We rarely make or buy “normal” pizza here. When you’re vegetarian, you’re liberated from the shackles of pepperoni and sausage and you realize you can put anything on a pizza. REALLY. ANYTHING. It’s been years since I used tomato sauce on a homemade pizza, but I do almost always put cheese on because, well: cheese.
Pizza is one of Little Pea’s favorites too, so our usual method of mixing things up with different sauces and toppings works well for introducing her to new foods, while incorporating other ingredients that we know are winners. With this pizza, I knew the tomatoes and parmesan would be a hit, but the creamy pesto white bean spread was the big question mark.
Little Pea loves beans, but hummus and bean dips are hit-or-miss. I thought that putting a bean spread on a pizza would make it more appealing to her and it was—although she did eat the tomatoes and parm off the pizza before tackling the crust and white bean spread. My husband and I loved this recipe too because it’s pizza, but since there’s only a sprinkling of parmesan, you don’t feel weighed down with cheese and regret afterwards.
Oh, and on the subject of parmesan, let’s talk about that: most parmesan, and all imported parmesan, is made with rennet, which is not vegetarian. However! If you live in the US, you can purchase domestic parm that’s made with microbial enzymes instead. Whole Foods and Organic Valley are two widely-available brands, but lately I’ve been loving Sartori cheese. If you can find it locally, buy it!
Yields 4 pita pizzas
This pizza is filling, but not heavy, thanks to a creamy white bean pesto spread.
10 minPrep Time
10 minCook Time
20 minTotal Time
- 3/4 cup cooked cannellini beans
- 1/4 cup tightly packed basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 whole wheat pitas
- 3/4 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup shaved or shredded parmesan cheese
- Thinly sliced basil leaves, olive oil, and/or balsamic reduction, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Combine the beans, basil, oil, vinegar, and garlic in a food processor fitted with the S-blade and process until completely smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (If you're feeding this to a toddler, you can omit the salt in their portion of the spread.)
- Place the pitas on a large baking sheet. (You may need a second baking sheet, depending on the shape of your pitas.) Bake the pitas in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the edges are crispy, but the center of the bread is still soft.
- Remove the pitas from the oven. Divide the bean spread onto the warmed pitas, then top with the tomatoes, cheese, and optional garnishes. Cut each pita into 4 wedges and serve immediately.
I cook my own beans and freeze them for when I need them, but canned beans will work just fine in this recipe. 3/4 cup is about half of a 15-ounce can; drain and rinse the beans well to remove excess sodium before using them.