Grilled Summer Pizza

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I love homemade pizza overflowing with delicious toppings.  It honestly feels like a different food from the crappy stuff sold at fast food chains and greasy restaurants.  Homemade pizza can actually be a health food – filled with veggies, made on whole wheat crust, and using just the right amount of cheese.  And, in addition to being delicious and healthy, it’s always a crowd-pleaser and the perfect way to use up whatever is left in your fridge.

In the cooler months I’m devoted to the cast-iron pan pizza method, but in the summer I like to make my pizza on the grill.  It avoids a hot kitchen and infuses the pizza with a grilly-smokey flavor.  This recipe is one of my favorite summer pizza combinations, but feel free to swap out the veggies for your favorites.

Grilled Pizza Ingredients:

1 whole wheat pizza dough (I like the frozen balls of dough from Whole Foods – no funky ingredients or preservatives and easy to defrost whenever you need it)

Sauce:
3 cups of chopped tomatoes (or frozen tomatoes)
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of  garlic, minced
dash of red pepper flakes

Toppings:
2 cups of mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese

Homemade tomato sauce; grilled pizza

Start your sauce by sauteing the onion and garlic in olive oil and then adding the tomatoes and hot pepper.  Leave the sauce to simmer on medium/low for about 20 minutes, or until it has reached a thick, saucy consistency.

Sauteed mushrooms; grilled pizza

While the sauce is cooking saute the mushrooms on the stove-top.  I like them sauteed with olive oil and minced garlic until they have cooked down and browned on the edges (about 7 minutes).  Set them aside when they are finished cooking.

Grilled vegetables; grilled pizza

Next, drizzle your sliced zucchini and bell pepper with olive oil and grill on medium heat.  Pull them off when they have the signature grill marks and have cooked through (about 5 – 7 minutes).  Set them aside when they are finished cooking.

Now it’s time to start the dough!  Begin by rolling out your dough with flour (I prefer about 1/3 of an inch thick) and brushing it with olive oil and minced garlic on both sides.  This helps prevent it from sticking to the grill and infuses it with great flavor.

Pizza dough; grilled pizza

Keep checking on the dough and flip it once the bottom has been browned (5-10 minutes depending on your grill).

Grilled pizza dough; grilled pizza

Begin adding your toppings while the uncooked side of the dough is cooking.  Start with a thick layer of sauce, followed by the mushrooms.

Grilled pizza

Next add your grilled peppers and zucchini.  Don’t be concerned if it seems like there are too many toppings – keep squeezing them all on there!

Grilled pizza

Finally, sprinkle the pizza with grated cheese and close the top of the grill to give the cheese a few minutes to melt.  Let the pizza cool for about 10 minutes after you pull it from the grill and the slice and serve warm.

Grilled pizza

There are so many healthy things about a homemade pizza like this one.  The whole wheat crust turns a simple carbohydrate into a complex carb.  And the tomatoes and mushrooms both become much more nutritious when cooked; tomatoes increase their lycopene antioxidant levels and mushrooms increase their immune boosting properties.  I guarantee you’ll be making grilled pizza again after giving this a try!

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