This vegetarian pizza recipe pairs beautiful grilled zucchini and eggplant with creamy cheese on a homemade crust. A grilled vegetable pizza bianca is perfect Italian treat!
These pizzas work great as a starter. Try pairing with a Roasted Mushroom Risotto.
After a couple of attempts and experimenting with all the ingredients, I really believe this pizza bianca is a winning dish. The pizza combines the smooth and silky cheese with the smokiness of grilled vegetables. I love to eat a small pizza with salad for lunch or giving to guests as a starter!
This recipe uses homemade pizza dough because nothing else is as flavourful and chewy. If you don’t want to mess around with making your own you can always purchase it ready-made, or even use flatbread such as naan!
What is pizza bianca?
Pizza bianca is Italian for “white pizza”. It is a pizza made without tomato sauce while using olive oil and cheese such as mozzarella or ricotta.
The important thing to remember with pizza bianca is that much of the flavour comes from the cheese. Choose the best cheese you can to make this pizza extra delicious!
I find that pizza bianca is perfect for vegetarian pizza. Grilled vegetable pizza bianca uses eggplant and zucchini, which pair perfectly with creamy cheese!
How to make pizza dough
It is easy to find good pizza toppings, but it is the crust that really sets good pizza apart. I am a huge fan of Italian pizza crust. It is incredibly thin in the middle but beautifully puffed up around the edges.
The challenge is to reproduce it at home, especially if you are not lucky enough to have a wood-fired pizza oven! Fortunately, we can come pretty close just using our home ovens.
To make the dough, mix the sugar, yeast, olive oil and lukewarm water in a bowl and leave it for five minutes. This gives the yeast time to go to work.
Next sift the flour and salt together and add it to a food processor or stand mixer with the wet ingredients. Start mixing until the dough comes together. This can be done by hand but machines make this so much easier!
Let the dough rise in a large bowl covered by a tea towel in a warm place for two hours. Once it has doubled in size, place the dough on a flour-dusted surface and knead it for about five minutes. Finally, divide it into eight equal sized balls.
Tips for making pizza crusts
- You will get best results by cooking at a high temperature, so preheat your oven as high as it will go. Mine goes up to 450F/220C.
- Make sure the temperature goes back up between pizzas. Because this recipe makes small pizzas, you will be opening the oven door a few times. Since some of the heat will escape, let the temperature recover before putting in the next batch.
- Use a pizza stone if you have one and preheat it as well.
- Go for a personal size pizza instead of making it extra large. So much easier to work with!
- Instead of rolling out your dough, stretch it out by hand. A perfect circle is not important as long as the crust is thin!
If you really want to avoid making your own dough there are some really good shortcuts. Try this Puff Pastry Margarita Pizza!
How to make grilled vegetable pizza bianca
While the dough is rising, slice the eggplant and zucchini into 1/4 inch pieces, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and grill them on a dry griddle for 5 minutes on each side. The eggplant might not be done all the way through but they can be finished off in a microwave for 1 minute.
Once the vegetables are done, it’s time to prepare the white topping. Mix together grated hard cheese, ricotta and milk in a small bowl. Time to add the toppings to the pizzas!
Now that your dough is ready, stretch it out until it is thin in the middle but slightly thicker around the edges. Place it on parchment paper that’s been oiled or sprinkled with semolina or corn flour.
Spread 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture on each pizzetta and top with a few zucchini and eggplant slices, plus one or two basil leaves and a small amount of mozzarella.
Place it in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook it or the crust will become too crunchy instead of chewy and soft. Add a few arugula leaves and shaved hard cheese and you are ready to eat!
- 500g/3 cups flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 packet/7 g active dry yeast
- ½ tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 325ml/1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
- 1 zucchini medium
- 1 eggplant small
- 150g/5 1/2oz vegetarian hard cheese, grated
- 250g/9oz ricotta
- 80ml/ 1/3 cups milk
- 125g/4 1/2oz fresh mozzarella
- 8-10 fresh basil leaves
- Handful of rocket
- 2 tbsp shaved vegetarian hard cheese
For the pizza dough
- In a bowl mix sugar, yeast, olive oil and lukewarm water and let the yeast work its magic for about 5 minutes.
- Sift flour and salt together and empty the mixture in the food processor or a stand mixer, add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and pulse it until the dough comes together. Remove the dough from the food processor into a large bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it rise somewhere warm for 2 hours. (You can easily make it by hand if you don’t own the machines but they make this task a snap.)
- Once the dough is doubled in size remove the bowl on a flour-dusted surface and knead it a bit. Divide the dough into 8 equal sized balls.
For the topping
- Slice zucchini and eggplant into ¼ inch pieces, then salt them and grill them on a dry, hot griddle for 5 minutes on each side. If the eggplant slices are still not fully cooked finish them off in a microwave set on high for 1 minute. Set aside.
- Mix grated hard cheese, ricotta and milk in a small bowl.
- Preheat your oven to 500F/300C or as high as it could go. If using pizza stone make sure it is preheating in the oven as well.
- Stretch out your pizza dough until it is quite thin in the middle and slightly thicker around the edges and place it on a parchment paper that's been oiled or sprinkled with semolina or corn flour. Spread 1 tbsp of hard cheese cheese mixture on each pizza, top with a few grilled zucchini and eggplant slices, 1-2 small basil leaves, dab with small mozzarella pieces.
- Transfer the pizza on parchment paper on to the pizza stone. You can fit 2 -3 small pizzas on your pizza stone. Bake in it the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Don't wait longer than that or pizza will turn crunchy instead of soft and pliable. Repeat with the remaining pizzas.
- Arrange a few rocket leaves and shaved hard cheese on cooked pizzas.
If you do not want to make your own pizza dough, you can always purchase it ready-made or use puff pastry.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 339Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 802mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 14g