Yeah, I know, it doesn’t seem like brussels sprouts would be that great on a pizza. They are kind of dense and earthy while pizza should be lighter and zestier. However, when you just use the leaves and not the cabbage-y core, you have a sturdy green that holds up well in the oven and practically soaks up the flavor of the lemon slices. This pizza is really good.
I found out about it when I hosted a potluck pizza party. Rather than have people bring a random array of salads and potato dishes (aren’t potlucks the worst?), we asked them to bring toppings for their favorite pizza, and we’d supply the dough. When my friend arrived with a sack of brussels sprouts and a lemon I thought maybe she’d misunderstood the invitation. How wrong I was!
Brussels Sprouts & Lemon Pizza
This recipe makes enough topping for one 8-10 inch pizza, which is enough for dinner for two people. You can easily double amounts below to make two pizzas. Here’s a recipe for no-knead pizza dough.
Special equipment: It’s great if you have a pizza stone. If not, you can use a baking sheet. I have also seen a variation of this recipe where they bake it in a cast-iron skillet, but I haven’t tried that. Whatever method you use, make sure you crank your oven up as high as it goes (mine gets to about 500).
- 1 1/2 cups brussels sprout leaves – you only need about 10 or so sprouts for one pizza. However they are usually sold by the bag so you can save the rest for another meal (roasted is good!)
- 1/2 a lemon (preferably organic as you are going to be eating the peel)
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan
- 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, patted dry
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- pizza dough – store-bought is fine but it’s also delicious and easy to make your own.
1. Take your dough out of the fridge or freezer and bring it to room temperature (this could take a couple of hours depending on how you’ve stored it, so don’t forget!). Preheat your oven as high as you can get it. This will get you the best crust.
2. Remove the brussels sprout leaves. Start by picking off any discolored outer leaves. Cut off the bottom third of the sprout and discard. Then peel off the leaves. When you’re left with a little nubby core, stop.
3. In a small bowl, drizzle the leaves with the olive oil, add the parmesan and about a 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add pepper to taste. Set aside (you can do this a day ahead of time if you like).
4. Slice the lemon as thinly as you can. Slice the mozzarella thinly too and pat it dry again if it’s still damp (this will keep your pizza from getting soggy later).
5. Roll out your pizza dough on a well-floured surface. There are lots of ways to do this (air toss anyone?). I press it out gently with my fingers. Be patient to prevent it from tearing, especially if the dough is still cold. As it warms it will stretch more. Use generous dustings of flour to keep it from sticking.
6. If you are using a pizza stone, bake the plain crust for 1-2 minutes. This might be “cheating” to pizza experts but I have found that it will reliably get the pizza on and off the pizza peel and in and out of the oven without losing half your toppings. Par baking firms up the crust, giving you a sturdy base for your toppings. It prevents the dreaded “flop-over” when you try to skootch your pizza onto the stone and it sticks or doesn’t move. If you are using a baking sheet you can skip this step.
7. On your pizza peel or baking sheet, start composing the pizza with a layer of mozzarella slices. Then cover with the brussels sprout mixture. Then top with lemon slices. Brush the crust lightly with olive oil.
8. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the crust starts to brown and blister. The tips of the leaves will brown, and the lemons will caramelize.
A note on the lemons: You can eat these straight, peel and all. They are intense! They are a little strong for me but other people love them. If you don’t like them just pick them off, but definitely be sure to bake the pizza with the lemon slices on top (rather than, say, just using lemon juice) because of the way the slices infuse the pizza with flavor in the oven. Plus they are pretty.