Miso Chard Pesto Naan Pizza

From the time I was 7 years old, my family was vegetarian.  Growing up as a latchkey kid, this meant that I ate a lot of pizza.  So, so much pizza.  Even when we ate something prepared for dinner, we still had pizza. By the time I went away to college, I did not like pizza anymore.  It made going vegan really easy.

As an adult, I eat vegan pizza once in a while.  While I am still not a big fan of pizza, I like it best when it has no cheese; vegan or otherwise.  It takes some additional thought to come up with a way to maximize flavor, but that's where miso chard pesto comes in!  It makes the perfect base full of umami to build the perfect pie around.  Add your favorite toppings--olives, peppers, red onions, artichokes, roasted garlic, white beans, grape tomatoes, and you're on your way to a delicious meal.

While there are many pre-made vegetarian naan breads out there, there aren't any vegan ones that I am aware of.  For this particular recipe, you can make your own naan or use pizza crusts or some homemade vegan pizza dough works well, too.  The recipe below uses two naan breads, but if you choose to use a pizza crust or dough, adjust the oven temperature and time to cook accordingly.  For a variation, make toaster oven English muffins with miso pesto chard and all the toppings!

This pizza is great on it's own or with a side of Antipasto Salad.

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Miso Chard Pesto Naan Pizza

2 cups swiss chard, stems removed

⅓ cup nutritional yeast

3 garlic cloves (2 for the pesto, 1 coarsely chopped for topping)

¼ cup slivered almonds

¼ cup hemp seeds

¼ cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil

¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley + more for garnish

1 tsp red miso

¼ cup + 1 Tbsp lemon juice

¾ cup white beans

½ cup grape tomatoes, halved

2 pieces vegan naan OR 1 vegan pizza crust or dough (see note above)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  Meanwhile, put chard, nutritional yeast, 2 garlic cloves, almonds, hemp seeds, ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup parsley, miso and lemon in a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Spread on the top of naan or pizza crust.  Set aside.

2. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet on HIGH.  Add grape tomatoes, 1 clove of garlic coarsely chopped, and 1 Tbsp lemon juice. Stir gently for 90 seconds or until they start to release their juices.  Remove from heat, and drain off the juices.  Top pizza with white beans and tomatoes.  Garnish with fresh parsley.

3. On a pizza stone or large cookie sheet covered in parchment, cook the naan pizza for 5-10 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your crust.  Remove from the oven, and enjoy with Antipasto Salad on the side.

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