Beet & Walnut Pesto Pizza

Throughout college it seemed every event boasted free pizza, and by the time I graduated I was approximately 110% over it. To this day, I have pizza through work often enough that I rarely crave it on my own and when I do, I want it to be very non-traditional. We are fortunate enough to have a number of excellent pizza places offering some truly different varieties, and luckily one of those is a place that can seat 16 people for lunch with almost no notice.

Beet & Walnut Pesto Pizza {{Baking Bytes}}

My favorite pizza there, to date, is a lamb sausage and fig concoction that does my favorite sweet and savory situation without being overwhelming on either one. I’ve yet to recreate this largely because I want it to remain special enough to order out, and also because fig jam is not high on my list of things to try. Last summer they suddenly switched their menu, removing my go-to and forcing me into trying something new. (I know, woe is me.) Fortunately, however, one of their summer options inspired a new favorite combo.

Beet & Walnut Pesto Pizza {{Baking Bytes}}

Beet and walnut pesto lends a lovely color and a unique flavor in lieu of a traditional red sauce, and truly brings it up to the next level. I topped mine with additional beets (because why not), thinly sliced sausage, and toasted walnuts. Goat cheese and spinach make a perfect garnish to round out the flavors and add a pop of color to the finished meal.

Beet & Walnut Pesto {{Baking Bytes}}

Homemade pesto is shockingly easy and now that I have my own food processor (thanks, parents!) I will surely be making more of it this summer. This particular recipe is a wonderful fall or winter version, and a perfect accompaniment to unique sandwiches, quesadillas, and of course, pizzas. The beet flavor is not overly strong, with may appeal better to the more skeptical folks in the audience, but for the beet loves it means you get to top it with even more beets. Win-win for everyone.

Beet & Walnut Pesto Pizza {{Baking Bytes}}

I used a blood orange olive oil from Olivelle for my pesto, but you can substitute a standard one if needed. Considering adding just a smidge of extra lemon juice or orange extract to pump up the citrus level a little bit, but it’ll still be delicious (and pretty!)

Beet & Walnut Pesto {{Baking Bytes}}

I enjoyed the savory aspect of the sausage added here, but for a vegetarian option you could use salted nuts instead. Goat cheese adds a nice tang while the mozzarella offers the gooey cheesy experience we all know and love. Altogether, it’s a sweet and savory combination that is truly different than your average pizza.

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Beet & Walnut Pesto Pizza

Adapted from Honest Cooking
Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

beet walnut pesto
1 rounded cup cooked beets1
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 – 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 oz Blood Orange Olive Oil (or regular)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp whole dried rosemary
1/4 tsp Vanilla Bean Sea Salt (or regular)

for the pizzas
4 personal-sized pizza crusts (or one regular)
1/2 cup beet walnut pesto
1 cup freshly grated mozzarella
1 medium beet, roasted and diced1
1-2 sausages, cooked and thinly sliced (optional)
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

1/2 cup baby spinach
4 oz goat cheese
fresh rosemary
freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 450 degrees (or as directed for your dough.)
  2. Add all pesto ingredients to a food processor and blend until all ingredients are combined. Adjust consistency with additional oil if desired.
  3. For the pizzas, spread crust evenly with pesto and top with half the mozzarella.
  4. Arrange beets, sausage, and toasted walnuts on the pizza, then top with remaining mozzarella.
  5. Bake as directed, minus about five minutes, or until crust is beginning to crisp and the mozzarella is melty.
  6. Sprinkle pizzas with goat cheese and rosemary, and arrange a few leaves of spinach across the top.
  7. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until goat cheese is warmed through and spinach is lightly wilted.
  8. Serve hot with freshly ground pepper and a glass of wine.

Notes

If you’re short on time or hate dyeing everything pink, there is no shame in using the pre-cooked variety! Our Costco carries them in packages of ~5 which is just perfect for a batch of pesto and a couple of pizzas.

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Broccoli Fritters

Amongst the meat packages and frozen produce I also like to stock my freezers (yes, plural) with healthy items that work for a quick meal when I’m not as prepared as I’d like to be. The best ones can be made into an entree for any meal of the day with items I typically have around anyway. These broccoli fritters have turned out to be just exactly that.

Broccoli Fritters {{Baking Bytes}}

Made up of mostly broccoli and whatever cheese you like, these serve as a healthy and neutral base for nearly anything. Breakfast? Top with sautéed bell peppers and a couple of eggs. Lunch? Serve over a warm grain salad and your favorite salad dressing. Dinner? Prepare a broccoli slider with a large grilled (or baked) bell pepper, a couple slices of bacon, and a spicy aioli. Their individually small stature also makes them great for an appetizer or potluck. The world is your oyster (not mine, I don’t care for them) and these are great to keep in the freezer for the days you need a backup.

