Friday, August 8, 2014

Braided Veggie Pizza

This braided pizza is reminiscent of a calzone (though without the ricotta cheese because the significant other doesn't care for it). It is a bit more time consuming than hand tossing a pizza, but it is kind of fun to eat and can be served as an appetizer. Of course you can stuff the pizza with many fillings and flavors. I happened to have mushrooms, onions, and an abundance of kale from the garden, so that's what went into this one. With the hot weather on its way for the weekend you might decide to throw it on the grill instead of baking in the oven. I have not tried it with this recipe, but I would suggest using a grill-safe baking sheet or sturdy tin foil so you don't lose the shape of the pizza. 

The school year is right around the corner and dinners can be hard to juggle with sports and afterschool activities, This can be made a day in advance and placed in the oven right before dinner instead of relying on frozen and processed foods. Make your own dough and freeze in advance or pick up a prepared pizza dough at the store (most stores have a local company that they order from). Pair with a side salad for a complete meal.

Braided Veggie Pizza
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:
1 whole grain pizza dough
1/4 cup corn meal
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup pizza or marinara sauce
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
3 cups of kale, sliced
1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella or pizza mix cheese
Marinara sauce, for dipping

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
1. Remove pizza dough from refrigerator and set out for 15 minutes (will make it easier to work with)
2. Meanwhile heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
3. Add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add kale and cover, cook for 3 minutes or until kale and mushrooms are soft.
4. Spread corn meal on a clean counter surface. Stretch or roll the dough into a large rectangle. 

5. Making the "end flaps": Using a sharp knife make a 2 inch slit about 4 inches in from each side and pull center of the dough out a few inches. (see picture above for assistance).
6. Making the "side flaps": Make slits about 4 inches long, 1 inch apart down the long end of the dough.
7. Spread the sauce down the center of the pizza dough, Add vegetables on top and sprinkle with cheese.
8. Fold the bottom "end flap" up to cover the filling. Starting on the right side, fold the bottom "side flap" over the fillings. Then fold the left bottom "side flap", then repeat alternating the right and left side flaps until to the last "end flap". Fold that one down to close the pizza. 

9. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool a few minutes before slicing into 8 pieces. Warm up some marinara in the microwave and serve with pizza for dipping.

Nutrition Facts: 1 slice
205 calories, 6 g fat (2 g saturated), 30 g carbohydrates, 10 g protein, 350mg sodium

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