As I have alluded to previously, my Veggie-Hating Husband does not always get as excited about vegetables as I do. The biggest fight we have ever had was over artichokes, and I am not kidding. I could make a list of the vegetables he doesn’t like, but it’s shorter just to say he likes lima beans and will sometimes eat other vegetables, usually under duress.
While I don’t believe in “hiding” veggies in food, I have found a few vegetable transport methods that are more effective in getting my spouse to actually eat the vegetables that enter our home on a biweekly schedule. The one that works best is pizza. He won’t always love it, but he’ll still eat. Like many dishes, mediocre homemade pizza is still better than a lot of other pizza options.
Today’s vegetable goal? Arugula.
At this point I should admit that with this particular pizza it was less to get him to eat arugula and more to make my favorite pizza topping combination ever. In fact, a tiny part of me hoped he didn’t like it much so that I could have his share. He did like it, and ate the leftovers for breakfast. A bittersweet victory, indeed.
The best part about this pizza (other than its epic deliciousness) is that all the components can be made in advance. This wasn’t my favorite pizza crust, but I already had some whole wheat bread dough in the fridge so I just stretched it out and it worked fine. Actual same day hands on time was just stretching and baking the crust, so maybe 15 minutes total.
The toppings: caramelized onions, minced garlic, arugula, goat cheese, and a balsamic reduction. The caramelized onions are sweet, the garlic is pungent, the creamy cheese balances the peppery freshness of the greens, and the balsamic reduction adds some depth. Short version: there is a rockin’ flavor party in your mouth.
Caramelized onions take some time, but decently sauteed onions are fine, too. They can also be made far in advance and frozen until needed. Garlic? Mince and sprinkle. Crumble cheese. Done. The arugula and balsamic reduction go on after the pizza is baked. Could it be easier?
Oh, a balsamic reduction sounds too fancy and complex? It’s not! If you can boil water, you can make a reduction. Just cook off the water in balsamic vinegar to reduce the volume — put in pan, boil, remove from heat, fin.
I’ve also made this with a thin layer of mozzarella and some tomato slices which is also brilliant. Since I had neither of those items on hand, we made do with the no-frills version. I suffered terribly.
Pizza of Deliciousness
If you have a pizza stone, go to town. I don’t and just use a large sheet pan brushed with olive oil, or lined with parchment paper. The oil makes it a bit smoky at such a high temperature so turn on the fan.
- 1 pizza crust (dough or pre-made)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced in semi-circular rings
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 large handfuls arugula
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 450F. Brush a large sheet pan with olive oil or line it with parchment paper. Stretch the dough as thin as desired. Prick generously with a fork to prevent large bubbles from forming. Bake at 450F for 5-7 minutes until just golden.
- In a large saute pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add sliced onion, stirring to coat with oil. Let onions caramelize, stirring occasionally, 30-60 minutes. When a decent amount of fond (brown bits) are stuck to the bottom, add a tablespoon or two of water to deglaze and stir vigorously.
- Add balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan over medium heat. Let bubble until reduced in volume by about half and slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
- Brush par-baked pizza crust with olive oil, then sprinkle with minced garlic, caramelized onions, and crumbled goat cheese. Return to oven and bake 5-10 minutes depending on thickness of your crust until edges are slightly browned and goat cheese is golden on top.
- Remove pizza from oven, top with arugula and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Sprinkle a pinch of coarse salt and a generous grind of black pepper on top and serve immediately.