Deep Dish Pizza with Winter Vegetables

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (such as grapeseed)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 box Simple Mills pizza crust mix
  • 12-15 slices of dairy or non-dairy mozzarella cheese, divided 
  • About 8-10 slices of butternut squash 
  • 1 cup cooked chopped spinach 
  • 1 cup sliced white or baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 ½ cups pizza sauce 
  • 2-3 Tablespoons parmesan cheese, plus more for finishing (optional; omit if dairy free)

 

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8” springform pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and water, then whisk in the pizza crust mix. 
  3. Turn the pizza crust dough out into the prepared springform pan and use the heel of your hand and your fingertips to press it into an even layer across the bottom of the pan, then about halfway up the sides of the pan. 
  4. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, or until it starts to firm up.
  5. When the crust is done baking, remove it from the oven and keep the oven heated to 350F. 
  6. Add the toppings to the pre-baked crust: First, make an even layer of cheese out of 4-5 slices. Then add the butternut squash slices in an even layer. Top it with another layer of cheese slices. Then add the spinach and mushrooms. Top with the final layer of cheese. Finally, pour the sauce over the top and spread it into an even layer, making sure it is covering all of the cheese. Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese over the sauce, if using.
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the edges are golden and the sauce no longer appears shiny. Sprinkle an additional tablespoon or two of parmesan cheese over the top, if desired. 
  8. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before removing the sides of the pan, slicing and serving.  

 

Notes:

  • If you don’t have a springform pan, you can use a regular metal cake pan. The springform sides make the pizza a little easier to get out of the pan, but as long as you grease the cake pan very well, it should not be a problem. 
  • If you’re having trouble shaping the crust because your fingers are sticking to the dough, lightly dampen your hands to discourage sticking. 
  • The sliced cheese is preferable because it most effectively creates a thick, even layer, but you can certainly use shredded cheese if you prefer. You’ll need a total of about 3 cups shredded. Use just under a cup for the first and second layer, and the remainder (about 1 ¼ cups) for the top layer (directly under the sauce). 
  • To prepare the butternut squash to use in the pizza, cut the ends off and peel a large squash (discard the ends and peel). Using a sharp knife, slice the squash thinly, width-wise, to create thin discs of squash. You should have enough to make an even layer across the crust, which for me was about 10 slices, but slice more or less as needed to create an even layer.  
  • If you’d prefer not to cook down fresh spinach, this pizza works great with frozen spinach, but make sure you have thoroughly defrosted and drained it before measuring and using (or else you will have a watery pizza!).
  • Make sure your mushrooms are washed before you slice them. 
  • Homemade or store bought pizza sauce is fine, but make sure you aren’t using marinara or other pasta sauce (it will be to watery).
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Yield: One 8” deep dish pizza