Pizza can be a light, nutritious and flavorful dinner to enjoy on the patio on cool July and August evenings.
Instead of heavy meats, utilize your favorite, refreshing roasted or steamed vegetables from last night’s dinner.
Add seasonal tomato and basil, and use a simple crust to highlight summertime’s produce bounty.
This pizza takes a trip to a summer meal in Rome or Naples with the addition of bright, vibrant Italian flavors.
Feel free to leave off a topping you don’t enjoy, or substitute one topping for another. However, beware of adding additional ingredients. A gorgeous pizza allows a few, assertive fine savors to shine.
The garden eggplant and tomatoes are juicy and refreshing, while the cheese, capers and olives are full-bodied, piquant and briny, offering a full range of powerful sensations for the taste buds. Many New Mexicans may add garden chiles or jalapeños, but these cured goodies offered enough flavor “oomph” for me!
Of course, one cannot enjoy pizza without a crisp, green salad. A salad of crisp greens, sweet pear, figs, cranberries, crunchy pistachios and salty, rich blue cheese is a perfect match for a herbaceous, vegetarian pizza.
Fresh rosemary grows wild in New Mexico; ask a neighbor if you can borrow a snippet of rosemary, and you may make a new friend in seconds.
My husband and I eat a salad with absolutely every dinner; no exceptions. They are a satisfying, creative and jolly way to enjoy myriad nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.
The sky’s the limit: build a base off of spinach, arugula or “spring mix,” and let your creative juices flow. Introduce salad into your nightly routine with the recipe, below.
Summer’s Garden Pizza
Serves Four (Serving size: two slices)
14 ounces whole-grain pizza dough, homemade (recommended) or a store-bought/refrigerated
1/2 cup light basil pesto, store-bought or homemade
2 cups leftover roasted or steamed vegetables of choice (I used garden eggplant and broccoli)
1 large tomato, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup olives, any variety, halved (I used Italian Castelvetrano)
1/2 cup feta, crumbled (I used Italian sheep’s milk Mizithra cheese)
2 Tablespoons capers, drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1-2 Tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
cracked black pepper
cornmeal, for dusting cookie sheet tray
Pear, Fig and Cranberry Salad
5 ounces baby spinach
1/3 cup roasted, salted and shelled pistachios
1/4 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries
8 dried or fresh brown figs, thinly sliced and stems removed
1/2 cup baby carrots, thinly sliced at the diagonal
1/3 cup homemade or storebought light French vinaigrette
sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
1 1/4 teaspoon very finely chopped, fresh rosemary
- Evenly divide the baby spinach between four small salad plates.
- Layer the pear, cheese, pistachios, cranberries, figs and carrots on each plate, making sure the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Drizzle each salad with vinaigrette, a little over a tablespoon for each salad.
- Sprinkle each salad with 1/4 teaspoon rosemary.
- Lightly season the salads with salt and pepper and serve.
- Alternatively, assemble this salad in a large bowl, toss and serve family style.
©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013-2014), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.