Spicy Turkey, Leek and Asparagus Pizza

Today I want to know—what brings you joy? This week for me, it’s the return of the outdoor Madison Farmers Market, triumphant singing, and Spicy Turkey, Leek, and Asparagus Pizza.

Spicy Turkey Leek Asparagus Pizza-Healthy and perfect for spring

Joy is not exactly the first emotion that strikes on a Monday morning. I’d say my typical Monday mood is a combination of “that weekend was too short” and “more coffee please.” Today, however, I say we take 30 seconds to set the Monday-morning blues aside and focus on one thing that makes us do a happy dance.

Those who know me best (particularly a certain someone who lives with me) will tell you that I’m not particularly good at doing things half way. I’m either cannon balling head first into whatever activity/feeling/food has captured my interest, or I’m totally ignoring it.

If you think about it, the actual visual of cannon balling head first is more like taking a really ugly dive. I find this image appropriate, considering it’s how many of my fixations turn out (that one time I took up fencing because it looked cool in Pirates of the Caribbean; that other time I carried my sketch pad everywhere so I could “draw”). When something catches my interest, I give it my time and energy, often to a fault. Some call it obsessive; I prefer to think of it as passionate.

Spicy Turkey, Leek, and Asparagus Pizza // Well-Plated

Spicy Turkey Leek Asparagus Pizza-The perfect pizza for spring!

The concept of “go big or go home” appeals to me. I like big flavors, loud music, and the feeling of being immersed in an idea or experience. While this kind of energy can be captivating and positive, it can also be detrimental—it depends upon the pool into which I’m plunging.

As I shared last week, I’ve recently been dealing with feeling stressed and overwhelmed, a sentiment to which I am sure many of you can relate. While my to-do list won’t be going away any time soon, this week I’ve decided to focus on the things in my life that bring me joy and make that to-do list worth completing. Here are a few:

  • The return of the outdoor Madison Farmers Market. If you followed this blog at any point between last spring and fall (and especially if you follow The Law Student’s Wife on Facebook or Instagram), you are likely aware that I have a deep-end-of-the-pool, go-big-or-go-home love affair with the Madison Farmers Market. It’s the largest producer-only farmers market in the country, and its bounty inspires my cooking like no other place on earth. On Saturday, the market returned filled with flowers, all manners of meats and cheeses, frost-sweetened spinach, and my favorite scones. Such a joy!

Farmers Market Flower Beauty

  • Triumphant Singing: At Easter Mass; in my car; and out running, which is super cool when someone passes me mid-fist pump. (Yes, I fist pump while running. Maybe this is why I have yet to find a solid running buddy.)
  • Spicy Turkey, Leek, and Asparagus Pizza: Spring happiness; longer days; and fine balance, all on a crust.

Spicy Turkey Leek Asparagus Pizza Recipe-The perfect way to use asparagus!

Simple, beautiful meals like Spicy Turkey, Leek, and Asparagus Pizza touch me in a way that over-the-top gourmet dishes do not. Yes, I love experiencing new foods and cooking styles when I go out to eat, but I find something intrinsically beautiful in dishes that taste their best when the ingredients are manipulated as little as possible and served in season.

On the subject of joy: Isn’t it just miraculous that the vegetables that come into season together—kale and butternut squash in the fall; basil and tomatoes in the summer—also taste harmonious together? Leek + asparagus is one of my absolute favorite spring flavor combinations, and I can’t get enough. I’ve made this Sunburst Leek, Asparagus, and Carrot Puff Pastry Quiche twice since I posted it, and we’re on our fourth round of Spicy Turkey, Leek, and Asparagus Pizza.

Clearly, I’m passionate and obsessive.

When I was envisioning this pizza, caramelizing the leeks was a clear choice for the first topping (think caramelized onions with a more subtle, inherently sweet flavor). Asparagus followed for its perfect pairing with leeks and its perma-presence in my fridge from March through May. Rather than sauté the asparagus, I used Deb’s brilliant technique of shaving it into ribbons, which preserved the asparagus’ flavor and texture. After trying her method, I’ll never serve an asparagus pizza any other way.

To give the pizza extra heartiness, I topped it with spicy ground turkey. I love the way the turkey’s flavor mixed with the caramely leeks, without overpowering the pizza. A dusting of nutty pecorino cheese is both delectable and necessary, and a quick drizzle of olive oil completes this scrumptious spring pie.

Spicy Turkey, Leek, and Asparagus Pizza is also an ideal make-ahead meal. Prepare the dough and sauté the toppings the night before. The next night, pull the dough out of the fridge 30 minutes before baking, and you’re 20 minutes away from a fab, fresh spring dinner. I’ve taken to doubling the topping. It’s the same amount of effort, and that way we can enjoy Spicy Turkey, Leek, and Asparagus Pizza two separate nights during the week. It is that good.

