Feb 15
2012

Vegetarian Naan Pizza with Eggplant & Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto Recipe

Vegetarian-Eggplant-Naan-Pizza-with-Cilantro-Jalapeno-Pesto-Recipe-Cookin-Canuck

When I was a kid, the only way my parents could get me to eat eggplant was to take me to a Greek restaurant and set an order of Moussaka in front of me. Maybe it was the cheesy layers, smothered in a creamy Bechamel sauce or maybe it was the hypnotic music and alluring moves of the belly dancers. Either way, I ate up that purple vegetable as though someone had bribed me with a backstage pass to a Duran Duran concert (I would have done anything for a chance to meet that dreamy Roger Taylor).

The next eggplant epiphany came when my husband and I started visiting Utah before moving here. We worked by day, took a hike on the local trails in the afternoon and often ended the day with a meal at Robert Redford’s beautiful Sundance resort. Sitting in the Owl Bar with a beer (him) and Bloody Mary (me), he always ordered the chicken tortilla soup, while I was consistently drawn to the penne pasta tossed with eggplant and a light rosemary and olive oil sauce. I was hooked.

When Maria of Two Peas and Their Pod and I decided to get together for a morning of shooting recipes and figuring out our new cameras (we’re both smitten with the Canon 7d), I set to work coming up with a lunch dish to share with my vegetarian friend. While Maria put together a beautiful salad, filled with all sorts of goodies (I won’t ruin the surprise – you’ll just have to see it on her blog), I worked on a simple lunch pizza, using whole wheat naan bread as the crust.

EggplantNaanPizza3

Now, of course you could use homemade naan (visit Prerna of Indian Simmer for an awesome tutorial) and you are welcome to use a non-whole wheat variety. It’s up to you. The most important parts of this pizza are the broiled eggplant and the flavorful pesto, made with cilantro, jalapeno pepper, garlic and lime juice.

The pesto is one I’ve made before to accompany flank steak or chicken, but it works beautifully on this pizza. When I made it at Maria’s house, I diligently toasted some sliced almonds to add to the pesto. However, when we were cleaning up at the end, I discovered them sitting in the pan, waiting patiently. The pesto was fantastic without them, but if you would like a little nuttiness added, use about 3 tablespoons of the toasted nuts to the mixture.

After snapping our photos and reheating the pizzas (because of course they had become cold while being photographed – the bane of a food bloggers’ family and friends existence), we sat down to our healthy, extremely tasty lunch. Since we had Maria’s lovely salad as well, we each only ate half of a pizza. However, if the pizza is going to be the only thing served, I would plan for one pizza per person.

Let me tell you, making and photographing recipes, while talking about blogging and life with a sweet friend (and playing with an adorable little baby boy) is a heck of a lot more fun than doing it by yourself. When you throw in good food – well, it just doesn’t get any better.

The recipe:

The pesto:
In the bowl of a food processor or a blender, combine cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pulse to roughly chop.

EggplantNaanPizza2

With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Blend until smooth.

The pizza:
Preheat the broiler. Set the rack 2 to 3 inches from the heat source.

EggplantNaanPizza1

Lay the eggplant pieces on a baking sheet lined with foil. Brush both sides of eggplant with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place eggplant under the broiler and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn! Let cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes.

Lower the oven rack to the middle setting and turn the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the naan pieces on an ungreased baking sheet.

EggplantNaanPizza4

Divide the pesto between the pieces of naan and spread evenly. Top with eggplant, overlapping the pieces slightly. Sprinkle with dried red chile flakes and top with mozzarella.

EggplantNaanPizza5

Place the pizzas in the oven and cook until cheese is melted and naan are starting to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes. Cut into strips and serve.

EggplantNaanPizza6

Other pizza recipes on naan:
Simply Scratch’s Pesto & Tomato, Naan Personal Pizzas
The Perfect Pantry’s Garlic Naan Pizza with Roasted Peppers & Cheese
Aggie’s Kitchen’s Grilled Veggie Naan Pizza with Pesto
Iowa Girl Eats’ Fig, Goat Cheese & Bacon Naan Pizza

