It’s October, and that means the weather is getting cozier, Halloween is on the way and spooky, scary movies and TV shows are a must! And a Halloween tradition for most families is to watch the classic cartoon It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.
So for this Friday Dinner and a Movie, I’m turning up the family fun with “It’s the Great Pumpkin” Pizza everyone will love. The basic idea of using roasted “pumpkin” or pumpkin puree as your pizza ‘sauce’ base is one that can be easily customized by using your favorite toppings. Get my Pumpkin Pizza recipe and have a spooky fun Halloween Friday night!..
So when does the “Great Pumpkin” special air on TV? Later this month on ABC – but you can perfect your pumpkin pizza by trying it now. And if you don’t own the special on DVD – you can watch it right now via Amazon.com! It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Pizza Sauce? I actually liked the dry rustic texture of my pizza, without formal sauce. But you can add a sauce base if you’d like. Try fresh pesto, BBQ sauce or even classic pizza sauce. you’d be surprised how versatile the pumpkin layer is.
Toppings. Add cheese, olives, pineapple, tomatoes, onions, peppers, smoky tempeh bacon, BBQ tofu cubes, moist artichokes – just about any pizza topping pairs well with pumpkin because it has more of a sweet rustic flavor that tones nicely with savory pizza toppings. I added some fresh sage, sliced lemons, olive oil and mushrooms – all on a rolled out herbed crust – pizza dough from Trader Joe’s.
Go Mini. Make mini pizzas so that everyone can customize their own pizza toppings in the kitchen. Or if you are really stuck and don’t have pizza dough, use English muffins and make super mini pizzas.
What type of “pumpkin” should you use? I used a very dense squash called a hubbard. You can see my Hubbard Pumpkin Pie here. But you could roast just about any winter squash you have on hand. Butternut, acorn or a classic sugar pumpkin. You can even use canned pumpkin if you’d prefer – though the roasted squash really makes this pizza special.
To roast pumpkin/squash: You can follow my instructions in this post. I like to add some oil, salt and maple syrup to the squash to enhance the flavor of the roasting process. You can dry-roast the flesh or water-roast (details in step 1).
“It’s the Great Pumpkin” Pizza
vegan, makes one large pie
1 ball of pizza dough, pizza crust
2-3 cups of roasted squash – any variety
any toppings you’d like – my toppings: mushrooms, thin lemon slices, sage, truffle salt (sprinkle), splash of maple syrup, fresh sage & lemon juice finishing garnish
1. The first step is to roast your squash in the oven. Depending on how large your squash is and what variety it is, this can take anywhere from 30-100 minutes. Remove seeds before roasting, and place in 1 inch water bath either faced up or down. Squash roasted face down in the water will be more moist and less densly flavored.
2. Cool squash and scoop our flesh into bowl. You can either mash your squash with some olive oil, salt and maple syrup – or if you simply prefer it plain as is, you do not need to enhance flavor. Do a taste test and decide which you prefer. Mashed squash will spread more easily and has the option to incorporate more moisture. Since I was using a very dense yet flavorful hubbard squash – I simply scooped and spread directly on my pizza.
3. Roll out your dough. Slather in olive oil and any fresh or dried herbs.
4. Add your squash/pumpkin spread. Then add your toppings – cheese is optional. To keep this pie vegan, use a dairy-free cheese like Daiya.
5. Bake a whole pizza for around 12 minutes at 415 degrees. Mini pizzas will only take about 8-10 minutes, depending on the size.
6. Slice and serve! I like an extra drizzle of olive oil over top the pizza before serving to moisten up the baked pumpkin topping.
maybe some after-pizza cocoa too..