Zucchini, Ricotta and Lemon Pizza for the Last Days of Summer
My recipe for a simple summer evening: Invite friends over, uncork a bottle of rosé and make a few of these zucchini ricotta pizzas. With just a handful of ingredients, these end-of-summer pizzas are an elevated version of the typical tomato-and-cheese variety.
For ease, I opted for store-bought pizza dough, found in most deli departments. I’m thankful that I can find fresh dough at my local pizzeria down the block, but if you’re not so lucky, any prepared crust will do. Or make a batch of your own. If I know that pizza is going to be a regular on our menu, I’ll make a triple batch of dough and freeze the individual portions.
Lemon on a pizza might sound strange, but it pairs perfectly with thin strips of zucchini and creamy ricotta. The tart citrus juice cuts through the rich cheese and provides just a hint of bright flavor with every bite. I’m a sucker for chives and lemon together, so I use them both in the ricotta mixture and as a garnish. Though, this is a summer pizza, so any herb will do. If your garden is overflowing with basil or parsley, feel free to use either one instead.
Zucchini, Ricotta and Lemon Pizza
1 zucchini, peeled to make thin zucchini “ribbons” (about 3/4 cup ribbons)
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 large lemon, zest and 2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup thinly sliced tomatoes
1 ball pizza dough (or one 12-inch prepared dough)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped chives, plus more for garnish
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F with a rack in the center. Lightly coat a pizza pan or stone with nonstick cooking spray and place on the rack. (If you don’t have a pizza peel or way to transfer the pizza, skip placing the pan in the oven to preheat and prepare the pizza right on the pan.)
Cut off the ends of the zucchini and use a vegetable peeler to peel the zucchini into very thin vertical ribbons. Toss the zucchini ribbons with 1/8 teaspoon salt and place in a colander over the sink. Let drain for 15 minutes to remove excess water. Pat the zucchini dry with a paper towel or kitchen towel. Toss with 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon olive oil and half of the zest, and set aside.
Wrap the tomato slices in a paper towel and gently press down, removing excess water. Set aside.
Stretch pizza dough into a round large enough to fit on the pizza pan (or directly onto the pan, if not using a pizza peel). Whisk together the ricotta, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, half of the zest, and the remaining salt, pepper and chives.
Spread the ricotta over the prepared dough, leaving a small border for the crust. Evenly scatter the tomato slices and zucchini ribbons over the ricotta cheese. Lightly drizzle with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and additional chives.
Transfer pizza to the oven and cook until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly, 12 to 15 minutes.
Per serving (2 slices): Calories 367; Fat 8.4 g (Saturated 3 g); Cholesterol 15 mg; Sodium 546 mg; Carbohydrate 55.4 g; Fiber 2.7 g; Sugars 1.6 g; Protein 14.6 g.
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Alex Caspero MA, RD, RYT is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Yoga Teacher. She is the founder of Delish Knowledge, a resource for healthy, whole-food vegetarian recipes. In her private coaching practice, she helps individuals find their “Happy Weight.”