Scrappy Pesto, Zucchini & Burrata Pizza

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Scrappy (adjective): to prepare a dish consisting of scraps, i.e. food that typically gets wasted or thrown away. Used in a sentence: “Hey, that’s totally SCRAPPY!”

I am so inspired by the Sur La Table TV show Scraps, (airs 10:30pm EST every Sunday night on FYI), where national chef Joel travels the country conjuring up new, exciting recipes using things that normally get tossed! Think beet greens, shrimp shells, and bruised apples. I’ve mentioned the show before on the blog, but today I tried my hand at a second scrappy recipe! My inspiration? CSA, aka community supported agriculture.

My friend and I went in together on a CSA share in Oyster Bay. So far we’ve gotten a TON of radishes, tri-color salad and arugula. This past week’s share finally had some summer zucchini. I snagged a few extra and decided to highlight them in a dish this weekend. On top of that, our adorable farmer gave me premature carrots with tons of greens on top. I saved them in water in my refrigerator and told myself that I MUST put them to good use! I could hear Joel saying, “save your scraps!”

I’ve tried pesto with other things before, like radish greens, and the results were not nearly as delicious as what I’m about to share with you: carrot top pesto. Leaves only (no stems) and blended with a little olive oil, toasted walnuts, and parmesan cheese. Carrot leaves on their own taste a little bit like carrots. When made into a pesto like this, you get an earthy flavor reminiscent of basil pesto. I was so pleasantly surprised by the flavor. Keep your carrot leaves and you can pat yourself on the back knowing that you saved food from the trash! I prefer walnuts or almonds to pine nuts, but you can absolutely substitute them if you don’t have walnuts on hand. Spread this magic on everything from toasted crostini, fried eggs or pasta. It will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 days.

Watch full episodes of Scraps here!

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Pesto:

  • 1 cup loosely packed carrot tops (leaves only, no stems)
  • 6 tablespoons cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tablespoons walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated, plus more for sprinkling on top

Pizza:

  • olive oil for greasing
  • 1 ball fresh or frozen pizza dough
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1 ball burrata
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  1. If using frozen pizza dough, remove from freezer the night before using and defrost in the refrigerator. If using fresh dough or when ready to use, let rise at room temperature in a greased, covered bowl for at least 1 hour.
  2. Grease a dark baking sheet with olive oil. Stretch dough out on sheet pan as thin as possible. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  3. To make the pesto, add carrot leaves, olive oil, garlic clove, salt and walnuts to a food processor. Pulse until well combined, about 1 minute. Add in cheese and pulse for an additional 15 seconds.
  4. Spread pesto on to dough evenly. Add zucchini slices. Sprinkle extra parmesan on top and bake for 8 minutes.
  5. Break up the ball of burrata and dollop onto pizza. Bake for an additional 4 minutes until crust is brown and cheese is melted.
  6. Sprinkle with basil, a pinch of pepper and red pepper flakes. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting.

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Quinoa Sweet Potato Burgers

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

There’s a small, organic, all-natural food market near my house. Once you sift past the tall aisles filled with pricey protein powder and every vitamin known to mankind, you’ll find a humble food bar in the very back. They sell a range of prepared foods that are all remarkably healthy and tasty. Split pea soup, mushroom quesadillas, strawberry walnut & baby spinach salad, curried quinoa and chickpeas. I’ve tried it all. The next thing is better than the last. My go-to item on the menu is the black bean and sweet potato burger. I’m a carnivore by nature but there are days I just want to skip it. It’s one o’clock at the office and I’m craving something that satisfies, without the heavy regret that usually follows. This burger does the trick: meaty black beans and a sweet potato binder that fill you up in a really good way. You might even lose that three o’clock sugar craving.

In a similar way, this Bon Appetite recipe dubbed the “Stellar Quinoa Burger,” is a lunch game-changer! A chance to make killer meatless burgers at home? Done and done. Topped with a healthy dollop of guacamole atop a toasted english muffin, this burger is a serious rival to its beef counterpart. So much lighter and much less guilt than greasy beef. Rainbow quinoa, zucchini, mushroom and sweet potato come together in a truly colorful, wholesome way. I doubled the recipe and I’ll be enjoying happy desk lunches all week!

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Yield: 4 burgers

  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 portobello mushroom
  • ½ small zucchini
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (from about ½ uncooked)
  • ¾ cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 English muffins, split, toasted
  • Guacamole for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prick sweet potato all over with a fork; rub with 1 Tbsp. oil, then season with salt and pepper. Roast directly on oven rack until tender, 30–45 minutes. Let cool. Remove and discard skin; mash flesh with a fork. Set aside.

  2. Remove stem from mushroom; discard. Pulse cap in a food processor until finely chopped. Coarsely grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater; gather up in a kitchen towel and squeeze out excess liquid.

  3. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet over low. Cook shallot and red pepper flakes, stirring often, until shallot is soft, about 2 minutes. Add mushroom and zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to release their liquid but have not taken on any color, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl; mix in quinoa and season with salt and pepper. Let cool.

  4. Add breadcrumbs, lemon juice, and about ¼ cup reserved mashed sweet potato to quinoa mixture and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. If mixture is too loose, add more sweet potato to bind.

  5. Divide mixture into 4 portions and form into patties, pressing firmly together with your hands. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet over medium and cook 2 patties until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side; season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and 2 patties.

  6. Build burgers with patties, toasted English muffins, guacamole, tomato chutney, and sprouts. Do Ahead: Patties can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine (Cafe Pasqual’s, Santa Fe, NM)