I am always looking for ways to incorporate more vegetables into our diet. While we know it is so important to eat healthier, translating that into a weeknight meal that is still satisfying can be a chore.
One chef that inspires me to cook healthier is Jamie Oliver. His enthusiasm for eating healthy is absolutely infectious. I remember watching his documentary about remaking food service in American Schools. He was mortified by the fatty frozen garbage being served to our children. When my girls were little, I fought to bring healthier options to the children receiving the “free & reduced” food plan. Pancake on a stick and sugar coated Frosted Flakes were on the menu for breakfast at our local elementary school. The only fruit option was a mealy apple not even a starving horse want. Fighting with our principal to have healthier meals was met with utter frustration. I was told, “The district orders food. We have contracts with vendors. We can’t afford fresh fruit.” an on and on. Disgusting and heartbreaking.
I love that Jamie Oliver took on this problem. In 2010 , he launched a school food makeover of Huntington, West Virginia and it was documented by ABC in the TV show, Food Revolution. Watch a preview here. It inspired me to try and make healthier food for my family as well. Weeknight home cooked meals at the table were a huge part of raising our children and I believe it is the cornerstone of why our girls are so healthy today.
This little recipe is so tasty yet full of incredibly healthy vegetables. The puff pastry crust and tender mozzarella will have even the pickiest eater at your table happy. Give this humble little pizza a try. Plan your meals so that you can sit down with your family and hear about their day. Use grocery delivery services to save time. Don’t be that family that eats fast food in the car on the way to practice, tutoring or an event. Take the time to cook, sit down and share a meal with your family. Don’t allow phones at your dinner table. Turn the TV off. Be engaged. And eat well.
This puff pastry recipe is inspired by Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook, VEG. You can order here. I love how he transforms vegetables into absolutely stunning meals without much fuss or complicated ingredients. He is a master of creating meals for busy families. This puff pastry pizza is slightly different than his recipe- I add chicken sausage just to make it a little more hearty for Hunky Hubbie. The sausage is made daily by Perfect Cuts , our local butcher here in the Flathead Valley.
Upside down puff pastry veggie pizza
2 TBSP olive oil
1 medium zucchini- sliced into large chunks
10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 purple onion, quartered and loosened into “petals”
1 large orange bell pepper, sliced into chunks
2 pitty pat squash, sliced into chunks
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1 TBSP fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp fennel seeds crushed
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
one sheet of thawed puff pastry
4-6 oz. fresh buffalo mozzarella
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
Method- prep- 30 minutes, baking time- 1 hour
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
After prepping all veggies, place zucchini on paper towels to drain, adding a sprinkling of salt to help release the moisture. Pat dry with fresh clean paper towel to dry. Coat a medium sized roasting pan with cooking spray. Place all vegetables in roasting pan, coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, fennel and thyme. Toss everything until well coated.
Tear or cut sausage into bite size chunks and place on top of veggies. Roast at 350 for 50 minutes.
- Remove veggies and sausage from oven. With a spatula, push vegetables into the center of the hot roasting pan- moving them away form the edge. Tuck the thawed puff pastry onto the roasting pan over the veggies, tucking the edges slightly under the vegetable mixture. Like tucking a child into bed. Return to oven and bake another 30 minutes or until dough is golden brown and puffy.
- After pastry is golden brown, remove from oven. Loosen the veggies once again with a spatula to prevent sticking. While still hot, using a thick towel, invert the roasting pan onto a serving platter- carefully. Tear the mozzarella into pieces and drop onto hot veggies. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Slice and serve immediately.