Squash PSA: Pizza Sauce Alternative

It all started with us sneaking shredded carrots into the layer of sauce of our pizzas. We covered this vegetable party with cheese, and not only did our kiddo not notice, we actually found that we loved the taste! We moved on to beetza, which is pizza with shredded beets snuck in. And then we got to thinking… what would happen if we switch out the sauce entirely?

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That’s right, squash pizza. Squash instead of sauce is not only healthy, it brings an exciting bright color and warm, nutty sweetness.

Adding vegetables to meals whenever and wherever you can is a strategy we’ve talked about a lot lately. When it comes to pizza, we think the best place to add vegetables is in the sauce layer.

The Sauce Layer – The Back Alley for Vegetable Transactions

The sauce layer of a pizza is a curious area where moisture is maintained, but otherwise no one gives it much thought. It sleeps on a bed of crust, the first thing that hits the tongue, and is covered in a blanket of cheese and toppings, which is what most people are thinking about as they eat pizza. The sauce layer is crucial, but no one is paying it much attention. The perfect place for sneakiness.

pureed winter squash used in place of sauce on a pizza

Carrots and beets find their way into your children’s bellies undetected. Squash is sweet and subtle enough to be enjoyable for even very young picky eaters. Top with your family’s favorite toppings and no one will even notice there was some serious scheming going on.

No recipe this time, since pizza can be made in a million ways. But the technique in building a vegetable-enhanced pizza is simple:

  • Prepare a crust
  • Add a thin layer of sauce, boosted with vegetables either pureed or shredded
  • Sprinkle on cheese
  • Add toppings
  • Bake in a hot oven until it looks fantastic.

pizza slices with squash, beets, carrots, and more snuck into the sauce

To give you a starting point for your inevitable pizza sauce substitutions, here’s what did for two pizzas on our most recent pizza night:

Squash Pizza with Ricotta, Leeks, and Oregano:

Crust: Whole wheat sourdough

Sauce: pureed Hubbard squash

Cheese: Homemade ricotta, parmesan added before serving

Toppings: sliced leeks and oregano.

Hybrid Winter Vegetable Pizza with Beets, Squash, Ricotta, and Onions:

Crust: Whole wheat sourdough

Sauce: Homemade tomato sauce blended with pureed Hubbard squash, shredded beets, and shredded carrots

Cheese: Homemade ricotta, shredded cheddar & mozzarella, parmesan added before serving

Toppings: Onions, oregano, and basil

healthy pizzas with squash, beets, carrots snuck into the sauce layer

Both pizzas were wonderfully wintery with warm, sweet flavoring that was satisfying to everyone at the table.

What will you do in your next pizza?

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