Butternut Squash and Kale Pizza is healthy, cheesy, and satisfying!
We’re cruising right past autumn and stopping at winter. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy our favorite autumn flavors. Butternut squash and kale are like peas and carrots, but more modern, sophisticated, and probably full of magical nutrients that make them healthier together than they would be on their own. This combo is one of my favorite ways to enjoy fall flavors (remember this risotto??) and wouldn’t ever consider skipping it for whatever it is that’s in season in the winter (snow ice cream?).
Strummer and I ate this butternut squash and kale pizza all by ourselves while the other weirdos in our family enjoyed a plain cheese pizza. There is some serious division brewing around here based on who does or doesn’t like squash. Strummer and I are whole heartedly on board. I was even able to give him what was left of the puree in the food processor (with the blade removed, obviously) with a spoon and he went to town. It was a great way to silence The Great Pre-Dinner Scream-a-Thon.
This dough recipe makes enough for two pizzas. I used the second to make the
boring cheese pizza for the rest of the family. You could also use a little more squash and have enough puree to make two delicious pizzas. I didn’t give exact measurements on the kale leaves because it really doesn’t matter. Just scatter some torn leaves over the top and wait for this crispy, cheesy, creamy, carb-y goodness to be done.
Forgive me for being a little loosey-goosey (do people still say that?) on this recipe, but honestly, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Roasted squash becomes pureed squash, goes on top of velvety dough and gets topped with the very best cheese and greens. I might even argue this has a place at your Thanksgiving meal. It’s the perfect food to serve in that awkward hungry lunch hour when you’re trying to wait for a 3 pm dinner.
Pro tip time! Sprinkle cornmeal on your pan when making pizza for a slightly sweet, super crunchy crust. I’m not one of those fancy pizza stone people (although I would probably love it), and I just always use my regular baking sheets when making pizza at home. Sprinkling cornmeal (Bob’s Red Mill Cornmeal is the best! <—Affiliate link but only because I truly love it) on the pan keeps the dough from sticking and makes it taste just like your favorite pizzeria.
If you reeeeeally want to take things to the next level, I recommend sprinkling on a handful of pine nuts and gorgonzola cheese. This makes it extremely rich to the point where I honestly don’t know if this is health food or comfort food. Can it be both? (It can.)
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This healthy twist on pizza is covered in creamy butternut squash, cheese, and kale!
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 packet quick rise yeast
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the bowl and the squash
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus more for the squash
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 2 heaping cups peeled, cubed butternut squash
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
- Cornmeal, for dusting the pan
- 1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese
- A few torn kale leaves
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, pour in warm water and sprinkle yeast over the top. Let rest until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Add sugar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt to the yeast mixture. With the motor running on low, add flour a little at a time until the dough comes together. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl and be slightly sticky to the touch, but not stick to your fingers. Allow the mixer to knead it for about 5 minutes, or remove from the bowl and knead by hand on a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a tight ball and transfer to a large, lightly oiled bowl, turning it over to completely coat the dough in oil. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm place until doubled in size, about one hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425ºF. Place squash on a baking sheet large enough to arrange it in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Bake the squash, stirring once or twice, until soft and beginning to caramelize, about 30 minutes. Add the shallots to the pan, stir to coat in the existing oil, and return the squash and shallots to the oven until the shallots have softened, about 15 minutes. Transfer the squash and shallots to the bowl of a food processor. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and process until smooth.
Increase the oven temperature to 450º. Sprinkle a medium sized baking sheet with cornmeal. Punch down the dough and cut it in half. Wrap one half in plastic and freeze for another day or set it aside for a different use of your choice. Take the other half and roll or stretch it into a thin rectangle and press it down onto the prepared baking sheet. Top the dough with the squash puree, then sprinkle with fontina, kale leaves, and the remaining Parmesan.
Bake the pizza for 15 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly.