Sunday, February 12, 2012

Eggplant Ciabatta Bread Pizza with Roasted Veggies (Vegan option)

I've been craving pizza lately. When I was in high school I really liked these french bread pizzas. They are terrible for you but I sure thought they tasted good. I've never attempted to make my own until now. I saw this recipe in Rachel Ray's magazine and I decided to revamp it, making it actually very healthy! My family has changed the way we eat quite a bit. We used to love pizza caked with cheese but when you add all these roasted veggies on top, you'd be surprised how you forget the cheese isn't even there! And of course you get the benefit of adding nutrition to your plate. These pizzas were way better than we even expected. The roasted eggplant layer added a unique (and nutritious) twist to a typical pizza. Check it out. 

Teebs' Twist on Rachel's: Eggplant Ciabatta Bread Pizza

2 small, firm eggplants
1/4 C. EVOO
salt & pepper
1 small onion (or 1/2 of a large). finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 14.5 oz. can, diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1/3 C. fresh basil leaves, torn (wash & pat dry first)
1 loaf ciabatta bread, split
1/2 C. freshly grated or shaved parmigiano-reggiano cheese*
8 slices smoked mozzarella cheese*
 *instead of cheese I use nutritional yeast
A generous mixture of veggies to roast (enough to fill a baking sheet) I used a small bunch of broccoli and cauliflower, 1 zucchini, 2 yellow zucchini, 2 scallions, and 1/3 of a butternut squash. 

Preheat oven 450 degrees. Halve the eggplants lengthwise and, using a small, sharp knife, score into small crosshatch cubes, being careful not to cut through the skins. Drizzle with 3 T. EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Wash and cut any vegetables you would like on your pizzas. They do shrivel up quite a bit when roasting, so don't cut them too small. Place them all on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss with a little EVOO (or coconut oil), coarse salt & pepper. Bake about 20-30 minutes, until caramelized, turning veggies halfway through. Keep an eye on them because some ovens cook quicker.

While the vegetables are roasting get the sauce ready. In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 1 T. EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and season with salt & pepper. Stir in the basil leaves until wilted. Keep warm over low heat. 

Jack the heat back up to 450 degrees! 
Scoop out the eggplant flesh and spread it on the bread. Top with the tomato mixture, roasted veggies, and lastly sprinkle nutritional yeast or cheeses (if using) on top. Place the bread pizzas on the baking sheet and toast in the oven either until cheese melts, or about 5-8 minutes. All I cared about was the bread being crisp enough. If needed, you could broil it the last few minutes if it's not getting crisp enough, but watch it so it doesn't burn! 
Cut each loaf into 4 pieces. Enjoy!
While making this tasty dish I listened to David Crowder Band's new cd, Give Us Rest. The vinyl is on it's way via USPS. I highly recommend the album. It's 34 tracks, very unique and includes some remakes of some of my favorite old hymns. The night ended with the usual, an episode of Andy Griffith with my parents and it was off to bed...

Good evening and goodnight.

Chef Teebs

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