This is one I’ve been dreaming of for awhile.
I had an inkling that butternut squash would make a creamy, dreamy pizza sauce – after all, it’s divine in this mac and “cheese” – and I was eagerly waiting until fall came and I could try it.
Finally, the time came, and I made the sauce and … I could not for the life of me decide what else to put on it. So, the first time I made this, I smeared my pizza crust with the delicious sauce and then, not sure what else to do, I threw on a few slices of onion and called it good.
The result was surprisingly delicious, but as soon as I took a bite, I knew that apples needed to happen on this. And pecans weren’t far behind.
Not to pull out the “you guys,” but seriously. You guys. This is such a great autumn pizza. As I mentioned here, vegan pizza really doesn’t have to be that sad cheeseless disk that you might envision. As long as you have a good crust, great flavors, and an element of creamy, you’re good to go. The butternut squash pizza sauce definitely fills the “creamy” criteria; the rest is all flavor.
As always, this recipe is entirely customizable for the lacto- or meat-inclined. Make smaller, individual pizzas and just add cheese for the dairy-eaters (I added mozzarella; gouda would likely be unreal). As far as the meat-eaters go, a bit of cooked and crumbled sausage should make them very happy.
Vegan Butternut Squash Pizza with Apples & Pecans
For the butternut squash sauce:
- 4 cups cubed butternut squash (approx 1/2 of a medium 3-pound squash)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium clove garlic (peeled)
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper + more to taste
For the pizza:
- 1 pound 16 ounces homemade or store-bought pizza dough (I like Trader Joe's garlic & herb crust for this recipe)
- 1 batch butternut squash sauce
- 2 medium apples (I like Granny smith; for the pizza photographed, I used a Jonagold and a Granny Smith, cored and thinly sliced)
- 1/2 small red onion (thinly sliced)
- 1/3 cup pecans (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- A couple pinches of kosher salt or sea salt
- A few leaves fresh thyme (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make the sauce. Fill a large saucepan halfway full of water and set over high heat. Add butternut squash. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, 6-7 minutes.
- Drain squash in a colander and let cool for a couple of minutes. Add to the pitcher of a high-speed blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S-blade. Add the remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. If the sauce needs to be thinned out a bit, add some more olive oil, about a teaspoon at a time.
- Spread the dough into your desired shape and thickness on a cookie sheet or pizza stone. Add butternut squash sauce and spread with a spoon. Layer with apples, then onions, then pecans. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle a couple pinches of salt over the top.
- Bake until the crust is golden and cooked through, the apples and onion are tender, and the pecans are toasted but not burned, about 10 minutes.
- Top with fresh thyme if desired. Cut into wedges and serve.