Zucchini and Garlic Walnut Crumble Pizza
Zucchini and Garlic Walnut Pesto Pizza

When you live near truly stellar pizza places like we do, you may wonder why we would ever go through all the effort of making a homemade version when takeout is so easy, quick and delicious and I have to admit that after some not so stellar homemade pizza experiences, I've often wondered about it too. But not anymore, because not only have I found the foolproof pizza dough, thus making any homemade attempts a guaranteed success (at least in the crust department) but I've also come upon this totally unique and mouthwatering zucchini and garlic walnut crumble version that will blow your tastebuds away. It's not something you're likely to find in even the most adventurous pizza joints which means that pretty much the only way you're going to experience the joy of it, is to make it at home. And not only is it totally worth the effort, but it's also a fun kitchen project, making an ordinary Friday or Saturday night, the night they will lovingly refer to as The Night We Stayed Home and Made Our Own Pizzas!!! Yay!!

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Before I get to the zucchini and walnut crumble (I know, how good does that sound? ) we've got to talk about the crust, because largely that's what makes a pizza special or not. And yes, of course you can buy ready made crusts from the market or your favorite pizza joint, but with a little advance prep, you can turn out thin, chewy/crusty dough that'll have even the snootiest pizza connoisseurs cheering! Just a note of warning:  you've got to make this dough at least 26 hours in advance, so this can't be a last minute project. The good news though is that you can make the dough up to a month (or even two) in advance, freeze it and just defrost the morning of the night you want to make pizza.

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Now let's talk topping, 'cause this one is off-the-charts special! First off, there's the garlicky walnut crumble that sort of looks like crumbled sausage but in reality is much closer to a pesto. You've got to try this! It's so interesting!!

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Then, there's the sautéed slices of zucchini which add a nice balance to the heartiness of the crumble and is a good way to make use of all the zucchini that's in season now. Add in the mellowness of fresh mozzarella and the salty tang of freshly grated Parmesan and you've got a pizza that won's soon be forgotten!!

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Thin, crunchy, chewy crust, nutty, garlicky crumble, tender zucchini and creamy mozzarella--with every bite, you know exactly why you embarked on this endeavor. So throw together a batch of dough today and instead of just throwing something on the grill, make this weekend a pizza party. I promise you're gonna love every carb moment!! 

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Zucchini and Garlic Walnut Crumble Pizza

Makes two 10-inch pies
The dough for this needs to sit at least 26 hours so plan accordingly or make ahead, freeze and thaw the morning of the evening you want to use it.
Prep Time for Dough:  10 minutes, plus at least 26 hours rising time; Prep Time for Pizza: 20 minutes; Cook Time:  8-10 minutes


For the dough  

  • ¾ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 7/8 cup warm water (make sure it's not hot-you should be able to comfortably dip your finger into it) 
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing bowl  
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Pizza

  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion  
  • 2-3 shakes red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Kosher salt and black pepper  
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided  
  • 1 zucchini, cut into thin slices
  • 1 batch of pizza dough (see above recipe) or your favorite store bought version--you basically need two 8- ounce balls of dough
  • A small amount of flour for dusting on board  
  • ½ pound fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly  

The Recipe

1.  To make the dough:  place the yeast, warm water and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook or into a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Mix the ingredients together and let sit for about 5 minutes, until yeast is foamy.

2.  Beat or pulse in the flour and salt, mixing until a smooth, slightly elastic dough forms. This should take a few minutes. Coat a large bowl with a bit of olive oil, place the dough into the bowl, turn it so that the dough gets coated with oil too and cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 24 and up to 48 hours, allowing dough to rise.

3.  Divide dough in half and shape each half into a tight compact ball. Place the balls on a baking sheet, cover loosely with the plastic wrap and return the sheet to the fridge to allow the balls to rest for at least 12 hours and up to 12 before using.

4.  If you like you can freeze the dough after Step 3. Just wrap well a d they will last for at least a month that way. The morning of the night you want to use them, just place them in the fridge to defrost and then being to room temperature while the oven heats up. You can also make a double batch of this dough. It doubles or even triples very well. 

5.  To make the pizza:  place pizza stone or baking sheet into oven and preheat to 500 F. 

6.  Into the bowl of a food processor, place the walnuts, garlic, parsley onion, red pepper flakes, paprika and a pinch or two of salt and pepper and pulse until a coarse crumb forms, adding the Parmesan and 2 tablespoons of oil until the mixture clumps together a bit. Add salt and pepper if necessary.

7.  Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add in the zucchini slices in a single layer (you may need to do this in two batches) and a pinch of salt and cook until zucchini begins to brown, about 7-8 minutes. Transfer zucchini to paper towels to drain. 

8. On a floured board or surface, flatten out one ball of pizza dough, into a 10-inch round or rectangle. You want to stretch it until it's thin but not too thin that it tears. Top with half the mozzarella slices, half the zucchini and half the walnut crumble mixture scattered about in lightly packed teaspoonfuls. 

9.  Transfer pizza to pizza stone or baking sheet (careful, it's hot) and bake for 7-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is cooked through and browned. Sprinkle with more Parmesan and red pepper flakes if you like. Cut into wedges and serve immediately. This is a stand around by the counter kind of dinner--you want to eat this right away! Repeat procedure with other dough half. 


Note:  Recipe for dough adapted from Dinner: Changing The Game by Melissa Clark, recipe for topping adapted from Molly On The Range by Molly Yeh. I omitted the ½ teaspoon anise seeds from the crumble and cut down the amount of red pepper flakes. 

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