Zucchini Crust “Pizza” Dish with Homemade Pizza Sauce

From: Nancy L. Spoolman

4 cups of shredded zucchini (no need to peel the zucchini) (about 6-7 medium zucchini)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp Basil

1/2 tsp Oregano

1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning

2 eggs, slightly beaten

3 cups shredded Italian cheese – (1 c for crust)

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (1/2 c for crust)

1 pound bulk Italian sausage (or, you can use hamburger)

1 cup fresh mushrooms (or 3/4 jar mushrooms)

1/2 red bell pepper (chopped)

Anything else you might like for toppings (Jalapeño, Black Olives, etc.)

I actually doubled the recipe above to make two of these, as I had enough sauce for two more, but I still used the 1 pound Italian sausage for both. Cheeses you can substitute for your preference. (4 large Zucchini’s will make enough for two of these.)

Pizza sauce (my recipe is on second page). Prepare this before baking the zucchini “crust”. It is enough for two of these! (Depends on how much sauce you like on pizza.)

Preheat oven to 400º F. Shred the zucchini using your Saladmaster or food processor. Put in a colander and let it drain. Squeeze as much water out as you can after 20 minutes or so. (You will use more zucchini if it’s frozen. I used exactly double for one recipe once I had squeezed out the water!) Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp salt on the zucchini, mix, and let sit another 10 minutes. Squeeze out as much water as you can.

***Update: If you have a lettuce spinner, use that to “squeeze” and drain the zucchini!!

In a large bowl mix zucchini, eggs, oregano, basil, Italian seasoning, 1 cup Italian cheese, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Grease a 9 x 13 glass pan and press the zucchini mixture into the pan. (I use olive oil.) Bake, uncovered in the oven for 25-27 minutes. It should be slightly brown. When done baking, you can slip a spatula around the edges to loosen it up a bit, if you want. (Only the edges.)

As the zucchini bottom layer is baking, brown the sausage until well done. Drain well.

When done baking, spread enough homemade pizza sauce to cover the zucchini crust. Add crumbled sausage, chopped bell pepper, mushrooms and whatever else you might desire. Mix the Italian cheese and Parmesan cheese together in a separate bowl. (I also had to add a bit more mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheese as I didn’t have enough Italian and Parmesan cheese for two of these dishes.) Spread remaining cheeses on top of the sausage and peppers. Put back in oven and bake for another 20 – 25 minutes or until heated through and top is browned. Let it sit for 5 minutes or so before cutting in pieces.

You can freeze them, too. (At least I’m going to!)

Serves 6-8.

Nanc’s Homemade Pizza Sauce

1 glad container of your summer’s frozen tomatoes, or 1 – 15 oz. canned tomatoes. (About 2 1/2 – 3 cups.) Or you could use about 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes cut up; about 7 tomatoes. (I cut tomatoes in half, lay sliced side down in 13 x 9 glass pan. Brush olive oil over top of tomatoes. Preheat oven to 420º and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool for 20 – 30 minutes. Then pull pieces of tomato skin off.) Here is where I will dump the tomatoes into a blender and blend with all seasonings.

3 garlic cloves (chopped)

1/2 onion (finely chopped)

Olive oil (enough to brown onion and garlic)

1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

1 teaspoon Oregano flakes

1 teaspoon Basil

1 teaspoon fennel seed

Sprinkle of pepper flakes (depending on taste **Optional)

1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt (your preference)

1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon sugar

In a sauce pan, over low heat, preheat olive oil. Add garlic and onions and brown for 5 minutes, stirring every few minutes so garlic does not burn. (Onion should be slightly soft.)

Turn heat to medium. Add tomatoes and seasonings, stirring well. Leave on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it boils. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. (Stir frequently.)

Once sauce is cooled down a bit, put in blender and blend until sauce is the consistency of pizza sauce. (You can do this before heating, too, if you have baked your fresh tomatoes.)

This may be made ahead of time and it is enough for 3 of these dishes. You can freeze the rest.

Nancy L. Spoolman