Asparagus Potato Pizza with Kale Pesto

Asparagus Pizza
This past weekend was pretty much a washout here in the Washington area. It rained in the morning, it rained in the afternoon, it rained in the evening and it rained all night. It rained on Saturday and it rained on Sunday. In fact, it even snowed for a couple of hours. Imagine.

Opie, who will not give up his walks for hail or high water, put his best face on the weather. On Sunday morning he went to his favorite trail, got soaked in the rain, sniffed around three other intrepid (and equally soaked dogs) who were also braving the weather, sat around on the slush-covered grass, and came home smelling like… wet dog. It took Desi the best part of an hour and multiple towels to dry him out.

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Asparagus PizzaWith Opie’s walk out of the way and not much else to do, it was time to get cooking. Something warm and comforting, like sunshine for the belly. And what’s sunnier than a slice of crispy, crusty pizza?

I have been dreaming of an asparagus pizza for months now, and I’d been dreaming of a potato pizza for even longer. Why not combine the two, I thought. I love the idea of potatoes on pizza — in fact, there isn’t a better substitute for cheese, in my mind. Potatoes are just as satisfying as cheese, most people love them, and icing on the cake, they are far healthier with no cholesterol or fat to worry about. Yes, they do have carbs but you are not eating so much potato here that you have to worry about that. In fact, there are just about four super-thin potato slices in each slice of pizza.

Besides, you have all that great healthfulness from the kale pesto that also goes on this pizza, making it super delicious and super good for you. In fact, this kale pesto is perfect not just for this pizza but for pastas as well. Try it and you’ll never stop making it.

Gotta run now, but here’s the recipe. Enjoy, all!

Asparagus Pizza

Asparagus Potato Pizza with Kale Pesto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 8
  • For the pizza dough:
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 package (2¼ tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or sugar
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • For the kale pesto:
  • 1 packed cup baby kale
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • For the toppings:
  • 20 asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
  • 4 red bliss or yukon gold potatoes, sliced very thin (1/8th of an inch). Place the sliced potatoes in a bowl of cold water and let them stand 30 minutes.
  1. Make the pizza dough:
  2. Combine the yeast, warm water and sugar or maple syrup in a bowl and set aside to activate the yeast.
  3. After five minutes, add the whole wheat flour and a cup of the bread flour along with salt.
  4. Knead by hand or on low speed in a stand mixer until the dough comes together. If needed, add more flour a few tablespoons at a time. You want a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Continue to knead for another five minutes.
  5. Shape the dough into a smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat the top. Cover loosely with a plastic bag or kitchen towel and set aside to rise and double, about 2 hours.
  6. Make the kale pesto:
  7. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until they have broken down into a fairly smooth paste. Set aside.
  8. Prep the veggies:
  9. Heat a large pot of water and add some salt to it, like you would for cooking pasta. Blanch the asparagus and the sliced potatoes by adding them to the pot of boiling water. Let them be for three minutes, then turn off heat, strain the vegetables and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  10. Assemble and bake the pizza:
  11. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it slightly to deflate, then let it rest for 10 minutes, covered.
  13. Roll out the pizza dough as evenly as possible to a diameter of about 15 inches. If the dough is too resistant, let it rest for a few more minutes, then roll.
  14. Transfer the pizza dough to a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal or, if you have one, a pizza peel also sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape and stretch again with your fingers if the dough shrinks. Using your fingertips, make dimples in the surface of the pizza. This will keep the pizza from forming air pockets when it bakes.
  15. Slather the pesto on the pizza, then top with the blanched slices of potato and asparagus spears. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top, if desired and sprinkle some salt and pepper.
  16. Place the pizza directly on top of a pizza stone in the preheated oven or leave it in the baking sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is all crispy and golden.
  17. Remove carefully, slice, and serve hot.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 320 Fat: 5 grams Sugar: 4.2 grams Fiber: 6.5 grams Protein: 10.8 grams

 Asparagus Potato Pizza***

More pizza recipes at Holy Cow!

Basil Pizza

 Caramelized Onion Tart with Olives

Pizza topped with Tandoori Tofu

Caramelized Onion Tart With Olives

Holy Cow! is four — a grand old lady in Internet years– and to celebrate I have for you a savory, elegant treat: this golden Caramelized Onion Tart.

But first I want to say a big thank you to all of you– my wonderful, intelligent, passionate readers — who have stuck with Holy Cow! through the good food times and also through the slumps, pet illnesses, and cook’s block (there is such a thing, trust me.)

It has been a fun and educating journey– I’ve learned from you, shared with you, and told you stuff as if you were my closest friends.
You have tried my recipes, written to tell me when you loved them (or not), or you have just written to tell me that you love the blog. You have helped us keep going.
So thank you for becoming part of Holy Cow! and my world. You make it happen!

