Slow down and savor the best that this season has to offer with this Grain-free Pizza with Sausage and Roasted Squash
Sometimes it just has to be pizza
Every once in awhile I get a craving for pizza – but not just any pizza. Really good pizza. A pizza with all the flavors and textures, just the right amount of sauce and crust that’s thin and crispy (and gluten-free, of course). Living in Boulder it’s not hard to find good pizza but that pizza can come with a hefty price tag! A ‘gourmet’ pizza can run anywhere from $19-25 per pizza – so for a family of 4 that’s almost fifty bucks since these aren’t huge pies and my hubby alone can polish off a whole pizza. My wallet hurts just thinking about it!
So naturally, as I do, I set out to create my own more budget-friendly version and now I’m so excited to share it with you because it’s my everything right now. This Grain-free Pizza with Sausage and Roasted Squash combines some of my MOST favorite foods and flavors that honor the harvest season:
- Delicata squash
- Red peppers
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Italian sausage
- Goat cheese
- Fresh basil
Seriously, to say that I’m obsessed with this pizza right now would not be over exaggerating.
I think you’ll see why as we build this dream pizza together. Now just to warn you, this isn’t a 20-minute meal. It’s one of those meals you make for the love of cooking. Though I’ve made every attempt to streamline the process unless you done this a few times it’s going to take a little time so choose your day wisely. I like to save more labor-intense meals for Friday or Saturday nights when I don’t have to rush to get the kids to bed or better yet, when I can invite a few friends over to lend a hand and share a glass of wine.
Ready? Let’s do this!
Start with a killer crust
We all have our opinions about crust – thick or thin? Chewy or crispy? – but since this is my dream pizza I rolled the crust out really thin but if you like your crust thicker, then by all means, make it the thick crust of your dreams.
The crust is often the hardest part of the pizza, right? Most people tell me that they don’t make pizza at home because the crust is too fussy or takes too much time. Well, not anymore. Our friends at Simple Mills have come up with the BEST pizza dough mix I’ve ever tried (and I’ve tried a lot of them). It’s free of gluten, grains, dairy, corn, eggs and soy and there’s no need to mess with yeast and raising the dough. Just add water, apple cider vinegar and olive oil (and maybe a sprinkle or two of dried Italian Seasoning to make it extra fancy) then press it into a circle on a baking sheet and bake it for a few minutes while you prep the toppings.
Did you know that Simple Mills has an entire line of mixes and ready-to-eat crackers and cookies that are 100% free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, corn, additives and preservatives? Check ’em out! They’re one of my go-to’s for making life simpler.
Slather on the sauce
Ok, here’s where things get a little less conventional. Normally I’d whip up a simple tomato-based pizza sauce (like the one in this recipe) to slather all over this gorgeous, perfectly crisp-tender crust but I just felt this one needed something more. Something sweet and savory and just like the sauce that used to grace the top of my favorite gluten-filled Amy’s Kitchen Roasted Vegetable frozen pizza that I’ve enjoyed much too often back in my vegan days.
This sauce starts with caramelized onions, red pepper and garlic. I know it doesn’t seem like much of a sauce but once you add a generous splash of balsamic vinegar and puree it you’re going to want to spread it on everything or just eat it with a spoon like I’m prone to doing.
Then add the toppings
Here’s there the magic really happens. The world is your topping oyster when you make your pizza at home. However, since this is my dream pizza I chose seasonal vegetables like delicata squash and shallots, Italian sausage and sun-dried tomatoes come together to give you a little of everything – salty, sweet, earthy and savory. Now, you could stop right here and have a perfectly fabulous pizza but I’ll encourage you to keep going and go all out.
A little sprinkle of soft goat cheese is fabulous here and adds a creamy element to our already salty, sweet, earthy and savory masterpiece. Feta or parmesan would also be nice here too. Or try a non-dairy soft ‘cheese’ like Kite Hill Artisan Almond Milk Soft Cheese if you don’t tolerate diary and want to add that creamy element.Slow down and enjoy this Grain-free Pizza with Sausage and Roasted Squash this weekend #realfood Click To Tweet
Then get really crazy and sprinkle it all with fresh basil. Are you feelin’ it yet? As I’m writing this I’m actually making a grocery list in my head right now of what I need to make this pizza again for the third time in 2 weeks. Totally not kidding. Grain-free Pizza with Sausage and Roasted Squash is definitely on repeat over here!
And then, the crowing glory of this dream pie: a big handful of peppery arugula tossed with EVOO and balsamic plopped right on top. It’s like having pizza and salad in one convenient bite.
Oh yeahhhhhhhhh! It’s time for a pizza night at home with our Grain-free Pizza with Sausage and Roasted Squash
For the Crust:
- 1 box Simple Mills Pizza Dough Almond Flour Mix
- 1 tsp. dried Italian Seasoning
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 6 Tbsp. water
For the Sauce:
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
For the Toppings:
- 1 small delicata squash, seeds removed, sliced into ¼ inch-thick ‘moons’
- 2 tsp. olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
- ½ lb. bulk Italian sausage, cooked and drained
- 2-3 Tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (or soaked in warm water if using dried)
- ¼ cup soft cheese of choice (such as goat cheese or non-dairy alternative)
- Fresh basil
- 2 cups arugula
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp. balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400℉
- While oven preheats, slice onions and red pepper and mine garlic for the sauce.
- Place a large skillet over medium (for cast iron) to medium-high heat (for other pans). Add 2 Tbsp. oil. When oil is hot, add onion and red pepper. Saute for 7-8 minutes then lower heat and add garlic,
- Continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and onions begin to caramelize (about 30 minutes – don’t worry, you can do this in the ‘background’ while the squash roasts and you prepare the crust).
- Once the onions and peppers are cooking nicely, place the sliced squash and shallots on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss with 2 tsp. olive or avocado oil. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until squash is tender and shallots are crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Prepare crust by adding pizza dough mix and Italian seating to a medium bowl. Whisk well to combine. In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine olive oil, water and apple cider vinegar. Add to pizza dough mix and stir until a stiff dough forms.
- Transfer dough to an oiled baking sheet or pizza pan. Using your fingers, gently press dough into a large circle (making it as thick or thin as you like. I use a 14-inch pan similar to this one).
- Poke several holes in the unbaked crust using a form (this will keep it from puffing up when it bakes). Bake in 400℉ oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool while you finish making the sauce (Note: Removing the crust from the pan and cooling it on the wire rack will give you a crispier crust than if you allow the crust to cool in the pan)
- Transfer caramelized onions to a food processor. Add ¼ tsp. salt and 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar. Puree until smooth, adding additional tablespoon of balsamic vinegar as needed to achieve a saucy consistency.
- To assemble pizza: Spread par-baked crust with sauce. Top with roasted squash, shallots, sausage and sun-dried tomatoes. Bake in 400℉ oven for 7-8 minutes or until toppings are hot and cheese is softened.
- Remove from oven and top with fresh basil. Serve as is or top with arugula tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
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