Pizza with Tofu Ricotta, Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onions and Fried Sage Leaves
Once I figured out how to properly cook with tofu a few years ago, I became hooked. Tofu’s appeal is all in the preparation, and now I love pan-fryingit, baking or grillingit, mashing it into a salad or scramble, baking it into dessert, or blending it into a smoothie. I love how versatile tofu is, and typically keep a block of it in the fridge at all times so I always have a source of vegetarian protein on hand to incorporate into a meal.
It seems like all we’ve been eating at our house is pizza lately, but one thing I’ve noticed is that our pies really aren’t high in protein. Sure you’re getting some protein from the whole wheat dough and the soy cheese, but nothing significant. That’s what got me thinking about using tofu as a cheese replacement on a homemade pie. One of my favorite fall ingredient combos is butternut squash, caramelized onions and sage, so I used them as a topping for this hearty, satisfying pizza.
1 pound fresh, store-bought, prepared whole wheat pizza dough
1 pound package pre-peeled and cut butternut squash
4 Tbsp olive oil
10-15 fresh sage leaves
1 large sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 pound extra firm tofu
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ cup nutritional yeast
½ – 1 tsp salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring the pizza dough to room temperature on the counter for 20 minutes. If necessary, cut butternut squash pieces to be relatively uniform in size, then coat with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Cook squash in the oven for 25 minutes until it becomes soft. It may be slightly undercooked at this point, but will continue to cook on top of the pizza.
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add the onion slices and stir to coat in olive oil. Sautee onion slices for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the onions have browned, caramelized and softened. Remove onions from the skillet.
Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and bring to medium heat. Place sage leaves in the olive oil for 30-60 seconds until they begin to crisp. Remove from heat and place on a paper towel.
To prepare the tofu ricotta, drain and squeeze remaining moisture out of the block of tofu. I use my TofuXpress but you can also use this plate method. In a large bowl, fork mash the tofu until it is crumbly. Mix in the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt and garlic powder until well combined. Set aside.
Increase the oven temperature to 450F. Dust a pizza baking sheet or stone with flour and stretch the dough out into a large circle. Brush with remaining olive oil. Top the dough with tofu ricotta, covering the entire pizza until about 1” from the edges. Evenly place the cut butternut squash over the ricotta. I used about ¾ of the butternut squash, and saved the rest for another meal. Top the squash with caramelized onions and fried sage leaves. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the crust begins to brown. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Funk and I loved it. The savory “cheese” was balanced well with the sweet squash and onions. The fried crispy sage added an earthy flavor. We didn’t miss the cheese at all since the tofu ricotta really had the taste and texture of ricotta cheese! This tofu ricotta cheese condiment can be used for a variety of foods besides pizza, like to stuff pasta shells or use between layers of lasagna. We had to stop ourselves after devouring half of the pie just so we’d have leftovers for dinner the next night. I absolutely plan on using tofu ricotta on homemade pizza again!
Disclaimer: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Soyfoods Council and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.