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Ratatouille Pizza
Ratatouille Pizza

Traditionally, the popular Provençal dish known as ratatouille appears before dinner as an appetizer or as a side dish for a market-driven meal. At Mohawk Bend in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, however, it has become the latest topping of choice for chef Mike Garber’s vegan pizza pies. Instead of relying on substitutions like faux meats and cheeses to replace traditional pizza ingredients, the chef gives the dough a spin on the grill and tops it with chewy vegetables and a peppery arugula salad. The result is a complex, lightly charred pizza that manages to be entirely meatless but feels meaty just the same.

Makes one 10-inch pizza
Start to Finish: 50 minutes

Ingredients

Ratatouille Pizza

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the dough

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 small Italian eggplant, trimmed and cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices

1 baby yellow squash, trimmed and quartered lengthwise

1 medium zucchini, trimmed and quartered lengthwise

3 teaspoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves, divided

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

½ teaspoon thyme leaves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon mint leaves, finely chopped

1½ teaspoons sherry vinegar

1 pound prepared whole-wheat dough

½ cup tomato sauce (preferably homemade)

 

Fennel-Arugula Salad

2 large handfuls arugula (about 2 cups)

½ fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly shaved

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Make the pizza: Preheat the oven to 400˚. In a medium bowl, toss the cherry tomatoes with 1½ teaspoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the tomatoes to a rimmed baking sheet and roast until cooked through and slightly charred, about 10 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

2. Meanwhile, prepare a fire for direct cooking in your grill. In a large bowl, combine the eggplant with the yellow squash, zucchini and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix in 1 teaspoon of the basil, the garlic and the thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Working in batches if necessary, grill the eggplant, squash and zucchini until grill marks appear and the vegetables begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the vegetables to a cutting board to cool slightly, then chop into bite-size pieces. In a large bowl, combine the vegetables with the reserved tomatoes, remaining 2 teaspoons basil, the mint and sherry. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.

4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to form a 10-inch disk. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush both sides of the dough with olive oil. Transfer the dough to the grill, and grill until the dough is crisp and lightly charred on the bottom, about 2 minutes.

5. Flip the dough and carefully spread the tomato sauce on the top. Top with the reserved vegetable mixture, cover and cook until the vegetables are slightly warm, about 2 minutes. Remove the pizza from the grill.

6. Make the salad: In a medium bowl, toss the arugula with the fennel, olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Top the pizza with the arugula salad and serve immediately.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • Stop by Mohawk Bend next time you’re in L.A.

  • If you aren’t vegan and love cheese on your pizza, add a shower of Parmesan to the toppings.

  • Make this dish as two personal-size or appetizer-size pizzas by dividing the dough into two balls and splitting the toppings accordingly. You can also go the traditional route and cook the vegetables in a skillet and the pizza in the oven if you don’t have access to a grill.

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