This is one of the pizzas I have developed after being really disappointed with many other vegan pizzas I have tried. I am not totally against cheese or dairy but I make a concerted effort to limit it in my diet. Having said that, I have never been impressed with faux non-dairy cheese. I made this pizza once before for my birthday dinner at my mom’s house. The pesto is such a beautiful color! The great thing about it is that the pesto and the caramelized onions and fennel can be applied to so many other recipes and food preparations. The pesto would be great as a sammie spread (thank for the suggestion Duo Dishes!) or on pasta. The onions and fennel would also be great on a pasta dish or as a bruschetta topping. It was also a great way for me to get peas into my diet (which are not my favorite veggie).
For this recipe, I used whole wheat naan bread but in the past I have used whole wheat pizza dough that I have purchased from a local pizza parlor and/or made myself.
Spinach Pea Pesto
1 bunch spinach, washed and dried (I used the trusty salad spinner)
1 pkg. frozen peas (cook by putting into a small pot with 1/4 c. H2O and bring to a boil for three minutes. Drain and rinse with cold H2O. I also spun them in my salad spinner to get rid of extra moisture.
2-3 good handfuls of fresh basil (basically a whole pkg.)
2 handfuls almonds (you could use pine nuts also)
4-5 garlic cloves
1 tblsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. salt
3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil (approximately)
Put everything in your food processor (except for oil) and process till ingredients ground up. Add the oil last until pesto is of pesto consistency. A bit of warm water will loosen it up too!
Caramelized Onions and Fennel
1 fennel bulb (fronds and green stalks removed so you just have the white part) sliced thin
1 large red onion, peeled and sliced thin
salt and pepper to taste
Coat the bottom of a large pan with olive oil and put over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and cook till transluscent. Add salt and pepper. Raise heat a bit and add a few tblsp. of H2O or white wine (so veggies don’t dry out) and caramelize (ccok till golden brown and fragrant but not burnt). This will take a little while.
Constructing Pizza (Preheat oven to 350 F if using naan bread and 450 F if using raw pizza dough)
2 whole wheat naan breads or 1 regular pizza dough
Put your naan breads on a lightly oiled (or use a silpat or parchment paper) cookie sheet OR stretch one pizza dough out on an oiled cookie sheet
Put the pesto and onion and fennel mixture on top of the naan bread and bake for approximately 10 minutes (maybe a bit more depending on your oven).
If using pizza dough bake the pizza dough (with a bit of olive oil rubbed on top of it) for 10 minutes with nothing on it. Then add the pesto and onion and fennel mixture and bake for another 10 minutes.