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Typically fritters are fried and honestly this probably doesn’t technically qualify as a fritter anyway but “broccoli patty” just doesn’t have quite the same enticing quality. In any case, given my preference for bulk preparation and my aversion to standing over a pan for seven years, I opted to try baking these instead. The result is nicely golden, less oily, and much easier for meal prepping or feeding a family.

Broccoli Fritters {{Baking Bytes}}

I wrapped trios of fritters in saran wrap for the freezer and they are still pretty great about four months later. My preference for reheating is in the oven, but pan frying works okay if you are careful (sometimes they stick) or microwaving if you are impatient. Whichever your method of operation, they are a delightful base for all your favorite toppings.

Broccoli Fritters {{Baking Bytes}}

If you’re in need of another freezer-friendly make-ahead meal-prep situation and are still holding strong with your resolution to eat healthier, I hope you give these fritters a try!

Broccoli Fritters

Makes 16+

Ingredients

1/2 onion, minced1
2-4 cloves garlic, minced1
2 Tbsp olive oil

3 cups broccoli rice1

2 eggs
3/4 cup almond flour
1 cup (packed) shredded cheese (I used parmesan)
1 tsp paprika, to taste
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large frying pan or wok, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until fragrant and onion is translucent.
  3. Add broccoli rice to pan and continue to heat until well combined and broccoli has softened.
  4. In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add flour, cheese, paprika, salt, and broccoli mixture. Gently fold together until completely combined.
  5. Using a 1/4 cup scoop to measure out fritters, scoop onto prepared pan and gently flatten and shape into a disc about 1/2″ in height. Fritters will not expand but leave about 1″ between them to allow for even cooking.
  6. Bake fritters for 20 minutes or until nicely browned on the bottom.
  7. Carefully flip each fritter and bake an additional 5-10 minutes until the other side is equally browned.
  8. Serve hot with your favorite toppings!

Notes

Use a food processor to finely chop broccoli into a rice-like size. If you are lacking in a food processor but have a lot of patience, you can also mince them by hand with a sharp knife. Can also use the food processor to get your onion and garlic to the same size, either before or after the sautéing step.

Savory Cocoa Stout Bread

Hello friends – can you believe it’s already the last week of October? As usual autumn has flown by and also as usual, Montana doesn’t care that I’m not ready to have snow in the forecast every day this week. Fortunately, M got my winter bike all prepped for me so if the snow does stick at least I am physically prepared even if I am emotionally reluctant.

Savory Cocoa Stout Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

To round out this Oktobeerbreadfest series, this last one is another savory take on a typically sweet palate. Chocolate is an extremely versatile flavor and despite its tendency towards use in sweet recipes, it can add an intriguing depth to savory varieties. A dash of cocoa in your chili can take it to a whole new level – and no, it won’t taste like a brownie. Like vanilla, chocolate is not sweet until you add sugar and so it can be even more interesting in your entrees than in your desserts. My recent love affair with Olivelle’s Vanilla Bean Sea Salt has me adding it to a number of fall veggies like squash and beets and trust me, it’s delightful.

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On that note, this is a chocolate bread not in the way you think of a sweet bread, but more in the way that beer and wine is described as having notes of chocolate in the flavor. (Except with recipe this it’s not a lie – you can actually taste the cocoa.) The addition is  subtle in flavor but adds just a little something extra to every bite.

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The small amount of cocoa also deepens the coloring of the bread, resulting in a rich and rustic brown. Obviously this isn’t something that matters to everyone, but for those of us that know you do eat prettiness, it’s a happy side effect.

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This bread blends just as well with peanut butter as it does your favorite stew, making it an easy staple to keep around. I haven’t tried it (yet), but I have a hunch it would make some pretty fun French toast as well. Whether the other breads in the series spoke to you or not, I hope you give this one a try.

Savory Cocoa Stout Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

PS – Isn’t this cutting board beautiful? M’s grandparents gifted it to us when we visited last Christmas and I am loving it as a fall background for my photos!

Savory Cocoa Stout Bread

Makes one standard loaf

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup white flour
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 Tbsp brown sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

12 oz chocolate/coffee stout (I used Obsidian Stout)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients to remove lumps.
  3. Pour in stout and stir until just combined.
  4. Spread evenly into prepared pan, smoothing the top as best you can.
  5. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Perfect for toast or alongside stew. (And I haven’t tried it yet, but I would bet it’d be great as French toast, too.)

