by Lindsey Proctor, Contributing Writer
When’s the last time you cooked with eggplant? I don’t know about you, but eggplant just isn’t an ingredient I cook with often. I walk past it at the produce section and the lovely dark purple – or even prettier, cream with purple flecks – skin shines and beckons, but I walk past it thinking that the only thing I know to do with it is make Eggplant Parmesan, which we love, but don’t often have time to make, as it is a rather involved recipe.
When Kimi asked us to come up with either a Thanksgiving-related or pizza recipe for this month, pizza was the clear winner for me. Pizza is always the winner for me. Once that easy decision was made, the harder part was coming up with a recipe that would be nourishing, yummy, and different.
I decided I’d develop a veggie crust, so then it was just a matter of deciding which veggie! Cauliflower has already been done numerous times. It’s hard for me to find organic zucchini, (and since it’s on the dirty dozen plus list, I avoid conventional) and I only have access to frozen, which I was afraid would have too much moisture. Then the “ah-ha!” moment came when the my mind jumped to eggplant next, associating it with the zucchini because of the similar shape. Eggplant is on the dry side, and I already knew that the eggplant + tomato + cheese combination works and is something we love. And thus, Eggplant Parmesan Pizza was born!
Eggplant, also called aubergine, is full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In this recipe, it is shredded, combined with an egg, some arrowroot powder, and a little bit of pesto for flavor, then patted into a thin circle and baked until it begins to dry out a bit. Then, it’s topped with tomato sauce, cheese, and any other toppings you wish! Please be aware that this dish, with both eggplants and tomatoes, is heavy on the nightshade family, so if you’re trying to avoid nightshades, this probably isn’t the dish for you.
Note: Don’t expect this recipe to have the same texture as a traditional dough-crusted pizza. While it holds together fairly well after it’s been cooled, you may still want to have some forks handy. Also, while I chose to keep my toppings simple with two cheeses and some Italian seasoning, we all agreed that it would be good with peppers, onions, mushrooms, meat… just about any “normal” pizza topping.
- For the Crust:
- 1 eggplant, weighing 1½ – 2 lbs
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder
- 2 teaspoons pesto
- ¼ – ½ cup pizza or tomato sauce
- 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ⅛ cup crumbled feta cheese
- Italian Seasoning
- Anything else you wish to top it with!
- Preheat oven to 400*F.
- Using a food processor fitted with the shredding/grating blade, shred eggplant and place in a mixing bowl. If there is any excess moisture pooling at the bottom of the bowl, drain or squeeze it with a cloth. Otherwise, proceed to the next step.
- Beat egg in a small bowl, then combine with shredded eggplant.
- Add Arrowroot Powder and Pesto, stir well to combine.
- Drain away any liquid that may be in the bowl.
- Line a pizza pan, baking stone, or cookie sheet with lightly-oiled parchment paper and pat eggplant mixture into a circle, about ¼ to ½ inch thick.
- Bake at 400*F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and place another piece of lightly-oiled parchment paper, oiled side down, on top of the crust. Carefully flip the crust over onto the new piece of parchment. Remove the pizza pan, baking stone, or cookie sheet, then peel off the used piece of parchment. Slide the crust and new piece of parchment back onto the baking tray, return to the oven, and bake for 15 minutes longer, until surface of crust is dry and is starting to turn a roasted golden color.
- Remove from oven and spread pizza sauce over crust, then sprinkle cheese and Italian Seasoning on top, as well as any other toppings you desire. Return to oven and bake until cheese starts to melt, about 5 minutes. Transfer oven to a low broil, and broil until cheese browns and starts to bubble.
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