When Nick and I first started dating he lived in a suburb just outside of the city. There weren’t a lot of vegan options nearby, so we’d normally cook food at his apartment. When we did go out we would go to a local brewery called Mindful Brewing. They also didn’t have a lot of vegan options, but they used to have this one butternut squash pizza that was phenomenal. It had chickpeas, red onions, and a balsamic reduction. We’ve attempted to recreate this pizza several times over the past three years. It may not be exactly the same, but it’s really good.
I’m not sure exactly what they put in the butternut squash puree to flavor it, but we kept ours pretty simple. We’ve tried cooking the sauce down before applying it to the pizza as well as applying it uncooked. I would definitely recommend taking a few minutes to cook it down with some maple syrup and spices. It adds a lot of flavor. The water content is a bit too high if you don’t cook it down, and it makes the crust a little too soft for my taste. It’s been a while since I’ve had the pizza at Mindful, but I’m pretty sure it had cilantro on top. We used parsley instead, because we simply don’t like cilantro. I can tolerate it as a garnish, but generally prefer to sub something else in. Feel free to use either ingredient if you are a cilantro lover.
This pizza calls for a hearty, thick crust. I don’t recommend buying a pre-baked pizza shell from the super market. If you don’t want to make your own pizza dough you can buy balls of pizza dough at some supermarkets. We recommend the dough from Trader Joe’s. You can also find dough at a number of regional supermarkets. If you do want to make your own we have a great recipe that we’ve been using for a few years.
Butternut Squash Pizza
Squash Puree Ingredients
- one butternut squash
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 small red onion
- 1 16oz can of chickpeas
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- pinch of salt & pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Squash Puree Directions
- Peel and break down squash. Remove the seeds and strings, and chop into small, equal pieces. If you purchased prepared squash you can skip this step.
- Boil squash in a large stock pot full of water for thirty minutes, or until fork tender.
- Drain, rinse with cold water, and place into an ice bath to halt the cooking process. Drain again, and put the squash into a food processor.
- Blend squash until it is a smooth puree. One large squash will make enough puree for about four pizzas. Add about a cup and a half to a sauce pot, and store the rest in the fridge or freezer to use in other dishes.
- Add maple syrup, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper to the squash puree in the sauce pot. Cook down for about ten to fifteen minutes.
- Add sauce to the top of the pizza crust once the crust has been pre-baked.
Balsamic Reduction Directions
- In a small sauce pot combine balsamic vinegar with maple syrup.
- Cook on medium heat for about fifteen minutes, or the liquid has reduced to half of its original quantity. Whisk frequently to prevent burning.
- Remove from heat, and set aside to cool while you assemble the rest of the pizza.
- Drain and rinse chickpeas, and place them in a bowl.
- Toss chickpeas with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Top pizza with desired amount of chickpeas.
- Slice onion into thin slices, and top the pizza with them.
- Chop parsley, but wait to add it to the pizza until the end.
- Bake pizza for about 25 minutes. When the pizza looks to be about done top it with the parsley, and drizzle some of the balsamic reduction on top. Bake for an additional 2 minutes.