Monday, January 28, 2013

Greek Inspired Pizza

Greek Inspired Pizza
I've never had a Greek pizza before, so this was a bit of an experiment.  I really like Greek salad with tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, etc and I thought it would be neat to make a pizza inspired by those flavors.  I did some research about what goes into Greek salad, and came up with a list of ingredients I thought I could make work in a pizza including spinach, tomatoes (I decided on sundried), red wine vinegar, olive oil, olives, red onion, feta cheese, chickpeas, green pepper and artichoke hearts.  I created a pesto out of the spinach and sundried tomatoes that acts as the "sauce".   The pesto along with the olives, feta cheese, and artichokes add a ton of flavor to this pizza.  I think it turned out really well and was a fun way to have Greek flavors!

Greek Inspired Pizza
Greek Inspired Pizza

Like with my other pizzas, I used a ball of pizza dough that I made from my sourdough starter.  You can use any pizza dough that you like of course.  This is a whole wheat recipe that I like.  I think a thin whole wheat crust would taste particularly good with this pizza... maybe even better than a white flour pizza crust.  I also think using pitas and making individual pizzas would be good, and even more Greek inspired!  The next time I make this pizza that's what I will try for sure.

Greek Inspired Pizza

Greek Inspired Pizza

yield: 1 14-inch pizza (serves 4 with a salad on the side)


For Tomato Pesto:
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, not in oil
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
For Pizza:
  • 1 ball pizza dough (see note above; if it's been in the freezer, put it in the fridge the night before)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 green pepper, julienned
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • zatar seasoning (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas (if from a can then rinsed and drained)
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, rinsed and roughly chopped (I used artichoke hearts from a can)
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • handful spinach leaves


1)  Take the ball of pizza dough out of the fridge and let it rest on the counter for a couple of hours to come to room temperature.  If you are in a rush, you could try to microwave it on LOW power, but check frequently.  

2) Preheat oven to 470˚ F.  (Note: If using a pizza stone, make sure that it is in your oven before you start preheating.)  Once the ball of pizza dough is room temperature, shape it into the correct shape for your pan of choice.  I prefer a 14 inch round pizza pan, but you could also use a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet for a rectangular pizza.  I use a rolling pin and my hands (lifting up the dough) to help it into the right shape.  A silicone mat is super helpful for rolling and making sure the pizza is the right size.  Transfer to your pan of choice coated with cooking spray and let sit while the oven is preheating.  Once the oven has preheated, put the pizza crust in the oven for 6 minutes to prebake the crust.  (Note:  if you are using a pizza stone, make sure the oven has been preheated for at least 30 minutes before putting in the pizza.  You do NOT need to prebake the crust if using a pizza stone.)

3) Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine all tomato pesto ingredients and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.   Set aside. Note:  if you have sundried tomatoes packed in oil, don't add olive oil to the pesto.

4)  In a medium nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add green pepper, red onion, sliced garlic, and chickpeas and cook, stirring frequently, until chickpeas are starting to brown.  Season with 1/2 teaspoon of zatar seasoning if desired.  Remove from heat.

5)  To make the pizza, spread the tomato pesto over the pre-baked crust in an even layer, leaving about a one inch crust uncovered.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese (you are not using  a lot!).  Add cooked pepper/onion mixture, olives and artichoke hearts.  Lay baby spinach leaves over the other ingredients as shown the pictures.  Finally, sprinkle with feta cheese.  

6)  Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese and crust has some light brown spots.  Check to make sure that the bottom of the crust is also brown in spots. If it's not and the top of the pizza is getting too brown, lay a piece of foil over the pizza and cook for a few more minutes until the pizza is lightly brown on the bottom.

7) Transfer to a wire cooling rack for a few minutes (to help make sure the crust doesn't get soggy).   Cut into pieces and serve!

(this recipe is a Food for the Week original!)

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