Truth #1: I like pizza. A lot.
Truth #2: I love roasted veggies.
It’s a lovely combination, really. And it’s super easy. It can feed a good number of people in your family, too! I simply rolled out some store-bought whole-wheat pizza dough (it’s gotta be fresh dough though!), and covered it generously with a garlic-olive oil rub, sliced eggplant, roasted bell peppers, chicken sausage, and fresh thyme.
I didn’t want my pizza to be overwhelmed with tomato sauce or cheese, and opted for fresh flavors that truly stayed honest with themselves. No tampering necessary. I usually like simpler preparations of pizza that focus on fresh veggies and aren’t bogged down with meat, if you know what I mean. Plus, you’re eating less saturated fat this way by letting the star be the roasted veggies and fresh garden flavors, not layers and layers of pepperoni, which I find too salty and greasy anyways.
I highly encourage you to make this at home – I mean, what can go wrong with this flavor combination? Not much in my book!
Chicken, Sausage, Eggplant, and Roasted Bell Pepper Pizza
2 16-oz refrigerated whole-wheat pizza dough packages
1 medium eggplant, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced into 1/4″ slices
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
2 links chicken sausage, any flavor (mine had sun-dried tomatoes in it)
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp salt
1 cup shredded cheese (I used a combo of Parmesan, Asiago, Fontina, and Mild Provolone)
need: 2 baking pans
1. Turn on the broiler. Place the whole bell peppers in the broiler oven, turning every few minutes until all sides are burnt and black. Place in a medium bowl with a dishtowel over it; wait until cooled and peel the burnt skin off the bell peppers. Discard the stem, seeds, and ribs inside the bell peppers; slice them into 1/2″ slices and place into a small bowl; set aside. Turn off the broiler and set the oven temperature to 450°F.
2. Place two layers of paper towels on a large baking sheet and add the eggplant slices in a single layer. Sprinkle 1 tsp salt evenly over the eggplant and set aside for 20 minutes. When the eggplant looks like it has a lot of “tear drops” (as I call it), place another two layers of paper towels over it, soaking up the excess liquid. Set aside.
3. In a small saute pan over low heat, add the minced garlic and 2 Tbsp olive oil, and cook over low heat for about 5-7 minutes. You’re making a garlic oil here; no need to brown the garlic. Just let the flavors marry.
4. Break up the chicken sausage into small bite-sized pieces. Place over another saucepan over medium-high heat for a few minutes until lightly browned; set aside.
5. Brush 1 Tbsp olive oil each over two baking pans. Roll out the pizza dough as directed on the package and place one round (or whatever shape you decide to make – rectangle, as I did) onto each baking pan.
6. To assemble: Brush the garlic oil mixture evenly on top of each pizza, making sure you massage that garlic in to the dough! It’s yummy! Then, place the eggplant rounds over the dough. Scatter the bell pepper strips evenly over that, then add the chicken sausage. Sprinkle with cheese, then top it off (finally) with the fresh thyme. Bake in the oven for about 17-20 minutes, rotating the pizzas between the top and middle rack halfway through cooking, until the dough is crisp on the outside and the cheese is bubbling. Serve!