Have you heard the people on all the fancy cooking shows talk about trying to achieve a “balance of flavors” in their recipes? Like a mixture of textures, flavors, acidity, richness, etc…? Well, usually that is way above my pay grade, and I just try to make food that tastes yummy, BUT this recipe is the epitome of that balance of flavors and textures.
If you take away the arugula, what you are looking at is a crispy whole wheat naan crust, a light layer of infused olive oil (more on that later), and a nice generous layer of cheese. Now that alone, let’s be honest, sounds pretty dang yummy without adding anything. But, when you add this bright, fresh, tangy arugula salad on top, it sends your taste buds to a whole new place because you achieve that perfect balance.
It becomes such a complex bite of food (in a good way…a very good way). You have the dense, chewy pizza and then the crunchy, crisp arugula. You have the richness from the cheese and infused olive oil, and then you have the bright, tangy lemon arugula. You guys…I’m telling you…you have not lived until you’ve tried this combo!
This has always been one of my favorite recipes…except in its traditional form it’s made with homemade white flour pizza crust and lots more cheese! This is my healthier (waaay healthier) adaptation ❤️. But even with these healthy adaptations, this recipe still has that exact same perfect balance of flavors. You’ll die and go to food heaven and stay there forever 👅👅👅!
Each layer of this mouthwatering pizza deserves its own delicious description, becaaauuuse it’s what dreams are made of 😍:
- The crust. Instead of using unhealthy white pizza crust with all those simple carbs, we use whole wheat naan instead! SUPER bonus = zero preparation for you. Zero. Not only does this little step make the recipe monumentally healthier, it also makes it monumentally easier! It knocks this baby down to a 30-minute meal. Yaaaaassssss. It also gives you a cute little two serving (or one if you’re really hungry 😉) meal instead of a massive pizza.
- The infused olive oil. Have you ever used infused olive oil as a pizza “sauce” instead of marinara? If you haven’t, you guys are missing out BIG time. Here’s why it’s awesome: the flavor is much more subtle than tomato sauce, so it doesn’t overpower the pizza toppings so much, but there is still really yummy flavor coming from whatever you infuse the oil with. Which, in this case, is garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes…so good. I COMMAND YOU TO TRY IT NOW. I’m just kidding love me.
- The cheese. We don’t go typical cheese pizza and use mozzarella. Instead we use a combination of fontina and parmesan cheese. I cannot say enough about these two cheeses together…the fontina is rich and creamy while the parmesan is salty and lighter. They balance each other out perfectly!
- The arugula. Out of everything I’ve just rambled about, the arugula is my favorite. Not necessarily because of what it is on its own, but because of the level of complexity and dimension it brings to the pizza as a whole. The arugula is dressed in a vinaigrette made with lemon juice, olive oil, dijon mustard, and shallot, and it is the most delicious dressing ever. You toss the arugula and vinaigrette together and then pile it on top of the pizza so you get a big bite of arugula in every mouthful.
There is a necessary note I must make at this point. The photography here does not do justice to the amount of arugula that needs to go on top of each pizza. If I photographed it with the proper amount, all you would see in the pictures is a massive pile of green. So – put WAY more than I showed in the pictures. I put an entire (packed) cup of arugula onto each serving of this pizza, and it makes two servings. So two packed cups of arugula total. And it is perfection 👌😎❤️!
Lookitdatcheese. YUM. That’s pre-arugula, obviously 😉.
Um, you guys. Remember on Friday when I was talking about the massive impending doom of our ICE-POCALYPSE in Kansas? There was like…zero ice where we were. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was extremely relieved because, as I discussed in my last post, I was quite nervous. But it was kind of funny how anticlimactic it was.
I mean, people were preparing for some INTENSE weather. The grocery stores were out of water bottles…the Home Depot was out of generators…people were ready, yo. I may or may not have a 12 pack of very large water bottles above my fridge as we speak. And I bought cheeze-its as my non-perishable item in case the power went out. Nutritional content was clearly my goal…
Don’t worry. The cheeze-its still got eaten despite the loss of power outage. I couldn’t leave them alone and make them feel like they had no use! I was just trying to be nice.
So now it’s just very, very, very rainy outside…but my house is still warm and toasty! And it meant that I was able to cook in my power-filled house all day on Saturday, so I have three delicious recipes to bring you this week…starting with this pizza!! Da bomb.
For my 21 Day Fix people, here are your container amounts (per serving!):
- 1 yellow (naan)
- 1 green (arugula)
- 1 blue (cheese)
- 1 teaspoon (olive oil)
- 1/2 orange (dressing)
*The garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes are “free”*
- 1 whole wheat naan
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- ⅓ cup fontina cheese, grated
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 5 sprigs thyme (no need to remove the leaves)
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 cups arugula
- For the dressing:
- 1½ teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon finely minced shallot
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- Place your whole wheat naan on a baking sheet, and when the oven is preheated, bake the naan for 5 minutes to crisp it up a bit
- Meanwhile, add your olive oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and thyme into a small skillet over medium heat
- Lightly cook the garlic, pepper flakes and thyme so it infuses the oil. Stop just as the garlic is turning a light golden brown. Don't cook this on a high temperature or the garlic will brown before the oil can infuse well
- Remove the naan from the oven, and brush the infused olive oil all across the top
- Lightly season with salt and pepper
- Top evenly with your fontina and parmesan cheese
- Bake for 10 minutes
- Meanwhile, combine your dressing ingredients in bowl and whisk together. Season to taste with salt and pepper
- When the pizza comes out of the oven, let it sit for a few minutes. When ready to serve, slice the pizza and toss the arugula with the dressing (you may not want to use all the dressing - it will depend on how dressed you like your salads and how packed your cups of arugula were)
- Top the pizza liberally with the arugula salad - it will be large pile on top (you can't have too much)!
Nutrition info is for 1 serving (1/2 of the pizza and arugula).
If you make this or any of my other recipes, be sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
In the mood for more pizza recipes? Check these out: