Eating a flower-covered pizza sounds like something that could only go down in our wildest dreams, but that dream is about to become a reality—and a delicious one, at that.
Two ingredients in particular really stand out: chia seeds and coconut milk.
Squash blossoms—you know, the weird-looking edible flowers of a squash plant—make for the perfect addition to this healthier take on a classic pie. Squash Blossom Pizza, which comes from the ridiculously creative Celine Steen in her new cookbook Bold Flavored Vegan, is packed with good-for-you ingredients, many of which you’d never expect on a slice of ‘za.
Steen found a way to use everything from cashews to tofu and nutritional yeast in the summertime dish, but two ingredients in particular really stand out: chia seeds and coconut milk.
“Chia seeds are first and foremost known as a superfood, but they’re also the perfect way to thicken sauces. They come in handy here in order to make sure the coconut-based sauce has the perfect consistency to adhere to the top of the pizza,” Steen says. “The coconut milk itself has a rich flavor that combines amazingly well with creamy cashew nuts and cheesy-tasting nutritional yeast to create a delicious plant-based alternative to cheese.”
A totally vegan, totally nutritious version of a universal favorite? Yeah, it’s time to get cookin’.
Here’s how to make the superfood-loaded dish.
Squash Blossom Pizza
¼ cup grape-seed oil or olive oil
1 small white onion, trimmed and peeled, sliced to about 1/4-inch thick
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes or 1/2 tsp red-pepper flakes (to taste), plus extra for serving
1 pinch saffron threads (optional)
1 cup raw cashew pieces, soaked in filtered water at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours
1/3 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk or coconut cream
4 oz. extra-firm silken tofu or unsweetened plain vegan yogurt
Juice from ½ lemon (1 Tbsp)
3/4 tsp coarse kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp white chia seeds
Dusting of cornmeal, for crust
1 lb. vegan pizza dough of choice
10 squash blossoms, washed and drained, stamen removed, halved lengthwise
Freshly ground peppercorn
Maldon sea salt
1. Place the oil, onion, garlic, and pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Heat on medium-low, then lower the temperature once the bulky ingredients start to sizzle. Cook on low for five minutes until fragrant and the onion becomes translucent. Remove from the heat, add the saffron threads (if using), and let the mixture infuse for and hour. Mince the garlic and set aside.
2. Drain and rinse the cashews. Place the coconut milk, tofu, cashews, lemon juice, salt, and nutritional yeast in a food processor or high-speed blender. Process until smooth. Add the chia seeds and blend until slightly thicker. Set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place a thin layer of cornmeal on a large baking sheet. Roll out the pizza dough into a thin rectangle, approximately 11 x 14 inches. Lightly brush the whole surface with infused oil, including the edges. There will be leftover oil, which can be used to stir-fry veggies or to flavor pasta or other grains. (You can store the infused oil, covered in the refrigerator, for up to one week.).
4. Top the dough with a layer (not too thick) of the prepared cashews. Any extra of the cashew ingredient can be used on a future pizza within a week. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
5. Evenly place the halved squash blossoms on the surface. Top with the minced garlic and onion slices from the infused oil. Bake until golden brown, about 16 minutes. Top with ground pepper, salt, and extra Aleppo pepper flakes to taste. Serve immediately.
Each week we spotlight a healthy-delish recipe that’s truly genius (and easy to make) from someone who’s wowed us in the food world. We’re talking buzzy cookbook authors and Instagram foodies to brilliant chefs. You can find more mouthwatering must-try ideas from the Recipe of the Week archive.
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