I’ve played around a lot with homemade pizza over the years -- making this dough and that dough, trying thin crust pizzas on a baking stones and the backs of baking sheets, baking pizzas for one and pizzas for four.
But sheet pan pizza is my new best friend! And it can be yours, too.
I love how easy it is. Making pizza in a sheet pan is a simple matter of stretching the dough onto the pan and topping it with cheese, sauce, and other ingredients. Bake and serve.
I like to make my own no-knead whole wheat pizza dough – it takes almost no time to mix and rises slowly over about 12 hours. Start it in the morning and it will be ready when you get home in the evening. It will also keep in the fridge for up to three days, so it's ready when you are.
For today's recipe, you'll need to roast some cauliflower, but that, too, can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for a few days. You can still dash home on a Friday night and have dinner ready in 30 minutes.
I like to slice the cauliflower into “steaks” rather than break it into florets, and roast them that way. It’s faster, and though some of the pieces fall apart, it doesn’t matter since you'll be breaking them into smaller pieces before topping the pizza anyway. The edges caramelize and the smaller pieces brown beautifully. Who doesn’t love crispy bits?
Once you have the dough and cauliflower in hand, just stretch the dough into the pan and top with the roasted cauliflower, Parmesan, and fresh mozzarella, which you tear into pieces with your hands.
I initially meant to put capers on this pizza, but mistakenly reached for a jar of green peppercorns in brine. They are vinegary and mildly hot and they add a lot of zest – they worked great! You could opt for capers for that same zing, if you prefer, or leave them out altogether if you’re feeding picky eaters.
This pizza is my new go-to potluck contribution. It feeds a lot of people and can be transported and reheated easily.
The earthy whole wheat crust, the roasted cauliflower, the hint of heat from peppercorns and the topping with perky greens – all together, these create a unique pizza that you'll probably never find at your local pizza joint!
Sheet Pan Pizza With Roasted Cauliflower and Greens
To take to a party, cut the pizza ahead of time when it is cool and transport it on the baking sheet. Reheat it in a 400-degree oven for about 10 minutes. Transport the greens separately in a plastic bag and dress them when you get there.
- 1/2 large head cauliflower
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 recipe (about 1 1/2 pounds) No-Knead Whole Wheat Pizza Dough, or store-bought dough
- 1 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan
- 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
- 2 tablespoons drained green peppercorns in brine, or drained capers
- 3 handfuls baby greens such as arugula, kale, or spinach
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 450ºF:
Place a rack in the lowest position.
Prepare the cauliflower:
Trim away the outer leaves and cut the cauliflower in half Cut one half into slices about 1/4-inch thick, and reserve the other half for another use (or roast it all now and save half for another meal.) Some smaller florets will fall away; this is fine.
Spread the cauliflower slices and any florets that have fallen off on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Using your hands, rub the oil into the cauliflower, coating both sides. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Roast the cauliflower:
Place the cauliflower on the lower rack of the oven. Roast for 20 minutes, or until tender. Let the cauliflower cool slightly on the pan and break or cut it into smaller pieces.
At this point, the cauliflower can be kept refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Stretch the dough onto the baking sheet:
Wipe clean the baking sheet used to roast the cauliflower. Place the dough in the center of the baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Turn the dough to coat it well, spreading some of the oil over the baking sheet.
Gradually stretch the dough until it reaches the edges of the baking sheet. If it springs back or is difficult to stretch, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes before continuing.
Turn the oven to 500ºF
Top the pizza:
Brush the top of the dough with 1 tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan. Top with the mozzarella, followed by the cauliflower. Sprinkle the peppercorns (or capers) evenly over the dough.
Bake the pizza:
Set the pan on lowest shelf of the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the pizza is golden brown.
Top with greens:
In a bowl, toss the greens with the remaining tablespoon of the oil, the vinegar and salt and pepper. Top the cooked pizza with the greens; they will wilt slightly from the heat of the pizza. Cut into squares and serve hot.