Beet Cheddar Apple Pizza represents a glorious moment of redemption when the band geek dates the homecoming queen.
I have a deep affection for vegetables that were made fun of in middle school. Not to bring up my childhood (but to bring up my childhood), my full-forehead bangs, braces/glasses duo, and 12-year-old-boyish figure put me in the metaphorical clarinet section, not the cheerleading squad.
Since those days, I’ve matured. No longer an uncomfortable little nerd, I’m now a giant nerd at peace with her inner geekdom. I dropped the bangs, kept the boyish figure (or rather nature did, but I’m rolling with it), and have come to realize that what others viewed as an unattractive vegetable was actually a sweet, nutritious, and tasty pizza topping.
Oops. We’ve transitioned to talking about beets now.
I hated beets for years, mostly because the only way I’d experienced them was out of a can (still a bad choice). Little did I suspect that, when freshly sliced and layered with sweet apples, sharp white cheddar cheese, and fresh rosemary, beets would be the key ingredient in a sweet and savory pizza that even my beet-bashing husband would enjoy.
I can’t take credit for the complementary flavor magic that occurs when beets, apples, and cheddar are layered atop carbs—for that I owe Martha Stewart and my mother. Over Thanksgiving, my mom made these incredible Beet Apple and Cheddar Puff Pastry Tarts at Thanksgiving, and I simply couldn’t shove enough into my face in between all of the turkey and whiskey glazed sweet potatoes to take full advantage.
I needed the beet/apple/cheddar combo back in my life, but since the recent puff pastry intake around here has been moderately alarming (reference: Cranberry Baked Brie Puff Pastry Bites; Cheesy Mushroom Puff Pastry Bites), I wanted to find a different way to serve the ingredients. The answer: pizza.
Yes beets, you can kiss your trivia-bowl days good bye—today, you are hanging with pizza, the most popular kid in the class.
I’m beginning to suspect the universe has destined me to vindicate unpopular vegetables through pizza, and I’m not one to argue with cosmic will.
Beet Cheddar Apple Pizza joins the ranks of Balsamic Brussels Sprouts Bacon Pizza and Spicy Turkey Leek Asparagus Pizza, proving that even most suspect of veggies can be made desirable when served on top of crust with cheese.
I brushed my favorite easy weeknight whole wheat pizza crust with olive oil to make it crisp and golden. The beets, apples, and rosemary are earthy and sweet against the sharp, bubbly cheddar. This Beet Cheddar Apple Pizza is completely satisfying as a vegetarian main dish, though if you should choose to add bacon, I won’t stop you.
This recipe is also relatively quick to pull together, because none of the toppings need to be cooked prior to topping the pizza crust. A thin slicing of the beets and apples ensures they soften in the oven
Happy holidays, and please save me a spot at the lunch table. I’m bringing Beet Cheddar Apple Pizza , and if you promise not to make fun of my bangs (or have chocolate), I might just share a slice.
Beet Cheddar Apple Pizza
- 1 Weeknight Whole Wheat Pizza Crust or your favorite pizza dough recipe enough to yield 1 11×14-inch pizza
- Extra virgin olive oil for brushing pizza
- 1 ½ cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- 2 small sweet apples such as Gala, Honeycrisp, or Fuji, cored and thinly sliced, peel on
- 2 small beets scrubbed, peeled and very thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary finely chopped
- Prepare Weeknight Whole Wheat Pizza Crust according to recipe directions. You will only need 1 crust, so feel free to half the recipe or freeze the second half for a later time.
- Place a rack in the upper third of theoven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into an 11×14-inch rectangle, working from the center. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, then brush the its entire surface liberally with olive oil. Sprinkle with half of the cheese, then top with apple slices. Tuck the beet slices between the apples, then top with remaining cheese. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle rosemary over the top.
- Bake pizza until the crust is crisp and golden, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 3 minutes. Slice and serve.
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