making the pizza just for older children or adults, try adding 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar to the dough for added flavour and to enhance the dough.
Who knew that pizza could actually be made into something veg-filled and wholesome whilst remaining totally scrumptious!
A great excuse to have multiple pizza parties the kids will love.
For the dough
1 tsp fast-acting yeast
200 mls hand-warm water
300g strong white flour
1.5 tsps dried Italian herbs
For the butternut squash puree
1/2 butternut squash
2 tsp tomato puree
80g cooked white/cannellini/butter beans, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp apple puree
1-2 garlic cloves (optional)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Suggested toppings (choose your favourite selection!)
red peppers, artichoke hearts, spring or red onions, spinach, cherry tomatoes, sweetcorn, courgette, broccoli, olives (for older children and adults), capers (for older children and adults)
For the butternut squash puree layer
1. Preheat oven to 200°C
2. Peel and cube butternut squash. Toss in a little rapeseed oil and roast in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes
3. Remove the roasted butternut squash from the oven and add to a food processor along with the other puree ingredients, except for the oil. Blend until smooth, adding a little water to loosen the puree if necessary (or milk if just using for baby puree!). If the puree is for the pizza topping only, add the oil at the end and stir through
4. Set aside to add to the pizza topping later
For the dough
1. In a bowl, combine the yeast and warm water. Stir and then leave to sit for a few minutes
2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and herbs. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast and water
3. Stir until the dough starts to come together. Transfer dough to a floured surface and kneed for about 5 minutes. Form into a ball
4. Place ball of dough into a bowl lightly greased with olive oil, cover and leave for about 15 minutes
Build your Pizza!
1. Place the risen dough on a freshly floured surface and roll out to approximately a 14″ diameter
2. Transfer onto a pizza pan, pizza stone or baking tray (if using a baking tray, sprinkle tray with polenta to reduce sticking)
3. Top the dough base with the butternut puree and generously sprinkle on your favourite toppings
4. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and place in a pre-heated oven for 15-18 minutes
5. Allow to cool slightly before serving, especially to babies and young children!