Crispy hummus and butternut squash wholemeal pizza

A show-stopping pizza to share with friends on special occasions or to enjoy with a beer at the end of the week. It’s bold, it’s colourful, creamy, chewy, crispy and very very tasty.

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After making a version of this pizza pretty much every week for the last 2 years, I wanted to share this finely-tuned method so you can all go off and create your own masterpieces. Disclaimer: the butternut squash idea is unashamedly stolen from Zizzi. It might seem like sacrilege to ditch the tomato and cheese in favour of squash and hummus but the textures and flavours these ingredients create are wonderful. The secret to the chewy, crispy crust is adding the polenta to the surface of the dough. Keep the hummus on top to let it crisp up as it cooks – I guarantee it’s better than any vegan cheese (maybe controversial but certainly any of the brands I’ve tried). This recipe makes 2 large pizzas, enough for 3-4 people, or for 2 people if you both really love pizza!

Oh and it’s full of really healthy ingredients! Butternut squash is rich in potassium for healthy blood pressure. Add hummus for protein and fibre, and the hummus and spinach both contain plenty of iron.

I hope you enjoy it as much as my friends and family do.

Ingredients:

500g wholemeal bread flour

20g plain flour (for kneading)

7g fast-action yeast

30ml oil of your choice

20g polenta

380ml warm water

Butternut squash sauce (see recipe below)

Chunky hummus (see recipe below or use shop-bought hummus)

1 small onion (sliced)

Mushrooms (sliced)

A few handfuls of spinach (fresh or frozen, with moisture squeezed out)

Antipasti as desired (artichokes, olives, sundried tomatoes, jalapenos)

Smoked paprika

Rosemary or other Italian herbs

Salt and pepper

Prepare the dough

1. Mix the wholemeal flour, yeast and salt in a mixing bowl.

2. Add oil and water and mix.

3. Tip out onto clean surface and knead for around 10 minutes until a soft dough is formed.

4. Place dough into lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm area (like a boiler cupboard or in the sun) until doubled in size (around 1 hour).

Make the sauce and hummus (recipes below)

Fry the toppings

1. Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and lightly fry the onion until soft.

2. Add the mushrooms and spinach and fry until the spinach is wilted.

Make pizzas

1. Heat oven to 200 celsius.

2. Tip onto surface and split into equal portions, rolling each portion into a ball. Leave to rest for 15 minutes.

3. Sprinkle plain flour and polenta onto surface.

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4. Roll the dough on the surface to liberally coat in flour and polenta then use a rolling pin to roll into pizza bases of your desired thickness (around ½ cm thick).

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5. Move to a pizza tray and bake for 7 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and add sauce and all the toppings, adding seasoning, before placing back into oven for around 10 minutes or until the crust looks crispy.

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Chunky hummus

1 can chickpeas

1 clove garlic (or ½ teaspoon garlic powder/diced garlic)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons tahini (homemade or shop bought)

Pinch of salt

1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until combined but not too smooth

Butternut squash sauce

1 small butternut squash

2 cloves garlic (or ½ teaspoon chopped garlic/garlic power)

1 tablespoon mild-tasting oil

Pinch of salt and pepper

1, Preheat oven to 180 Celsius.

2. Mix all of the the ingredients and place on a baking tray.

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3. Cook for 20 minutes or until the butternut squash is squishy but not crispy.

4. Let it cool for a few minutes before blending in a food processor until smooth, adding water if necessary.

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