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread

In the onslaught of pumpkin recipes that is autumn, there always seems to be a vast majority of them leaning sweet. Excepting the occasional soup, pasta, or chili, nearly all recipes (and certainly most of the baked goods) play with the sweet side of pumpkin’s uses. While I love a sweet pumpkin bread as much as the next girl, I was intrigued with the idea of going savory.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

Much like the other breads, a few tweaks to the standard recipe resulted in just what I was going for. Definitely savory and with a prominent beer flavor, this one has gentle notes of pumpkin and sage that work well on their own or will pair nicely with your favorite fall chili.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

In addition to the subtle flavor change, the pumpkin adds a little moistness to the finished product. Lightly toasted, it works beautiful with butter or a spread, or to dip into soup. The savory beer flavor would be a lovely complement to a slightly sweeter squash soup, or make your chili extra hearty.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

The pumpkin-ness of this bread will depend largely on your choice of beer rather than the amount of puree. I made this recipe twice with the same pumpkin beer and the results were only vaguely different. On the plus side, it makes it a great recipe to use up leftover pumpkin, but on the downside it means you need to choose your beer wisely. As someone that doesn’t actually consume beer in its beverage form, I don’t have a lot of experience in beer picking, but the particular beer I chose was not hugely pumpkin flavored on its own. Choosing one that that is heavier on the pumpkin aspect would likely result in a stronger flavor within the bread.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

 

I opted to top my bread with a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. This is largely for show (the pictures are way prettier, amirite?) but it also adds a nice crunch and gives some expectation as to what the bread flavor might be.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

If, like me, you get burned out on the overwhelming amount of sweet pumpkin recipes, tone it down several notches and make a cozy loaf of bread.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread

Makes one standard loaf

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup white flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar1
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh sage, finely chopped

12 oz pumpkin beer
1/2 – 1 cup pumpkin puree1

Garnish, optional
1 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp dried sage
pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining dry ingredients to remove lumps.
  3. Pour in beer and stir until just combined.
  4. Spread evenly into prepared pan. If desired, mix together seeds, oil, and sage until seeds are coated, and sprinkle on top of the batter.
  5. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Perfect for toast or to accompany your favorite fall dinners.

Notes

There is not a great difference in flavor with this range, so just use whatever amount of pumpkin you need to use up. The larger amount results in a slightly more moist bread but that is the only noticeable difference.

If you do want a little sweeter bread, add up to 1/3 cup of brown sugar.

Oatmeal² Stout Bread

As much as I love getting creative with flavors and mix-ins, it’s also helpful to have a neutral bread that goes with almost anything. This recipe is for that category.

Oats are a staple in our house. M eats oatmeal every morning and it’s a regular option in my own diet in the winter as well. They find their way into cookies, bars, pancakes, muffins, smoothies, and breads for an easy change in texture and flavor without it being overwhelmingly different. Since oatmeal stout is a fairly common beer, combining it with the addition of actual oats seemed a no brainer.

Oatmeal Stout Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

This bread combines a savory but neutral flavor, a lovely brown color, and a hearty texture into a delightfully rustic experience. Although reminiscent of the brown bread at Outback Steakhouse, it is less sweet and a totally different mouthfeel given the quick bread style instead of yeast. Regardless, it will pair beautifully with almost anything, from steak and potatoes to soups and stews to breakfast toast and lunchtime sandwiches. It is exceptionally delicious when lightly toasted (as I do with all my beer breads), and it will work with a variety of toppings depending on your mood or the rest of the meal.

Oatmeal Stout Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

Keep it savory by ditching the sugar entirely, or add a couple of tablespoons for just a little complement to the bitterness of the beer. Topping the bread with a couple tablespoons of whole oats adds visual interest and a little crunch from the toasted oats. It also makes it easy to differentiate from other breads if, like me, you’re making multiple loaves at once.

Oatmeal Stout Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

If soup season has finally hit your neck of the woods, consider this bread for a dipping companion. If not, peanut butter toast might be more up your alley.

Oatmeal² Stout Bread

Makes one standard loaf

Ingredients

1 cup + 2 Tbsp old-fashioned oats, divided
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1-2 Tbsp brown sugar (optional)
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

12 oz oatmeal stout

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Use a blender or food processor to grind 1 cup of oats; leave it coarser for extra texture or do a fine ground to better match the other flours.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine ground oats, both flours, brown sugar (if desired), baking powder, and salt. Whisk together to remove lumps.
  4. Pour in stout and stir until just combined.
  5. Spread evenly into prepared pan, then top with remaining whole oats.
  6. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Perfect for toast or to accompany a hearty stew.