Kripalu Recipe: Sweet Potato, Kale, and Parsley Pesto Pizza

Kripalu culinary ambassador Jeremy Rock Smith calls this pizza the "ultimate comfort food."

Makes one rectangular pizza 

2 pounds pizza dough (see recipe below)
2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons roasted cashews
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon nutritional yeast
All-purpose flour, for dusting
2 cups shredded kale, preferably lacinato
2 cups fontina cheese, shredded
½ cup red bell peppers, diced

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. If you have a baking stone, preheat the stone on the center rack of the oven for at least 45 minutes.

Let the dough rest at room temperature while the oven preheats. Have all your toppings prepped and ready to go.

For the sweet potato puree, put the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat, and simmer until the sweet potatoes are just fork-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the sweet potatoes in a colander, then transfer to a food processor. Add the garlic, cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Process to a smooth, spreadable puree, scraping down the sides once or twice. Use immediately, or cover and keep at room temperature for a few hours.

For the pesto, put the parsley, cashews, oil, nutritional yeast, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small food processor or blender. Blend to a rough puree, scraping down the sides once or twice. If the pesto is too thick to drizzle, stir in a little water. Use immediately, or keep at room temperature for a few hours.

Lightly spray an 18x13-inch sheet pan with oil. Lightly flour a work surface, and place the dough on it. Dust the dough with flour and roll out the dough to a thick rectangle slightly smaller than the pan dimensions. Carefully transfer the dough to pan, then press the dough into the pan all the way to the edges.

Spread the sweet potato puree evenly over the dough, covering the entire surface with no rim. There should be only a thin layer of sweet potato puree. Evenly scatter the kale, fontina, and bell peppers over the pizza.

Bake until the pizza is puffed and well-browned on the edges and the cheese melts, 10 to 15 minutes. Drizzle on the pesto, and cut into 12 rectangles.

Sourdough Whole-Grain Pizza Dough

Makes 2 pounds, enough for 1 sheet-pan pizza or two 12-inch round pizzas

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/3 cups water
2/3 cup (6 ounces) active sourdough starter
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup or brown rice syrup
1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Day 1: In a large bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, and water together to form a rough dough. Cover loosely and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. Mix in the active starter and knead it with your hands by pressing and folding the dough over itself continually until the dough starts to get smooth and shiny. Knead in the barley malt syrup and salt. When everything is well incorporated, gradually knead in the olive oil and continue kneading until the dough is very smooth and shiny. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 1 hour. Form into a ball and refrigerate the dough overnight.

Day 2: The next day, in the morning, re-form the dough into a ball, or if making two round pizzas, form the dough into two balls. Cover and refrigerate again. That evening, re-form the dough into a ball or balls. 

Day 3: Before using, re-form the dough into a ball or balls, and let rest for at least 45 minutes at room temperature before rolling out.