Today, we’re celebrating Erin with pizza! Yep, the same Erin from last Friday’s panzanella salad. Like I said, we’re pals. She’s having a baby boy soon! I found out last fall when our Napa visit last fall turned into a tour of San Francisco instead. Just wait until Erin and Mike take you to the San Francisco Ferry Building for the farmers’ market, little guy.
This pizza has been exasperating me for the past week. I knew I wanted to put Brussels sprouts on it, but what else? After several prototypes, including red onions on top, pesto on bottom and a failure of a creamy spinach sauce, it finally occurred to me to use balsamic, caramelized red onions as the base. That’s the ticket!
I visited Italy in college and the absence of red sauce on pizzas over there totally shocked my young American self. Like, time out, Rome! You forgot your marinara! Then I conceded that Italians know their pizza and that maybe my quintessential pizza concept was a little off.
Up until then, I thought that pizza consisted of dough plus marinara plus ample amounts of cheese, baked to bubbly perfection. In Italy, though, pizzas are more broadly accepted as baked flatbread with toppings. Maybe marinara, maybe not. Maybe cheese, maybe not. Maybe cooked onions instead, or pesto, or veggies. It’s all fair game. They bake their pizzas on big rectangular pans and sell them on the street. So good.
This pizza may not be for everyone, but I’m a fan. Boldly flavored, semi-caramelized onions with reduced balsamic vinegar, topped with mozzarella and Brussels sprouts (sliced two ways for maximum crispiness and texture) and a sprinkle of Parmesan for good measure. The theme of Erin’s shower is “quick vegetarian meals,” so I took a short-cut with whole wheat dough from Trader Joe’s, but my easy whole wheat dough would be even better!
Brussels Sprouts Pizza with Balsamic Red Onions
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 1 large or 2 medium pizzas 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian
Brussels sprouts pizza topped with balsamic caramelized onions (or opt for red sauce, just eyeball the amount) and mozzarella, baked to crispy, golden perfection! Recipe yields one large, 12-inch pizza (or two smaller, 9-inch pizzas).
Balsamic red onions
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium or 1 extra-large red onion
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Dash salt
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 8 ounces (½ pound) Brussels sprouts
- 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 batch easy whole wheat pizza dough or store-bought whole wheat dough (I used Trader Joe’s)
- 1 ½ to 2 cups grated low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese (6 to 8 ounces), depending on how cheesy you like your pizza
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and place a pizza stone on the middle rack if you have one. Slice your onions into thin rounds (the thinner you slice them, the faster they will cook).
- Prepare the Brussels by slicing off the tough ends and discarding them. Use your fingers to pull off the individual leaves around the outside, then trim off the newly exposed tough end, and continue until you have broken the sprout into leaves. Repeat for about half of the Brussels sprouts, then slice the rest into thin slices from top to bottom. Drizzle the sprouts with 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil and toss well. Rub the oil into the sprout leaves so they’re all lightly coated in oil, adding another dash of oil if necessary. Toss with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and set aside.
- To prepare the red onions, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a dash of salt. Toss to combine. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the onions are nice and soft. The thinner you sliced them, the sooner they will cook. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Continue cooking, uncovered, for a few more minutes, until the balsamic vinegar has condensed and mostly absorbed into the onions. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Prepare the pizza dough as directed. If you’re using store-bought dough like me, I’d roll it out into one pizza. If you’re using my pizza dough recipe, I’d make two pizzas. I like to roll out the dough on pieces of parchment paper for easy transfer to the oven. For best results, roll the dough out as thin as reasonably possible while maintaining an even surface level.
- Top the dough with an even layer of red onions, followed by mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle the Brussels on top, then finish with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
- Transfer one pizza to the oven at a time (if you don’t have a baking stone, bake your pizza on a cookie sheet). Bake until the crust is golden, the cheese is bubbly and the Brussels sprouts are crispy on the edges, about 10 to 14 minutes. Repeat with remaining pizza, if you have one. Top the pizza(s) with a light sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper (trust me!) and red pepper flakes if you’d like, then slice and serve.
If you love this recipe: Check out my other pizza recipes!
Make it vegan: Trish says this pizza turned out great even without the cheese!
▸ Nutrition Information