Earth Day Recipe: Pizza with Brussels Sprouts and Parsley Pecan Pesto

April 22, 2013

Today is Earth Day and we're featuring some delicious low carbon footprint recipes from Bon Appétit Management Company, food services for a sustainable future®. This Earth-friendly pizza brings together (or eliminates) two ingredients that are impacted by climate change: wheat and cheese. Hotter summer temperatures are reducing wheat yields and rising carbon-dioxide levels are having an effect on wheat protein (the wheat that’s being grown is less nutritious). The good news is that wheat is a crop that can move north, and so areas previously not warm enough to grow it are likely to now do so. Cows milk used for cheese is a high-carbon product – cows produce methane, a greenhouse gas that is accelerating climate change – and the Midwest drought has driven up the price of grains needed to feed cows. A delicious parsley pesto is used to replace that umami flavor that cheese gives to pizza. 

Try this delicious and healthy pizza in celebration of Earth Day and the 6th annual Low Carbon Diet Day!

Pizza with Brussels Sprouts and Parsley Pecan Pesto
1 10-inch pizza
Dough for one 10-inch pizza (see recipe below)
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
6 large Brussels sprouts, shredded
3 cloves roasted garlic, cut in quarters
Parsley pecan pesto (see recipe below)
Olive oil
Preheat pizza stone on the lowest rack of oven to 500°F.
Roll the dough into a 10-inch circle, keeping the counter and dough dusted with flour. Lightly sprinkle the center of a pizza peel with cornmeal and center dough on peel. Lightly brush the edge of the circle of dough with olive oil. Spread a thin layer of pesto on the dough, leaving a 1-inch space around the edge. Distribute Brussels sprouts, onions, and garlic evenly on top. Slide onto the center of the hot stone.
Bake for about 8 minutes, until crust looks toasty and the edge begins to brown. Lightly drizzle the top with additional olive oil.

Parsley Pecan Pesto
2 cups Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup olive oil
Wash parsley leaves in cold water, drain, and dry. Add the leaves and pecans to a mini chopper, food processor, or blender and process on low speed until finely chopped. Add the oil slowly to form a smooth, spreadable paste. Salt to taste.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Dough for two 10-inch pizzas
1 cup warm water (105 - 115°F)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 package active dry yeast (1/4 ounce or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for kneading and dredging
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
Measure warm water with a warmed measuring cup. (Warming the measuring cup helps to maintain the temperature of the water.) Whisk together the water, sugar, and yeast. Let stand in a warm spot until mixture develops a creamy foam, about 10 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
Stir together 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, and salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir until smooth. Then stir in another 1/2 cup all- purpose flour. If dough sticks to your fingers, stir in just enough flour to make dough come away from side of bowl. (This dough may be wetter than other pizza doughs you have made.)
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface with floured hands, lightly reflouring the dough and your hands when dough becomes too sticky, until dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 10 minutes. Divide dough in half and form into two balls. Generously dust with flour and put each ball in a medium bowl. Cover bowls with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/4 hours. is a great resource for learning how to reduce your carbon footprint, with diet tips, carbon food scores and a quiz on planet-friendly foods.

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