Vegetarian Eggplant Naan Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

Yield: Serves 2 to 4

From the kitchen of Cookin' Canuck. www.cookincanuck.com

Ingredients

  • The pesto:
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • The pizza:
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/3-inch slices
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pieces naan (whole wheat or regular, store-bought or homemade)
  • 1/4 tsp red chile flakes
  • 2 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. The pesto:
  2. In the bowl of a food processor or a blender, combine cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pulse to roughly chop. With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Blend until smooth.
  3. The pizza:
  4. Preheat the broiler. Set the rack 2 to 3 inches from the heat source.
  5. Lay the eggplant pieces on a baking sheet lined with foil. Brush both sides of eggplant with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Place eggplant under the broiler and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Watch it carefully so it doesn't burn! Let cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes.
  7. Lower the oven rack to the middle setting and turn the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the naan pieces on an ungreased baking sheet.
  8. Divide the pesto between the pieces of naan and spread evenly. Top with eggplant, overlapping the pieces slightly. Sprinkle with dried red chile flakes and top with mozzarella.
  9. Place the pizzas in the oven and cook until cheese is melted and naan are starting to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes. Cut into strips and serve.

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jackie Thompson February 15, 2012 at 7:26 am

Sounds like an awesome way to pass the day if you ask me . I’ve never been a big fan of eggplant but my foodie friend made it for a Christmas potluck as a dip and it was truly delicious. I think it’s all about having just the right recipe and I think this is one of those.

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2 the wicked noodle February 15, 2012 at 7:34 am

I want to be smitten with a new Canon 7D! Is it as wonderful as I think it would be?

I adore this pizza. Eggplant is sooo good (when it’s cooked properly as you clearly have) and the pesto sounds divine. LOVE!!

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3 Maria February 15, 2012 at 7:52 am

Thanks for sharing this delicious pizza! It was so fun to cook, chat, and take photos with you. The photos turned out great-like always! I am lucky to have you as a friend! Thanks Dara!

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4 kelley February 15, 2012 at 7:53 am

I think I’d like to bathe in this pesto! What a fun morning for you and Maria. Looks like you’re figuring out your cameras as the pictures are beautiful!

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5 Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free February 15, 2012 at 7:53 am

These look gorgeous. Love the idea of pesto made from cilantro!!

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6 Deborah February 15, 2012 at 8:00 am

First of all, this pizza looks amazing. My husband doesn’t like jalepenos at all, which makes me very sad, but I may have to make one of these up just for myself!!

And I’m dying for a new camera. I REALLY want the 5d Mark II, but it probably is more camera than I really need. :) I have my eye on the 7d, though, and a new lens, as well. Oh, if only I were made out of money!!

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7 SWeetsugarbelle February 15, 2012 at 8:55 am

You create the most amazing dishes!!!! I want this!!!

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8 Sarah @ The Cyclist's Wife February 15, 2012 at 10:30 am

Thanks for giving me a recipe for dinner on Friday night! Can’t wait to try it!

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9 Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) February 15, 2012 at 11:12 am

Great variation on the naan pizza tradition! Thanks for linking to one of my recipes, too.

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10 Belinda @zomppa February 15, 2012 at 11:39 am

That pesto is heavenly!!

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11 Prerna@IndianSimmer February 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm

You are officially my hero! :-)

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12 Lora @cakeduchess February 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Gorgeous! How cute that you and Maria cooked and took photos together. I am making this for dinner tonight (wish I had homemade naan! )Thanks for the delicious inspiration, Dara. xx

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13 Sara{OneTribeGourmet} February 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Yum, Naan pizza with my all of my favorite ingredients! Gorgeous Pics! :)

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14 Courtney J February 15, 2012 at 4:07 pm

wow! what a delicious sounding, unique pizza! Cannot wait to try this recipe out. I make the same cilantro pesto to top my curries. I never thought to use it on a pizza. Thanks so much for the idea :)

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15 KalynsKitchen February 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Oh wow, this looks like an amazing recipe. Great work.

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16 Holly February 15, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I think you just put three of my favourite things in one recipe… Eggplant, Cilantro, and Naan. This is going on the menu plan in the very hear future! Awesome recipe, can’t wait to try it!

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17 Steve @ the black peppercorn February 15, 2012 at 6:05 pm

what a fusion of flavours Dara! Looks delicious. I love everything on that. I know I would love it/

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18 sippitysup.com February 15, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Bite. Crunch. Chew. Repeat. Bite. Crunch. Chew. Repeat. Bite. Crunch. Chew. Repeat. Bite. Crunch. Chew. Repeat. Bite. Crunch. Chew. Repeat. Bite. Crunch. Chew. Repeat. Bite. Crunch. Chew. Repeat. GREG

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19 Jeanette February 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm

What fun to share a delicious healthy meal with a friend, play with a new camera and a hang out with a cute baby! This simple lunch sounds perfect for lunch.

