Catching Up, Plus a Recipe for Crispy Kale, Winter Squash, and Cheddar Pizza

Catching Up, Plus a Recipe for Crispy Kale, Winter Squash, and Cheddar Pizza

kale pizza

I’ve missed you.

Lately the maelstrom that is life has been overwhelming me, and I’m afraid this blog has suffered as a result. If you’re ever wondering where I am (and I’d be absolutely tickled to think that someone actually is wondering that), check my Facebook page. I post something on there nearly every day, even if it’s just a quick link to some interesting find. And I’ve been writing a lot about some pretty heavy (ugh) parenting-food-body-image-related issues on my Weight Watchers blog.

Also, a teeny-tiny bit of book promotion, in the form of two Q&As: One with, which includes three of my favorite recipes from Parents Need to Eat Too, and one with Brooklyn Based, which includes some embarrassing details about Harry’s eating as well as my work-arounds.

One of those work-arounds: weekly Pizza Night. Harry gets his own, kid-sized ball of dough to stretch and top with a few molecules of Little Gram’s Sauce, cheese, and olives, while I get to play with more grown-up flavors on the balance. The recipe I’m posting today was a recent hit—Stephen and I fought over who’d get to eat the leftovers. When I put a quick picture on Facebook the response was surprisingly enthusiastic—I thought maybe combining kale, winter squash, balsamic vinegar, and cheddar might be too weird—so I promised to share.

The trick to making this an easy weeknight meal is twofold: You must have prepared pizza dough (which I buy from the local pizzeria when I don’t have a chance to make it), and you must have already-roasted winter squash. I used delicata because it’s what I had on-hand, but this would work equally well with butternut, acorn, or whatever kind you like best. (BTW, this is an excellent candidate for Nap-Friendly Cooking: roast the squash during one nap, wash and prep the kale during another, and make the pizza right before dinner.) Leaving patches of exposed kale allows the leaves to get shatteringly crisp, like the kale chips the Internets keep talking about. And tossing the kale with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar accentuates the sweetness in the squash and plays really nicely off the salty cheese.

Next time I make this, I’m going to try spreading a bit of fig preserves on the dough instead. I think it’ll be smashing.

So, what do you think—is this combo too off-the-wall? What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever put on pizza?

Crispy Kale, Winter Squash, and Cheddar Pizza
Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound pizza dough, whole wheat preferred, at room temperature
1 small bunch kale (I like Tuscan, aka dinosaur), ribs removed, leaves torn
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper
1 cup roasted winter squash, cut into pizza-friendly pieces (I used delicata)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 500°F.

  1. Spread 1 tablespoon olive oil over a rimmed baking sheet. Stretch your pizza dough into whatever shape you like—this time, mine came out oblong—and transfer to baking pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, toss the kale with the remaining oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Scatter the kale on top of the pizza dough, then add the winter squash. Finally, top with the cheese—leave plenty of exposed kale, since you’ll want it to have the chance to get crisp.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crust and kale are browned and cheese is bubbly.

MAKE BABY FOOD: That roasted winter squash is pretty much guaranteed to please a new eater—puree with broth, milk, or water. A slightly older baby can handle a pizza crust and some raw shredded cheese, too.