Spicy Turkey Leek Asparagus Pizza Recipe

Now that I’ve shared my cannon-head-first-crazy love for this Spicy Turkey, Leek, and Asparagus Pizza, I want to know:

What brings you joy?

Whether it’s a song on the radio, waking up to your pup licking your face, or dude you saw rocking out to his iPod at the bus stop this morning (I love that guy!), please please share it. I believe joy multiplies when it’s shared, so let’s brighten up this Monday, shall we?

Here’s to ugly dives, simple beauties, and Spicy Leek, Turkey, and Asparagus Pizza. Go big or go home!

Spicy Turkey, Leek and Asparagus Pizza

Spicy Turkey, Leek and Shaved Asparagus Pizza is the perfect homemade pizza recipe for spring. It's fresh, healthy, and easy to make ahead too!

Yield: 1 11x14-inch pizza, Serves 4

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 recipe (1 crust) Weeknight Whole Wheat Pizza Crust (or your favorite pizza dough recipe—enough to yield one 11x14-inch pizza)
  • 1/2 pound asparagus
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional for brushing
  • 2 large leeks, sliced 1/4 inch thick 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey**
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 4 ounces freshly grated pecorino cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons truffle oil* or substitute olive oil

Directions:

  1. Place rack in top third of oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Generously dust a large baking sheet with cornmeal or flour or line with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the asparagus: Lay each asparagus spear on the counter and hold by the “tough” end. With a vegetable peeler, shave long ribbons of asparagus by sliding the peeler from the base to the top of the stalk. Repeat with remaining stalks. (The pieces may be different sizes and some may be too small to shave.) Discard tough stem ends. In a small bowl, toss the shavings with 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add leeks, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook leeks until softened, about 8 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Add the turkey, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, red pepper flakes, and fennel. Sauté until the meat is fully cooked and no pink remains, about 4 minutes.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 11x14-inch rectangle, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Brush dough liberally with olive oil, then top with the leeks, turkey, and pecorino. Pile the asparagus on top. (It may seem like a lot of asparagus, but it will cook down as it bakes.) Carefully side the pizza onto the prepared peel/pan and bake for about 15 minutes, until bubbling and crisp. Drizzle with oil and serve.

The spicy turkey and leek topping can be made up to two days in advance and the dough can be refrigerated for up to three days (rather than setting it on the counter to rise, simply transfer it to the fridge in a covered bowl) or frozen well-wrapped in plastic for up to two months. I like to double the topping, then make pizza on two separate nights throughout the week. *Ingredient note: Truffle Oil. I found my truffle oil at Trader Joe's for $6. I decided to splurge on it because a small drizzle brings big-time truffle flavor. I also love it in eggs and over risotto too! If you don't have access to a Trader Joe's this truffle oil received good reviews online, though I have not tried it personally. **Making the pizza vegetarian: For a vegetarian option, sprinkle the red pepper flakes and fennel seeds over the caramelized leeks, then swap the ground turkey for 6 to 8 ounces of freshly grated mozzarella cheese, depending upon how ooey-gooey cheesy you'd like your final pizza to be.

Pizza Power:

About Erin Clarke

I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, lover of bourbon, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN...

64 comments

  1. Passionate and obsessive are ok in my book, especially if it involves pizza! Holy Cow Erin, this is phenomenal! I adore leeks, and the spicy sausage sounds divine!

  2. Yes, we all need some joy on a Monday morning!

    This morning, my joy is the fact that its not raining so I can take a long walk with my dog before work and not get soaked to the bone. Which can be a rare thing in Spring time in Seattle!

  3. Diane Siniscalchi Reply

    My family, warm sunny weather and flowers blooming, and baking for my family!

  4. Wow, gorgeous pizza! Joy…..In no particular order: a Tar Heel basketball win ;) , baking, doing things for others, good dark chocolate, family, shoes that fit!, sharing fun adventures with friends (like birding or ballgames), daily check-ins on crazy-good blogs like Erin’s! Hugs to you, Erin!

  5. You know, I kinda just want to write ‘this pizza’, but that’s not a thinking answer. Right. Concentrate (still thinking about how yummy this pizza would be), joy definitely comes in the form of time with my husband, red wine, breakfast by the seaside, wholesome nourishing food and… well, not being at work. Is that a bad thing? I do enjoy work sometimes but, well, stress isn’t really conducive to joy. Back to this gorgeous pizza. YUM! Love the combination of the leek and turkey mince (leeks are gorgeous when cooked down into sweet perfection) and the fresh Spring asparagus just perks everything right up! So glad that you’re enjoying the beautiful Spring produce. Lovely post xx

  6. Yummmmm, pizza. The slivered asparagus is wonderful too!

  7. You are lucky! Our farmer’s markets don’t usually start until June here in CO. We also have a shorter growing season. I am super jealous! I totally get the stress and anxiety that comes with to-do lists (of which I have 3 running at all times). I find a lot of joy in running and yoga … these activities tend to make me forget I even have 3 to-do lists! I love this idea of finding some joy in our busy, stressful lives. I am totally following in your footsteps this week. This is the perfect post for a dismal Monday morning! Also, this pizza! Swoon! It’s like Springtime in a pie. Pinned! P.S. Fist pumping mid-run is a glorious, wonderful thing.