This Caramelized Onion Tart is just the kind of light, good-for-you food to treat yourself and your family to after all those Thanksgiving excesses. It’s a tarted-up pizza, so kids should love it too.

I make the crust part-whole-wheat and it is golden with crispy edges and a slightly more bready and delicious middle. If you want a super-crispy crust, go with an all-purpose-flour-only crust. You can also use storebought pizza dough.

There is some labor involved in this dish– you need to caramelize the onions to the point where they are golden and really, really sweet– almost like jam. It took me about 40 minutes, but they were totally worth it. And once the caramelizing is done, all you need is to assemble some stuff.

Here’s the recipe. Enjoy, all!

Caramelized Onion Tart with Olives

(Adapted from this recipe at Everyday Food)


1 portion pizza dough (half of this recipe)

1 tbsp olive oil

3 medium-sized sweet yellow onions, sliced fairly thin

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1/2 cup pitted olives, like Kalamata

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, then dunked into 1 tbsp olive oil (this keeps them from burning)

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet.

Add the onions and saute for about five minutes on medium-high heat. Add the salt and continue to saute until the onions begin to turn golden-brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Add the sugar, turn the heat down to medium, and continue to saute until the onions are deeply golden and very sweet. This should take about 20 more minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Roll out the pizza dough, about 11 inches long and 8 inches wide. Sprinkle cornmeal on a cookie sheet and place the dough on it.

Spread the caramelized onions in a thin layer on top of the pizza dough, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides.

Sprinkle the garlic on top, and use the remaining oil to brush the edges of the tart.

Sprinkle on some salt and pepper to taste.

Bake in a preheated 500-degree oven for 11-12 minutes or until the sides are golden and the tart comes easily off the cookie sheet with a spatula.

Cut and serve hot.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Vegan Kheema-Stuffed Naan-Calzones

I think people who don’t like pizzas are a little weird. No, a lot weird. Especially when they are married to me.

Yes, Desi– my Desi– is not a lover of the almighty pizza pie. Sure, he will eat it quietly when we order in a pizza, or when I make one at home, but I can honestly tell that his tummy is longing for something else. Most likely something that involves rice or pooris.

I, on the other hand, couldn’t love a pizza more. It is right up there among the foods I might order for my last meal. In fact, after going vegan I missed ordering pizza so much that I almost dropped to my knees and said a tiny prayer to the Italian gods when a Z Pizza opened in my neighborhood with multiple vegan choices.


As someone who loves pizzas quite so much, then, I am always trying to find ways to make versions that are not just vegan but also Desi-friendly. Today’s recipe is a perfect example of a pizza variation that we both can love because it appeals not just to my vegan tastebuds and Desi’s not-so-vegan ones, but also to our shared love of Indian food.

A calzone is basically a stuffed pizza, or a pizza turnover, or what have you. You stretch the pizza dough, stuff it with a filling, seal it, and bake it all up in the oven. What you get is not just delicious food but food that’s more fun and portable, say, than a slice of pizza.

The twist to my calzone, as you may have gathered from the title, is that it’s not made with pizza dough but with naan dough. Naan is something most of you have had at some time or the other at the Indian restaurant and it is a puffy flatbread that’s baked in a clay oven, or a tandoor. It tastes especially ethereal when used to scoop up spicy curries.

A basic naan dough is not unlike a pizza dough, except that it bakes up a little more tender and flakier and puffier. Perfect because one of Desi’s peeves is that pizza crusts are too thick and too chewy. To stuff into my naan-calzone, I made a spicy “kheema” filling. Kheema, in Hindi, means mince (usually mutton mince). Since Holy Cow! is an animal-free zone (food-wise), and very happily so, I made my mince with textured vegetable protein, or TVP. This is such a rich, spicy dish that there is no way you will miss the meat in here– in fact, even a meat-eater might actually think there is meat in this dish because of the great texture of the TVP.

Opie, my dog

I am feeling a little better now, and I want to say thanks to those of you who wrote in to wish me well. Opie, who also incidentally had surgery for a broken cruciate ligament last week, is recuperating, although keeping him from trying to run around is a HUGE struggle. He has been particularly unhappy about the large cone around his head that keeps him from licking the sutures. He has also been getting increasingly good at getting it off– last night I caught him in the act as he was trying to prise it off his head by pushing it against the couch. Those dogs.