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20 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga February 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm

This looks soooo tasty! I am horrible at making eggplant…too rubbery, too mushy, too raw…you make me want to try again!

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21 Diane {Created by Diane} February 15, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Cilantro-Jalapeno YUM, YUM, YUM. LOVE this pizza so much!!!!!!!!! Can you pleases send me a slice, I’m hungry :)

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22 Katrina February 15, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Yum, Dara! Especially the pesto. I’m having issues with SU tonight, but I do plan to Pin this!

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23 Cathy/ShowFoodChef February 16, 2012 at 1:12 am

What a great idea and I love the pesto recipe (for so many things), can’t wait to try it. That sounded like a fantastic day together, too. Hugs.

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24 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen February 16, 2012 at 1:18 am

I love the flavors here and naan pizza is such a good idea!

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25 Liz February 16, 2012 at 5:15 am

Ah, this pizza looks seriously delicious!!!!

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26 bellini February 16, 2012 at 6:11 am

Sharing a friends kitchen is the best part of the day!

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27 Angie February 16, 2012 at 7:10 am

This looks so amazing, I never would have thought to make a naan pizza, love it!

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28 marla February 16, 2012 at 7:23 am

Such a fun & gourmet twist on Pizza. Love it Dara!

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29 Feast on the Cheap February 16, 2012 at 10:20 am

pesto on pizza can’t be beat. This looks like such a beautiful dish!

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30 RavieNomNoms February 16, 2012 at 11:06 am

This looks amazing!! Truly looks so good. I love eggplant, it is so delicious and highly underrated by most. :-)

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31 claire @ the realistic nutritionist February 16, 2012 at 11:09 am

This looks absolutely AMAZING!! i love the use of naan!

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32 Asiya February 16, 2012 at 11:42 am

This is amazing!!! I love how the pesto uses cilantro…the herb that I always have in my fridge. My husband loves eggplant and I know he would love this…Pinning this! Thx for sharing another great recipe :)

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33 Abby February 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm

so creative! I wouldn’t have thought to use naan…oooh or maybe garlic naan? Yum!!

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34 Tracy February 16, 2012 at 3:44 pm

This is one gorgeous pizza! And, I love my 7D too…so glad you got one!! :-)

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35 sara February 16, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Oh, this looks fantastic! Great flavors, I bet this tastes amazing! :)

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36 Julia {The Roasted Root} February 16, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Everything about this recipe screams out “Make me ASAP!” I’m not big on cilantro (at all), but in Indian recipes when it is blended up like that with other ingredients the flavor of cilantro is a bit more tolerable for me. In any case, eggplant and naan are a-okay by me for virtually any meal. Awesome recipe, as always!

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37 Kevin (Closet Cooking) February 17, 2012 at 4:04 am

That pesto sounds good! I recently did a chard based pesto/salsa with plenty of cilantro and jalapenos.

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38 Lora February 17, 2012 at 8:51 pm

You had me at Jalapeno pesto. WOW what a great recipe.

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39 Carolyn February 18, 2012 at 3:49 am

I love eggplant. Not sure if I did as a kid or not, but I adore it now. And I love it on this pizza!

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40 PolaM February 18, 2012 at 9:13 pm

This pizza naan looks delicious! I think I should reproduce it ASAP!

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41 Jen at The Three Little Piglets February 18, 2012 at 11:10 pm

I was never a big fan of eggplant until I had really good eggplant parmesan with crispy fried eggplant underneath. I’ve been smitten ever since – but now I’ve learned to love it in all sorts of places!

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42 Aggie February 27, 2012 at 5:17 am

I do wish I was in that kitchen with you two!! :)

I’m such a sucker for naan pizzas! They are so easy to make. Your pesto & that eggplant are giving me cravings. I love eggplant, will have to try this FOR SURE.

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43 Julie March 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm

mmm….Bloody Marys at the Owl Bar. And of course, the pizzas look great too!

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44 Emily April 8, 2012 at 6:09 pm

This was so ridiculously tasty! Thanks for the recipe!

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45 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Emily, I’m so glad! Thanks so much for letting me know.

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46 Ana Carolina April 29, 2013 at 10:17 am

I’ve tried the recipe and it’s amazing! I only sub the pesto with marinara sauce cause I didn’t have cilantro at home. Thanks!!

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47 jaishree September 27, 2013 at 7:26 am

this pesto recipe is superb ..in india we add peanuts/ grated fresh coconut in place of olive oil which u used and we call it chutney…chutney is companion food in our main dish..oil in peanut and coconut gives nice blend to this recipe

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