Rustic Grilled Pizza with Zucchini, Garlic & Fresh Basil

Rustic grilled pizza with zucchini, garlic, and basil leaves

Rustic grilled pizza with zucchini, garlic, and basil leaves.

Spring may have come late this year, but the vegetables in my garden are coming in early. The alternating heat and rain the East Coast has been getting must be doing the trick, because my tomato plants are heavy with fruit and we’re flush with jalapeños and banana peppers too. Since we’re usually overrun by squash and zucchini, this year I put in just one plant each, which it turns out might still be too much. I’m too superstitious to complain about success in the garden, but I find myself in the familiar position of looking for creative ways to use  squash.

I started working on this recipe after I saw Chocolate and Zucchini’s exquisite Yellow Zucchini Tarte Fine on a Yogurt Based Crust – what a beautiful, delicate little thing. I wanted to try my own, more rustic version of squash on a thin-crust  - something less “brunch with my ladies” and more “House Full of Hungry Y Chromosomes.”

What I came up with is a whole wheat pizza brushed with good olive oil, topped with thinly sliced zucchini, yellow squash and garlic, and finished with fresh mozzarella, shaved parmesan, and fresh whole basil leaves. This recipe can easily be made vegan by replacing the mozzarella and parmesan with soy cheeses, or by omitting them altogether, adding extra slices of zucchini instead. The bold flavor of the olive oil, garlic, and basil stand very well on their own.

The whole wheat dough, adapted from  the Food Network’s Curtis Aikens, is a staple at our house. This dough is not quick – it needs to rise for 45 minutes and sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours – but I love the sweetness of the honey with the earthiness of the wheat flour.  I make it without a food processor  because my kitchen is so small and food processors are so big, and anyway I like to knead the dough by hand.

Whole wheat pizza brushed with good olive oil, topped with thinly sliced zucchini, yellow squash and garlic, and finished with fresh mozzarella, shaved parmesan, and fresh whole basil leaves.

Whole wheat pizza brushed with good olive oil, topped with thinly sliced zucchini, yellow squash and garlic, and finished with fresh mozzarella, shaved parmesan, and fresh whole basil leaves.

I decided to grill my pizzas since it’s 95 degrees outside and I prefer not to heat up the kitchen. I could write an entire blog post on how to grill pizza, but fortunately for us, the Kitchn already did. Take at look this this post . Organization is key because you’re in constant motion from the moment you add the dough to the grill, and there won’t be time to run into the house to grab missing ingredients.  As the Kitchn notes, it works well to set up a table with the tools you’ll need (tongs, spatula, cookie sheets for holding the cooked pizza).  I organized toppings in separate bowls and added the bowls to the table too.

I personally like  clear grill marks on my pizza, which can mean a little char on the edges of the crust. Still, check the crust regularly as it cooks to make sure it’s not burning. A pizza peel is the best method for flipping the crust from one side to other. After the flip, you’ll need to work quickly to add toppings. Since our pizza is rustic, perfection is unnecessary and even undesirable.

Grilled Pizza with Zucchini, Garlic and Fresh Basil
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Grilled Pizza with Zucchini, Garlic and Fresh Basil
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetarian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Dough
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1¼ cups lukewarm water
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • corn meal (for sprinkling over dough)
Toppings
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium sized zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1 medium sized yellow squash, sliced thin,
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced thing
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella - I used ciliegine (cherry-sized)
  • 4-5 ounces shaved parmesan
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • kosher salt
Instructions
Dough
  1. Stir yeast into lukewarm water in a measuring cup or a glass bowl.
  2. In a large glass mixing bowl, combine whole wheat and all purpose flours, yeast and warm water mixture, oil, honey and salt, stirring with a wooden spoon.
  3. Knead with hands for 10 minutes or until dough forms a ball.
  4. Leave the ball of dough in the bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until dough has doubled in bulk.
  5. Punch down the dough, transfer it a floured surface, and knead it for about a minute.
  6. Divide the dough into four equal portions and roll the four portions into balls.
  7. Place the balls of dough in separate gallon sized freezer bags and place them in the refrigerator for at least two hours and up to over night.
  8. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it return to room temperature.
  9. On a floured surface, roll and stretch each piece of dough into an 8-inch circle. A rough shape works.
  10. Sprinkle the dough with corn meal
Grill and Assemble Your Pizzas
  1. Preheat the grill for 10 minutes at medium heat.
  2. Place the sliced garlic, zucchini, squash, mozzarella, parmesan, basil, and half (2 Tablespoons) of the olive oil into separate bowls and put the bowls on a table next to the grill.
  3. Also place on the table - tongs, two cookie sheets, a pizza peel or a wide spatula, and a brush (for brushing on olive oil).
  4. Brush one side of each of the four pizzas with the other 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.
  5. Place the pizzas on the grill, olive oil side down.
  6. Grill for 3-4 minutes or until dough puffs up.
  7. Turn dough onto other side with pizza peel or large spatula so cooked side is up.
  8. Brush the rest of the olive oil onto the pizza.
  9. Brush the cooked side of the pizza with more olive oil and then place the garlic, zucchini, squash, mozzarella, parmesan, and basil on the pizza in a thin layer. Overloading the pizzas will cause the dough to fall apart.
  10. Place dough back on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes with the grill topped closed, checking the bottom after a minute and a half to make sure it's not charring.
  11. Remove the pizzas from the grill and serve.
Notes
For a vegan option, replace the fresh mozzarella and parmesan with vegan cheeses, or omit them altogether, adding extra sliced zucchini. The flavor of the olive oil, garlic slices, and fresh basil stand very well on their own.

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