Now here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Stuffed Naan


Vegan Kheema-Stuffed Naan-Calzones
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indo-Italian Fusion
Serves: 6
  • For the naan-calzone dough:
  • Mix in one bowl:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dry thyme and/or sage
  • Mix in another bowl:
  • ¾ cup soymilk or other nondairy milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive or other vegetable oil
  • For the kheema filling:
  • 1 cup textured vegetable protein or soy granules. Place the granules in a container, pour boiling water to cover them, and set aside for half an hour. Drain before using.
  • 1 large onion, finely minced
  • 1 green pepper, finely minced
  • 1 medium potato, finely minced
  • 5 cremini or button mushrooms, finely minced
  • 1 medium tomato, finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • ½ tsp dry thyme
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds + 1 tsp cumin seeds + 1 tsp black mustard seeds, all powdered
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 chipotle pepper, finely chopped (use 1 tsp paprika if you don’t have the stomach for this)
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup chopped coriander leaves
  1. To make the dough, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Knead the dough by hand or on low speed if using a stand mixer for 10 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of water if the dough is too dry. At the end of the kneading you should have a really smooth, supple dough.
  2. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn around once to coat the top with oil, and allow the dough to rest about 1½ hours or until doubled.
  3. Meanwhile, make the kheema filling. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onions and saute for a minute. Add the mushrooms and potatoes and stir to coat with oil.
  4. Add the white wine, salt, and some ground black pepper, and allow the vegetables to cook, stirring frequently, until the wine has evaporated and the vegetables begin to turn lightly golden.
  5. Add the garlic and ginger and dry thyme and saute for a minute.
  6. Add the tomato and the chipotle or paprika. Stir well to mix.
  7. Add the powdered coriander, cumin and mustard and mix in.
  8. Add the TVP after draining out all the water. Be sure to squeeze the TVP with your fingers to get out any excess water.
  9. Stir in the TVP and cook for a couple more minutes. The vegetables should be really tender by now. If they aren’t, cook a little longer, stirring, until they are.
  10. Add the coconut milk and more salt and pepper, if needed.
  11. Allow the mixture to cook until all the water has evaporated. The kheema should be thick with no visible liquid but it will not be dry.
  12. Mix in the coriander leaves and take off the fire. Set aside to cool.
  13. To make the naan-calzone shell, after the dough has risen for 1½ hours, divide it into six pieces. Shape them into smooth balls, cover with a damp kitchen towel, and set aside for 10 minutes so the dough relaxes, making it easier to roll.
  14. Roll each ball into an oval, about six inches wide and seven inches in length. Place ⅙th of the kheema mixture on one side, leaving a 1-inch edge from the ends to form the seal.
  15. Brush water on the edges of the calzone and pull the empty half of the calzone over the filled half. Press down the edges to seal, then crimp the edges up. Press down on the edges with the tines of a fork. You want to ensure a tight seal so the stuffing doesn’t spill out during baking.
  16. Place all the calzones on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Brush the tops lightly with some oil and sprinkle sesame seeds or poppy seeds on them, if desired.
  17. Bake the calzones in a preheated 475-degree oven for 8-10 minutes until golden-brown spots appear on the top.
  18. Serve hot with some marinara sauce or my Summer’s End Pesto (recipe coming up next).
(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Baghare Baingan Naan-Pizza. And A Winner

It’s time to announce the winner of last week’s giveaway. But first, let me tell you about my Baghare Baingan Naan-Pizza.

Yes, that’s what it is. And if that sounds odd, trust me, odd can be beautiful. And delicious.

The Baghare Baingan Naan-Pizza was inspired by Lavi’s unique event calling for pizzas topped with Indian flavors. I considered sending in my tandoori-tofu-topped pizza, but then I found these tiny, egg-like eggplants that I love at my Asian grocers’ and wham!…a brainwave.

Baghare Baingan is a spicy, mouthwatering dish from Hyderabad in southern India, and I had long ago posted a recipe. I decided to use the baingan as a topping for my pizza, and because I wanted the Indian flavors to run through, I chose to make a naan instead of a pizza.

A naan dough is not very unlike a pizza dough, and I have in the past substituted one for the other. This time, I went with my grilled naan recipe, but I substituted 1 cup of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour, making my Indian pizza healthier. I also cut up the baingan into quarters, instead of leaving them whole as I did for my Baghare Baingan, so it would be easier to lay them out on the pizza.

I am not going to repost the individual recipes for the Baghare Baingan and Naan dough, since you can check them out for yourselves. But here’s the procedure I followed. Remember, only follow the instructions for making the naan dough and don’t go ahead and grill it, as you would when making a grilled naan.


Baghare Baingan Naan-Pizza

(Makes 2 12-inch pizzas)


1 recipe baghare baingan

1 recipe grilled naan (Follow instructions until the point where the dough is ready. Then follow instructions below).

A handful of chopped coriander

To make the pizza dough, follow the grilled naan recipe. At the point where you divide the dough, divide it into two, not three pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and let stand for half an hour.

Roll out each ball into a 12-inch round. Poke the round with a fork, going all over the pizza. This will “dock” the pizza, so it doesn’t rise in the oven which would make it difficult for you to top it.

