Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Red onion, pear, swiss chard and walnut pizza

So last week I did a bit of a healthy makeover of a grilled cheese sandwich.  This week pizza is up to bat.

I love pizza. I could literally devour an entire large pizza smothered in yummy, delish, slightly browned and melting cheese.  Probably not the healthiest thing to do though.  Did you know that one slice of pizza is a serving size?  And we're not talking those slices you get in NY city - those are almost a quarter of a pizza.  

Pizza doesn't have to be all unhealthy. To tackle the portion size issue, I make my pizzas into little individual pizzas - nothing like lying to yourself that you've just eaten a whole pizza.  I feel like I've indulged, but I haven't had more than the equivalent of 1-2 slices.  For the dough, try to find a whole wheat dough or make your own and swap out at least half of the flour for whole wheat. Use a healthy and tasty oil like olive oil.  Then, load up on the veggies. Be creative, here in Austria corn and an egg, sunny-side-up, are favorite toppings.  Corn is delish!  Then comes the hard part.  Put less cheese on there than you think you need.  I promise it won't be missed. 

Now to putting salad on your pizza, try out some of your winter greens - Swiss chard, kale, spinach. There a bit tougher and can hold their own against the heat.  More sensitive greens like arugula/rocket should be added at the very last few minutes of oven time. 

To make this recipe, I mixed in a handful of baby spinach in with chard, which worked really well. I thought I had prepped too much greens and sort of panicked when I looked at the 7 cups of chopped greens. I'm happy I made so much though, they really wilted during the cooking.

For the pizza bottoms, you'll need 6 rounds of approximately 6-7 inches each. For a quick meal, grab the pre-made ones from the store or try making them from scratch. Here's the pizza dough recipe I use the most.  

This is a beautiful and delish recipe. It goes pretty fast, so be ready with everything before you begin. That's why I separated the vegetable prep in this recipe. This is great for a family dinner or when you want to make something casual, but still special for when a guest comes over. It will even keep for lunch the next day, wrapped in foil, in the fridge. Reheat in a hot oven.

What do you serve with salad on pizza? Well a salad and red wine of course! Try a baby spinach, walnut and pear salad with an olive oil, mustard and apple-raspberry vinegar and a bottle of Austrian Zweigelt. That's what we did. Enjoy!

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

Salad on Pizza

Notes: Any tougher greens - spinach, kale, radish and beet tops, etc. can be used in place of or with the Swiss chard. Vorarlberger Bergkäse can be bought in the USA at Murray's in New York. While in Austria it's possible to get Bergkäse made without animal rennet, Murray's only carries one with animal rennet. Substitute any slightly stronger, but not overpowering cheese.
Prep time: 20 min (mostly washing and chopping vegetables)
Cooking time: 10 min + 4-5 min per pizza
Servings: 6

1/4 of a yellow onion
1-2 cloves of garlic
Swiss chard, 1 medium-sized bunch, washed and dried
3 pears, medium or 1 can of pears, unsweetened and drained
1 red onion, small
4 tablespoons shredded Vorarlberger Bergkäse (Austrian Mountain Cheese)
5 tablespoons walnuts
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 6-inch pizza rounds
salt and pepper
rosemary, dried and crushed
Preheat your oven to 220°C / 425°F.
Vegetable prep
Peel and chop the yellow onion and garlic. Wash the Swiss chard, remove the stem and center rib. Retain half of them and chop into small pieces. Add to the onion and garlic (remaining stems can be used in other recipes). Roughly chop the green leaves. You need approx. 7 cups of greens.

Peel, core and chop pears into large chunks. Add to the greens. Peel and cut the red onion in half and slice into thin half-circles. Grate or crumble cheese. Chop the walnuts. Set each aside individually.

Cooking pizza
Brush one tablespoon of olive oil on all of the pizza rounds (in total; not one tablespoon per pizza round). Slightly salt and add a pinch of dried rosemary. Place in the oven until toasted, approx. 3 min for pre-cooked rounds; 7-8 for uncooked rounds. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large pan, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic and chopped Swiss chard stems and heat until onions are translucent, approx. 1-2 minutes.

Lower heat to medium. Add greens and pears. Cook until greens wilt and pears are soft, approx. 4 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and dried rosemary.
Layer a bit of cooked greens on each pizza. Top with remaining red onions and cheese.

Return to the oven for approx. 4-5 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted. Top with walnuts and serve.
© 2010 Nicole

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