Almost a vegetarian

I’d be a vegetarian…but I like meat. Therein lies a problem. I can honestly say that as much as I LOVE vegetables, I do not crave meals of strict vegetables. I’d like a little protein my way please… However, this meal changed my thinking on vegetarian dishes.

The Siciliana

The Siciliana

It all happened at a little pizza restaurant in the Washington, DC area. The restaurant, located a short distance off a metro stop, was located in a small house. The special part about this house: a central wood-burning pizza oven with a chef hand-throwing pizzas. The restaurant is called Pizzeria Paradisio, and if you ever have a chance to eat here, I highly suggest it. I ordered the pizza you see above, the Siciliana, and, as I stated, it forever altered my opinion on vegetarian dishes. Covered in mozzarella cheese, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, red peppers, red onions, oregano, capers, garlic, and pecorino cheese, it was pure bliss on a plate.

Pizzeria Paradisio

Pizzeria Paradisio

Meanwhile, back home in Memphis, with a plethora of barbeque options and not one single Pizzeria Paradisio at my disposal, and a hankering for the same vegetarian pizza, I had to resort to my hands, my kitchen, my skills in pizza (oh darn, right?).

The pizza is slightly altered, based on the ingredients I had in the fridge at the moment. But, what followed was the closest I’ve had yet, and quite delicious. So delicious that my carnivorous husband even complimented the pizza. So please make this soon, especially if you’re not going to DC anytime soon, and savor your own vegetarian pizza at home!

Vegetarian Pizza (sans Pizzeria Paradisio)

1 pizza crust of your choice, or serving of pizza dough, rolled thin
homemade tomato sauce (visit here or here for recipe)
2/3 cup feta cheese
1 pan of roasted broccoli (go here for recipe)
1/2 red onion, shaved thin
1/2 zucchini, shaved thin
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp capers
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 banana pepper, diced thin (you may substitute red bell pepper, or roasted red peppers)
olive oil, extra virgin
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper


1. Assemble ingredients, place cold pizza stone in the cold oven, and begin preheating oven to 450. If you are starting the pizza with raw dough, roll dough thin and approximately the same size as your pizza stone. Once the oven is preheated, you’ll want to pre-bake the dough until it browns slightly to ensure that your pizza dough will be cooked through. If you are starting with a pre-made and ready to assemble crust, ignore this step.

2. Once dough is slightly browned, remove from the oven and begin assembling pizza, but make sure you put the stone back in the oven so it can stay warm. Start with tomato sauce, as much or as little as you like. On the vegetarian, I suggest a little more tomato sauce for flavor and bulk. On top of tomato sauce, sprinkle mozzarella, reserving a small amount for the top. Begin assembling ingredients as follows: parsley, zucchini until it mostly covers mozzarella, red onion, red pepper flakes, capers, banana pepper (or red bell pepper or roasted red peppers), and ending with the broccoli. Take feta cheese and sprinkle on top of assembled pizza, filling in all holes needing to be filled, and until pizza appears uniform throughout (you want a little bite of everything in each slice). Top with reserved mozzarella. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

pizza pre-baking

pizza pre-baking

3. Brush a small amount of extra virgin olive oil on pizza stone (helps with the crisping of the crust) and place pizza on the stone. Bake until cheese and crust begins to brown. Remove, cool, cut, and enjoy!

pizza post-baking

pizza post-baking

And, for a complete pizza night, assemble a pepperoni pizza made with the same tomato sauce and mozzarella, pepperoni, parsley, and a generous sprinkling of red pepper flakes…because, you know, I’m not a vegetarian…



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