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Make This Now: Zucchini Pizza Crust With Lemony Pea Pesto

There’s nothing quite so satisfying as re-creating healthier versions of your favorite “junk” foods without the guilt of gluten, trans fat, and the host of preservatives that are typically found in pizza and other indulgences. Our friends at Nutrition Stripped are innovators in this field, and below they’ve crafted an amazing recipe for Zucchini Pizza Crust with Lemony Pea Pesto that is absolutely to die for. We love the idea of extending the harvest by making a vegetable-heavy meal, but this recipe takes this notion a step further by innovating how two key green vegetables– zucchini and peas– can be consumed. (We’re particularly interested in using zucchini to make a crust, because one can only eat so many steamed vegetables before getting bored). Check out Nutrition Stripped’s full recipe, below. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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copyright 2015 Katie Newburn Photography

Katie Newburn Photography

Zucchini Pizza Crust with Lemony Pea Pesto

Serves 4

Zucchini is a surprisingly chameleon like vegetable—I find myself using it frozen in morning smoothies, pureed in desserts, and, now, grated in pizza crust! Zucchini pizza is a great way to sneak in extra servings of vegetables, and it is naturally lower in carbohydrates and higher in fiber compared with traditional crusts. This recipe pays hom age to a cauliflower crust, which is one of my most popular recipes from the blog. Both of these recipe components, the crust and pea pesto, can be enjoyed on their own, yet when combined, it’s evident they’re meant to be enjoyed together.

Ingredients

3 cups finely grated zucchini
1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons brown rice flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for drizzling
Lemony Pea Pesto (recipe follows)

Garnishes: arugula, grated fresh lemon zest, lemon juice, and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Place the grated zucchini in a strainer, sprinkle the salt on top, and gently toss until the salt is distributed.

Allow the zucchini to sit and sweat excess moisture for 45 to 60 minutes.

Transfer the zucchini from the strainer to a nutmilk bag or cheesecloth. Wrapping the cloth around the zucchini entirely, use your hands to squeeze out any excess liquid. Repeat the process until the zucchini no longer releases liquid. Place the zucchini in a large bowl and add the flours, eggs, garlic, nutritional yeast, oregano, red pepper flakes, and black pepper to taste.

Stir to combine well.

Position one rack in the middle of the oven and another in the top position. Place a pizza stone (for a crispier crust) or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper on the middle rack. Preheat the oven to 500 ̊F. Place a large piece of parchment paper on a clean countertop and drizzle it with olive oil. Spread the zucchini dough onto the parchment paper and form the dough into a large 10-inch round or oval, about 1/2 inch thick. Transfer the dough from the parchment paper directly to the hot pizza stone or lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Flip the pizza crust over and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the crust is firm-crisp.

Carefully remove the crust from the oven, spoon on the pesto to the desired thickness, and bake on the top rack for 5 to 7 minutes, until the pesto is warm. Remove from the oven. Top with garnishes, if desired, and serve immediately.

Lemony Pea Pesto

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 (10-ounce) bag frozen peas
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (see page 42)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons filtered water
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 tablespoon grated fresh lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of sea salt
Freshly-ground black pepper

Quick-thaw the peas by blanching in boiling water for 3 minutes or microwaving until soft. In a food processor or high-speed blender, combine the peas, pine nuts, garlic, oil, water, hemp seeds, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste and pulse until the mixture is well combined and thick. Adjust seasonings to taste. Store in an airtight glass container.

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