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This butternut squash pizza recipe will make you forget about tomatoes

Think of veggie pizzas, and pies covered in layers of green bell peppers, olives, chopped onions, and mushrooms are likely the first to come to mind. And while that classic combo is surely delicious, there are far more possibilities worth trying.

One flavourful example: This butternut squash pizza, which nixes the tomato and instead uses the gourd as an ultra-creamy sauce. The pie showcases fall vegetables, such as Tuscan kale and, of course, butternut squash, both of which pack a punch of good-for-you nutrients. The leafy green offers three grams of fibre — which supports healthy digestion — and four grams of muscle-building protein per two and a half cups, while the gourd provides nearly three grams of fibre in a cup.

Though the gourd itself can be on the sweeter side, this butternut squash pizza is the perfect balance of sweet and savoury, thanks to the addition of buttery Castelvetrano olives, earthy grated pecorino, and zesty chilli oil. That flavour blend — combined with the crispy crust and velvety sauce — is so tasty, don’t be surprised if you want to go back for a second (or third) slice.

Butternut squash
Image: Courtesy Nick Collins/Unsplash

Kale and Butternut Squash Pizza

Start to Finish: 1 hour
Serves: 4 to 6


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 round of pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoon safflower oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium butternut or acorn squash (about 680 gm), peeled, halved, seeded, and very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella
  • 8 Castelvetrano olives, pitted and halved
  • 2 cups thinly chopped Tuscan kale, from 1 bunch
  • 1 tablespoon grated pecorino, plus more for serving
  • Calabrian chilli oil, for drizzling


Butternut squash
Image: Courtesy Greg DuPree
  1. Preheat the oven to 260°C with the rack in the middle of the oven. Butter an 8-by-10-inch Detroit-style pizza pan, a brownie pan, a cast-iron skillet, or a casserole dish. Press the dough out to the edges of the pan. Cover, and let rest while you make the sauce.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat, and add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions are softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the squash and cinnamon, and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the squash starts to soften, about 5 minutes more.
  3. Add 1 cup water to the pot, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until the squash is creamy tender and the water is almost reduced, about 7 minutes more.
  4. Scrape the squash and any liquid into a blender or food processor, and add the yoghurt. Pulse until smooth, about 1 minute. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
  5. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the pizza, going all the way up to the edges of the pan. Be generous with the cheese where the dough meets the pan. During the cooking process, the dough and cheese will caramelise against the high heat of the pan, creating the best part of Detroit-style pizza: the frico crust.
  6. Spoon 1/2 cup squash puree over the centre of the pizza, leaving a 1/2-inch diameter at the top of the crust uncovered. Sprinkle the olives over the puree. Then cover the pizza with the kale, and sprinkle with the pecorino.
  7. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until the edges are sizzling and golden brown and the kale is crisp. Run a butter knife around the edge of the pan to release the cheesy frico crust from the pan. Slice, and serve drizzled with chilli oil and more pecorino.

Note: There will be leftover sauce for five more pizzas. Store it in the fridge for five days or in the freezer for up to three months.

This story first appeared on

(Main and Feature Image Credit: Credit: Greg DuPree)

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Laura Rege and Megan Falk

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