Place the naan-pizza in a 425-degree oven for 15 minutes or until it’s beginning to brown and just starting to stiffen up.

Spread the baghare baingan on top of the pizza as evenly as possible. Scatter some coriander leaves on top, then put the pizza back in the oven and bake another 15 minutes or until the bottom is lightly golden-brown.

Remove the pizza from the oven, scatter some more coriander leaves on top for a fresh burst of flavor, and cut into wedges. You might even want to squeeze a dash of lemon on top of the pizza. Yum.

Thanks, Lavi: here’s a pizza coming your way. And thanks also, Cilantro, for starting the Global Kadai event.

The pizza also goes to Champa for her Bake-off event.

And now for the moment that all of you—or at least 61 of you– have been waiting for. The winner of the $50 iHerb giveaway.

The winner was picked entirely at random — I put all your names on little paper slips, folded them up, and then had the very helpful Desi hold the bowl out to my very neutral judge, Opie.

It took Opie less than a moment to decide. He grabbed a name and was running away to chew on it when Desi rescued it. So here it is, sticking to Desi’s fingers but still in one piece:

Congratulations Michelle D, and email me at for details on how you can claim your gift.

As for the rest of you, I have something for you too. A code for $5 off for every first-time buyer at the iHerb Web site. Just enter the code BUY123 when prompted.


As some of you astute folks may have noticed, I’ve changed the look of Holy Cow! I wanted something cleaner, more streamlined, and I also wanted to add pages, now that Blogger has made it possible to do so.

One of the pages I’ve added, “In case you were wondering,” is an FAQ of sorts…for any of you who’ve wanted to know more about Holy Cow! and the why, what and how of being a vegan. I’ve also included a few other bits of information that could be useful. So explore away!

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Berber Pizza

A vegan pizza recipe for the Moroccan Berber Pizza
I found the recipe for this Berber Pizza in a book evocatively titled “A Platter of Figs” by David Tanis of the much-lauded Berkeley, Calif. restaurant Chez Panisse.

Although many of the recipes in here call for the addition of meat, I was pleasantly surprised to find one that sounded delicious and was really easy to veganize. The original recipe had some butter– I just substituted with olive oil for healthier and, dare I say, equally tasty results.

This past week, I had an old friend and her family, including her charming two-year-old son, visit for dinner. I made this pizza, among other things, and the vote was unanimous– we all loved it.

The Berber Pizza, which is from North Africa, is a covered pizza and the filling is so simple yet so delicious, it’s almost mindblowing. Don’t let the word “pizza” mislead you– this is not your average takeout-style pizza. Instead it’s elegant and unusual and what’s best, it couldn’t be easier to make. All you need are some onions and some everyday spices, and some flour.

Enjoy the recipe, everyone, and have a great week!
A covered North African pizza stuffed with onions and spices
Berber Pizza

(Adapted from “A Platter Of Figs”)


For the dough:

2 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/4 cups warm water

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I didn’t try substituting with whole wheat even partially because I wanted to keep the crispiness of the crust)

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup olive oil

For the filling:

4 medium onions, sliced thinly

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted and powdered

1 tsp coriander seeds, roasted and powdered

1 tsp red chilli powder, like cayenne

2 tsp ground black pepper

Salt to taste

1/4 cup chopped coriander/cilantro

To make the dough, mix the yeast and 1/4 cup of warm water and 1/2 cup of flour. Set aside until the mixture becomes foamy, about 10-15 minutes.

Now add four more cups of flour, salt, olive oil, and the remaining 1 cup of warm water.

Knead into a soft but smooth dough. Add more flour if necessary.

Cover and allow the dough to rest for at least 2 hours or even overnight, in a refrigerator.

To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Now add the onions and stir quickly over high heat until lightly browned but still crunchy. Add the cumin, coriander, chilli powders and black pepper as well as salt to taste.

Stir in the coriander leaves and set aside to cool.

Punch down the risen dough and divide into six equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball. Set the dough balls aside to rest for 10 minutes, covered.

Roll out two of the dough balls into 8-inch discs, using a little flour if necessary.

On one disk, spread out a third of the onion mixture evenly.

Moisten the edges of the second disc by brushing on a smidgen of water, then press down on top of the other disc with the filling. Press the edges together to seal.

Roll out the pizza into a 12-inch round. Make two more pizzas the same way using the remaining dough balls.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the pizza on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake each pizza in the oven, one or two at a time, for 22-23 minutes or until lighty golden and crisp.

Brush the top with olive oil as soon as it comes out of the oven. I also brushed a mixture of 1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp dijon mustard + 1 tsp garlic powder on one, and the added flavor was delicious.

Cut into wedges, and enjoy!

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.