These grilled vegetable pizzas, slathered with pesto and topped with smoky, tender vegetables will keep your vegetarian guests happy all summer long!
I wasn't a very good listener the first time I made grilled pizza. It all went down at one of my cooking group's monthly cookfests years ago and the theme was grilling. With the barbecue fired up on the back dec, we each took a turn making our assigned dishes - appetizer, salad and so on. When my turn came, our host and experienced maker of grilled pizzas told me, "Be sure to have all of your ingredients ready and close at hand when you put the dough on the grill because things are going to move very quickly."
And that's when things all went to pot.
It turns out that when you're grilling pizza and you leave half of the ingredients in the kitchen, you'll find yourself running frantically from grill to kitchen, yelling at your friends to flip the dough so it doesn't burn. That's a good way to keep the love flowing at the party, let me tell you.
Moral of the story. First of all, listen to your friends. They're usually pretty wise. Second, put all of your pizza grilling ingredients in one place, preferably lined up the order that you'll use them, or things are gonna get real very quickly. I use a baking sheet to hold the bowls of ingredients, plus any utensils I need to transfer those ingredients to the pizza dough (spoons, tongs, whatever).
I managed to make grilled pizza sound like a bit of a cook's nightmare, didn't I? It really isn't, I promise. As long as you're more organized than I was that first time, you'll be just fine. And let me tell you, the smoky flavor and light texture of grilled dough is well worth the effort.
Every part of this pesto veggie pizza is made on the grill, which is a relief in the middle of the summer. The last thing I want to do on a scorching hot day is to heat up the kitchen by turning on the oven or cooktop. Brush the veggies with a little olive, season with salt and pepper, and give them a quick turn on the grill. If you're not a fan of eggplant or any of the other veggies I used, mix things up to suit your preferences.
Other grilled vegetarian recipes:
Grilled Pesto Vegetable Pizza Recipe
- 1 medium zucchini cut into ¼-inch strips
- 1 red bell pepper cored, seeded & cut into quarters
- ½ pound eggplant ½ small, cut into ¼ inch strips
- 1 red onion peeled & cut into wedges
- 1 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 recipe of my whole wheat pizza dough or 2 pounds store bought dough
- Flour for rolling dough
- 6 tablespoons pesto
- 3 onces fresh mozzarella cheese thinly sliced
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
- Place the zucchini and eggplant strips on a baking sheet, brush both sides with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground pepper.
- Place the onion wedges in a medium bowl, toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground pepper.
- Grill the vegetables until tender, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Sprinkle some flour on a flat surface, divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll into 6 rounds.
- Before the pizzas go on the grill, be sure to have all of your ingredients ready and sitting right beside the barbecue.
- Place the pizza dough rounds on the grill. Depending on the size of your grill, you may have to do this in two batches. Close the lid and grill for about 2 minutes, or until the dough is puffed and there are grill marks on the bottom of each round.
- Flip the rounds and press down slightly with the back of a metal spatula to get rid of some of the air inside the dough. Immediately spread 1 tablespoon pesto on each pizza and top with the vegetables and cheese.
- Close the lid and grill until the cheese melts, about 3 more minutes. Remove from the grill. Serve.