Broccoli Rabe & Walnut-Sausage Pizza

I know what you might be thinking. You’ve never heard of / tried / seen broccoli rabe in the store, and you’re not in the mood to make a special trip to the next town to find this secret ingredient that you may not even like. Hold up. Broccoli rabe is really something special, and I promise that after this pizza, you’re going to add it to your meal prep routine on the reg. If there’s a Whole Foods near you, there is probably a bundle of broccoli rabe sitting in the same produce section you always browse, waiting for you to notice it.

This is a sauce-less pizza, but that certainly does not make it less flavorful or less enjoyable. However, if you come from the class of pizza folk who are dedicated to a saucy pie, then I invite your creativity to shine! A balsamic drizzle would brighten up the earthy greens, a nutty pesto would compliment the walnuts and greens, or a classic marinara would cut through the deep, meaty walnut “sausage" crumbles. But as for me, I’ll eat this as-is for many pies to come.

Ingredients:

1 naked Cappello’s pizza crust

2 Tbs mild-flavored cooking oil, divided*

1/2 bundle broccoli rabe

4-5 large crimini mushrooms

1/4-1/3 cup vegan ricotta cheese

1 cup lightly packed fresh arugula

1/2 cup micro-broccoli, or other mild-flavored sprouts**

1 batch Walnut Sausage Crumbles, see below

 

Walnut “Sausage" Crumbles Ingredients:

1/2 tsp mild-flavored cooking oil*

1/2 cup raw walnut pieces

1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle or food processor

1/8 tsp each of the following: mustard powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, dried basil

Salt & pepper to taste

1. Position an oven rack and baking sheet to the lowest level, and preheat to 450F.

2. Rinse the broccoli rabe thoroughly with water. Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or a few layers of paper towels. Remove the bottom half of the bundle (stems) with a sharp knife, and discard or save for another use.

3. Wipe away debris from the mushrooms with a clean kitchen towel or damp paper towel. Slice thinly, and set aside.

4. Remove the pizza crust from the freezer and packaging, and brush with 1 Tbs. of the oil. Arrange the broccoli rabe to cover the whole base of the pizza, leaving a bit of crust around the edges. Sprinkle with the mushroom slices and spoonfuls of ricotta to your liking. Drizzle the whole pizza with the 2nd Tbs. of oil, and carefully place onto the baking sheet in your oven.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned and crisp, and the toppings are cooked through. Cooking times and oven temperatures vary, so if the bottom or edges are becoming crisp but the toppings need more time, move the pizza to a higher rack for the remaining cook time.

6. While the pizza is in the oven, prepare the walnut “sausage” crumbles. Preheat a non-stick frying pan over low-medium heat with the cooking oil for 2 minutes. Add the walnuts and spices to the pan, and stir to evenly coat the walnuts. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. Once the walnuts are fragrant and lightly browned, turn off the heat and set aside.

7. Remove the pizza from the oven, and sprinkle with the fresh arugula, walnut crumbles, and micro-broccoli.

Optional: Garnish with a drizzle of extra oil, lemon zest, chili flakes, freshly cracked pepper, or other favorite pizza toppings, if desired.

Slice with a sharp knife or pizza cutter, and enjoy immediately!

*Cooking oils that work well here include: walnut, grapeseed, olive, or avocado. I would suggest avoiding strongly flavored oils like coconut or infused / smoked oils here, unless the flavor is mild or you want to use as a garnish to enhance the flavor of the pizza.

**Sunflower sprouts would also work nicely here. Avoid strongly flavored or bitter sprouts that may dominate the flavor of the pizza.

 

Original recipe by Leesa from The Purposeful Plate