Pizza, summer style.
It’s always good to find new, delicious ways to use zucchini and summer squash in summertime. This zucchini pizza recipe is just what summer needs: an easy, seasonal summer squash pizza that’s ready in less than 30 minutes.
Meet This Zucchini and Summer Squash Pizza Recipe
There’s a few weeks each year, usually around mid-August until early September, when it seems like zucchini and summer squash are just about the only vegetables in all the land. (Well, maybe tomatoes, too.) Plentiful and inexpensive, zucchini and summer squash season means all sorts of summer vegetable sides and mains, from parmesans to pasta to even dessert.
But just when you think you can’t eat one more zucchini, this summer squash pizza recipe comes along and says, “I beg to differ.” This is an Italian-inspired recipe, specifically in the model of Roman-style pizza, where long stretches of dough topped with all sorts of vegetables (not just tomato and cheese) are quite common.
Easy, full of flavor, and a seasonal twist on traditional Italian pizza, this zucchini pizza is just what late summer dinner needs right now.
Start with a fresh pizza dough. Add onion, zucchini, mozzarella, sprinkle with pecorino-Romano cheese, parmesan cheese, and some herbs, and bake. Read on.
How to Use a Pizza Stone vs. a Sheet Pan for This Pizza
If you have a pizza stone, great! I love mine. You can adjust this recipe for a pizza stone by doing the following:
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and getting the pizza stone nice and hot. The pizza stone should heat up fully.
- Use a well-floured peel to slide the pizza directly onto the stone, and bake. It will take less time to cook the pizza on a stone than in a sheet pan.
If you do not have a pizza stone and will be baking this pizza on a sheet pan, the pizza will take a little longer to cook. You need to have a lower temperature for the oven (here, 400 degrees F) to allow the dough to cook through without the cheese getting overly browned in the meantime.
The Best Mozzarella for Making Zucchini Pizza
Fresh mozzarella is wonderful: caprese! More caprese! But fresh mozzarella is not a good choice for pizza, including this zucchini pizza.
Here’s why. Fresh mozzarella has a high moisture content. It’s what makes it so delicious eaten fresh and uncooked in a tomato salad and the like. But when baked, this (more expensive, I might add) fresh mozzarella releases this water, and can make the pizza watery and chewy.
Instead, the best cheese for zucchini pizza — and all pizza, really — is low-moisture mozzarella. My favorite store-bought brand is Polly-O low-moisture mozzarella (either whole or part skim), but you can use any good-quality supermarket brand.
I strongly recommend grating your own mozzarella into a bowl, using the wide grates of a box grater. Pre-shredded cheese is often dusted with starch to prevent clumping. It just tastes a little dry and less fresh.
Pizza-Making Pro Tips and Techniques
- Bake at 400 degrees F if using a sheet pan, and 500 degrees F is using a hot pizza stone.
- Use plenty of flour when working with your pizza dough, and make sure the dough is rested and at room temperature. Otherwise, it will fight you and pull back instead of stretching, thanks to the gluten.
- This recipe was written as a traditional Italian white pizza, but feel free to spread a thin layer of marinara sauce or pizza sauce on the dough before topping with all the remaining ingredients.
Ingredients for Summer Squash Pizza
This summer squash pizza recipe can use yellow squash, zucchini, or a combination thereof interchangeably. Best of all, you do not need to cook the squash or onion beforehand. The high oven temperature will do that for you.
Your zucchini pizza recipe ingredients are:
- One 16-ounce fresh pizza dough, plus some flour for dusting
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large (or 2 small) zucchini or yellow squash, sliced thin
- Half a white or yellow onion, sliced thin
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Grated pecorino-Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano (Italian parmesan) cheese, about 1 or 2 teaspoons of each
- Fresh mint, basil, or both
- Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper
This recipe does not call for garlic cloves. Garlic burns easily, and will not fare very well in the hot oven.
Zucchini Pizza Recipe Instructions
This is a standard sheet pan pizza method, in which the dough is stretched onto a greased sheet pan and baked. Here are the recipe steps:
- Preheat the oven.
- First, slice the onion and zucchini or summer squash and set aside.
- Grease a half sheet pan with olive oil. Dust the pizza dough generously with flour. Place the dough in the center of the baking sheet, and press and stretch the dough flat. It should pretty much fill the pan. If using a pizza stone, divide the dough in half and stretch two separate pizza rounds, using more flour as necessary so it does not stick. Transfer to a peel and proceed, one pizza at a time.
- Sprinkle the dough with most of the shredded mozzarella. Add the zucchini squash, onion, grated cheeses, and season with salt and pepper.
- If using a sheet pan: Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven, until the bottom crust is golden brown, and the cheese is fully melted. If using a pizza stone, slide the pizza onto the stone and bake until the bottom is crisp and the top is fully cooked, about 10-15 minutes (times will vary depending on the preheating of the stone, so check often).
- Remove the zucchini pizza from the oven. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Top with an extra sprinkle of pecorino-Romano and the the fresh basil and mint. Serve hot.
Enjoy this special taste of summer.
Love this zucchini pizza recipe? Check out:
- Baked Yellow Squash and Zucchini Parmesan
- Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza
- Broccoli Rabe, Italian Style
- 1 16-ounce fresh pizza dough, rested and at room temperature
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large (or 2 small) zucchini or yellow squash, sliced thin
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, sliced thin
- 2 cups cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 generous tablespoon (total) mix of grated pecorino-Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano (Italian parmesan) cheeses, or whichever you have on hand
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal; Morton's is quite salty)
- 12 turns fresh-ground pepper
- 2 Sprigs fresh basil and/or mint, sliced thin
- Preheat the oven to 400°F if using a half-sheet pan, and 500°F if using a pizza stone.
- Thinly slice the onion and zucchini or summer squash and set aside in a bowl or dish.
- Grease a half sheet pan with the olive oil. Dust the pizza dough generously with flour. You don't want any stickiness. Place the dough in the center of the baking sheet, and press and stretch the dough flat. It should pretty much fill the pan. If using a pizza stone, divide the dough in half and stretch two separate pizza rounds, using additional flour as necessary. Transfer each dough to a peel and proceed, one pizza at a time.PRO TIP: Pizza dough, like all bread doughs, will form what's called an "elephant skin" on top if exposed to the air too long. This crusty, dry dough is not good, so if you won't be using the dough right away, loosely cover it with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap.
- Sprinkle the dough all over with the mozzarella. Add the zucchini squash, onion, grated pecorino and parmesan cheeses, and season with salt and pepper.
- If using a sheet pan: Bake at 400°F for about 25 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven, until the bottom crust is golden brown, and the cheese is fully melted. If using a pizza stone: Slide the pizza onto the stone and bake until the bottom is crisp and the top is fully cooked, about 10-15 minutes (times will vary depending on the preheating of the stone, so check often).Remove the zucchini pizza from the oven. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil. Top with an additional sprinkle of pecorino-Romano or parmesan, and finish with the fresh basil and mint. Slice and serve hot.