    • Yes, fellow running fist-pumper! It gets you going right??? Running is such a release for me too. It’s a time where I can be anywhere except the moment, and I love it.

  8. That’s a fantastic question to ask, Erin! Something that brings me joy is sitting on my balcony on a sunny day with a cup of coffee and a book (OK, or my laptop, I admit). As for the pizza, I LOVE the idea of this flavour combo with ground turkey, leeks and asparagus … and what a great tip to shave the asparagus!

  9. Haha! I’ve thought of myself as slightly obsessive … nah … I’m just passionate! Love it! ;)

    I made a New Year’s resolution in 2014; I’ve really been working hard to find the joy in everything. I feel like I am rushing though life and not appreciating it. So … what do I find joy in? Everything!

    Of course I find joy in my kids, in the sparkle in my husband’s eyes, in preparing a good meal for my family, in a warm evening out on the patio, in a hug from a friend, but it’s there in every little thing, too. :)

    I saw this fantastic video from a college commencement speech (they made the video to illustrate it) and it’s fantastic. I highly recommend it. Just google ‘This is Water’ it’s by David Foster Wallace. It’s about 9 minutes but sooo worth it. It’s all about choosing how you look at things in everyday mundane life. Hope you like it!

  10. I just made some linguini with chicken and leeks last night! Grumpy and I love leeks so much. I have pinned this recipe and will be trying it out soon. Looks delish!

  11. Joy for me comes in the pool, when I’m able to put enough power into my stroke to feel myself lift, hydroplane a bit, and bring it in to the wall clean and fast.

  12. A good song, a peaceful morning of breakfast and coffee, a lil time with my Everyday Bible, and then some time with my fiance! They all bring smiles to my face!

    And this pizza sounds like the ideal Friday night dinner! Light, easy and quick! My kinda dinner!

  13. Cooking, baking, taking a picture of said cooking or baking and then actually having time to post it like I want, THAT brings me joy!! You know what else I could really see bringing me joy? THIS.BEATIFUL.PIZZA! It looks sooo yummy, and I totally love leeks on anything, and with the turkey and asparagus…on a pizza? yummm…mouth watering!

  14. You just redefined pizza for me! Spicy turkey … mmm!
    Joy; I love how joy is unrelated to circumstances. Happiness is based on what is going on around me, but joy isn’t and I love that! Things that are bringing me joy? The fact that my family can come together for Easter (even though we live all over the US) and that the love we have for eachother is stronger than disagreements, etc. Especially during Easter, Bible times with my family. Thanks for this post Erin, keep up all your incredible blogging!

  15. Right now, thinking about eating this pizza brings me joy. Looks delicious!

  16. Things that bring me joy…let’s see…my husband and dog, family, spring veggies, pasta, cooking, eating, drinking, beaches, sunshine! So many things. What a great post Erin, it’s easy to get bogged down in the to-do lists and negatives of life rather than focus on the daily blessing that make your world a better place. This asparagus pizza is also in the realm of things that make me happy! It looks so delicious.

  17. consuelohoneyandfigs Reply

    You just described me girl! I’m the most passionate (or obsessive if you’d prefer!) person on Earth. And I’m pretty sure I’ve just developed a serious obsession with this pizza. The flavor combo sounds amazing and anything with asparagus wins my heart!
    Enjoy your week! xx

  18. This looks delicious, Erin! Any recommended substitutes for the turkey to make it veggie-friendly? My joys: my pup snuggling against my belly when I wake up, seeing my seedlings grow, long convos with good friends, and SUN!

    • I love your list Liz! And great question. I hope you like this answer: I think substituting with shredded mozzarella cheese would be absolutely delicious. 6 ounces should do it, but if you’re feeling really cheesy, go for 8. Just sprinkle the red pepper flakes and fennel seeds right over the top of the leeks before you add the cheese. YUM. I think I’ll try it this way next time!

  19. So many wonderful flavors going on here, Erin.
    Since we’re finally experiencing actual Spring weather, the warm sunshine and being able to enjoy the outdoors brings me incredible joy. Now that I will want to spend every single minute on our deck, I might be grilling your pizza very soon!
    Also, I love that you fist pump while running – I’d sign up to be your running buddy any day :).

