I love to snack. A lot. Like, too often. I enjoy savory snacks, crunchy, spicy and creamy snacks. Hummus with crackers or carrots is my go-to, but all kinds work. A tapas-style dinner is always my favorite kind. Speaking of, dinner-inspired dips always win. Speaking of, my favorites right now are pizza dip and buffalo-cauliflower dip.
Inspired by these, I came up with this eggplant Parmesan dip. I love eggplant, but it’s often difficult to make at home, often coming out with mixed responses. But this dip is consistent with depth of texture and flavor, creamy and comforting, giving people with strong willpower no reason to stop!
In an effort to solve my most burning question every summer — “How do I use all my squash and zucchini?” — I decided to go the squash-as-pasta route, using it in place of the crust for pizza. A bonus was this was a tasty, light treat using produce from my farm and garden in a non-too heavy meal on a humid summer day.
My first experience with Minneapolis’ vegan butcher resulted in tasty Hawaiian ribs and pepperoni.
As luck would have it, I stopped at a Herbivorous Butcher pop-up shop last week and snagged some pepperoni, so I knew the results would be tasty. (Side note: Herbivorous Butcher is a Minneapolis-based vegan butcher making small-batch handcrafted food from scratch.)
Sweating the zucchini
I wanted the pizza crust to be as bread-like and sturdy as possible, and cook as well as could be expected, so I sliced the zucchini evenly into 1/4 inch slices on my mandoline and salted them for about 30 minutes. Patting them dry, I dipped each slice in the milk-eggwash and dredges them in breadcrumbs. They then went on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and baked at 400° for about 15 minutes, until browned and crisp.
Pizza assembly line
Next the zucchini crusts got a light amount of marinara (no need to make them soggy an hour into the production) and cheese, then thinly sliced toppings. In this case the toppings were mushrooms, green onions, the pepperoni and rosemary, again lightly topped to not make the pizza too heavy. From here the pizza was put back into the still-warm oven to broil for 10 minutes. Once the cheese was bubbling and the toppings cooked, it was ready.
With the breaded zucchini as the crust, it was difficult to tell it wasn’t bread, it just wasn’t dense like crust. And more importantly, it was hard to tell it was zucchini (one of my less favorite summer vegetables).
With a little planning and not much hands-on time, this was a really tasty light summer dinner I will be making again.
Pizzas using breaded and baked zucchini as the crust.
Slice zucchini as evenly as possible and as thinly as desired.
Salt zucchini 30 minutes. Pat dry.
Whisk together egg and milk in one bowl, pour the breadcrumbs into another. Dip each slice of zucchini in the egg wash and coat with breadcrumbs. Place on baking sheet and cook at 400° for 15 minutes or until browned and crisp.
Remove from oven and top with marinara, cheese and toppings. Place in warm oven and broil 10 minutes.