  20. Hi Erin, hiking, gardening and cooking bring me joy and of coarse spending time with my family. Also recipes like this, love all the green veggies!

  21. Cooking, baking, brunch, afternoon tea, cupcakes, wine, reading, time with my hubby, my stepson and my beautiful niece and nephew

  22. You know what brings me joy? THIS PIZZA!!!! I can’t wait for our farmer’s market to open!!

  23. This is totally gourmet! Yum! Loving the leeks. I missed the post about you being stressed but I can imagine! You’re totally kicking butt on your blog, plus planning a move and a huge trip! Yeesh! Go easy on yourself, girl! xo

  24. Yuuum! This looks so good and so fresh, too! I so understand what you mean about being stressed…not. enough. time! But, on the flip side…I find joy in having great conversations with close friends while sipping coffee at a coffee shop…nothing better!

  25. Hi Erin! A lovely post…so fresh and perfect for spring. What brings me joy? My sweet husband and daughter. Freshly baked bread. And a good cup of coffee.

  26. This Pizza looks divine!! I love when the farmers markets open up. I feel like a kid in a candy store. This is one thing that brings me joy. My loving husband and children are at the top of the list. They warm my heart everyday :D

  27. This pizza is beyond amazing!! Like seriously. If this is what passionate and obsessive results in then I want to be BOTH! Joy is enjoying a cup of tea and warm cuddles with the hubs unplugged!

  28. This pizza is giving me serious joy right now. Totally loving this combination of flavors. I will take any excuse to consume as much asparagus as I can!

    What else gives me joy is savoring the first sip of coffee every morning (…usually sitting in traffic), sipping wine while watching a sunset, and hanging out with my boyfriend as we binge on Netflix. Love the little things!

  29. Oh I just love this question. For me – date nights with my husband (which unfortunately is rare), a good run with our dog, and enjoying a glass of wine on the patio.

  30. I’ve been on the prowl for a recipe using asparagus!! I love the turkey in this, too. And the colors and textures…who could resist?? :)

  31. This looks incredible!! Love leeks!

  32. I fully approve of focusing on the happy rather than the sad! And farmer’s markets are definitely HAPPY!! As is this pizza. I love how it has a gazillion spring veggies on it!

  33. This pizza is seriously amazing girl! I love love leeks and asparagus and one bite of this pizza would definitely cure any Monday blues. A walk in the park on a warm and sunny day with the hubs and kiddies brings me joy :)

  34. Hi Erin,
    Your pizza looks so healthy and yummy as well.
    what brings me joy is the fact that I do sport again. I really feel better!
    Have a nice day
    Chantal

  35. I love this – I am really trying lately to focus on the good instead of the bad or things I want to change, etc. For me – joy lately means snuggling with my pup, being outside in the pretty weather, spending time reading with a good book / drinking coffee, hanging out with friends (or the husband!).

    And this pizza sounds amazing – I love me some asparagus right now!

  36. This pizza would definitely bring some joy into my day! This flavor combo is amazing!

  37. This pizza- this pizza could bring me joy! :)
    And long runs – with fist bumping partners..just saying Erin!

  38. Great topic for what has been a Tuesday that feels more like a Monday (ugh!). This pizza and conversation is already brightening my mood. Here’s what’s bringing me joy these days: my finely honed Pandora station, listening to Joy the Baker podcasts while baking, warm sunny evenings at the dog park, and the first kiss of sun on my cheeks.

  39. I am very eagerly awaiting the start of our Farmer’s market…on Mother’s Day! I am almost all out of honey, not to mention salivating about all the produce. Being able to cook something from scratch and create a delicious meal for my family and myself brings me immense joy. And your post has been bent on shaving some asparagus real soon! This pizza looks great!

  40. This week, it is sharing in the joy of my friend who got engaged this weekend and seeing her happy glow at work. Joy is contagious!

    Also…you don’t even wanna see the weird things I do mid-workout. Fist pumping would be normal in comparison.

  41. YOU bring me joy. Your shining face, your positive attitude, and your sweet friendship. So much joy!

    Love you!

  42. Oh my gosh this is so me as well:

    “When something catches my interest, I give it my time and energy, often to a fault. Some call it obsessive; I prefer to think of it as passionate.” haha, I like to think of it as passionate as well!

    So cool that you have a farmers market nearby! My wife and I did an organic CSA program with a farm last year, but with us moving in the upcoming months, we couldn’t make that happen logistically this year. Bummer. This pizza looks SO good. I love leeks, especially when they get all caramelized like this. Yum!

  43. Julie @ This Gal Cooks Reply

    What beings me joy? Good food, pleasing others with good food, my dog, music, enjoying the outdoors and friends and family!

    Great pizza, Erin! I could go for a slice right now!

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