Summer Pizzas: Easy. Quick. Deliciously Different
With thin crusts, lighter toppings, and a white sauce or olive oil.
I used to make these deep dish pizzas loaded with a grocery cart of goodies. As I’ve gotten older, my pizzas have gotten lighter with less fat and fewer calories. And I like these better.
Now I want thin, crisp crusts—I make two pizzas out of a single pizza dough mix. I use less meat and add fresh veggies and herbs. And I rarely use marinara any more—though there is nothing wrong with it. I use a thin coating of a flavorful white sauce or maybe just a brushing of olive oil. The result is a pizza that my wife approves of and I love.
Join us for some crisp, thin crust pizzas with lighter, healthier toppings.
The Key to Thin Crusts
Debbie, my daughter, got me started on thin crust summer pizzas. She makes pizza crusts so thin and light that they’re like a cracker or a crisp flat bread and then balances them perfectly with the lighter fare of summer. She takes our pizza crust mixes, mixes the dough, and divides them to make three crusts. I make two 15-inch crusts with one mix and I’m happy.
A soft dough.
The key to a thin crust is a soft dough. If you have a stiff, high-gluten dough, you’ll never roll a thin, even crust. The secret to a soft dough is a dough relaxer. It relaxes the gluten and eliminates the springback and the knotty lumps. You can get there three ways:
- Buy dough relaxer from us or from others.
- Buy a pizza flour mix with dough relaxer included
- Buy pizza crust mixes that include dough relaxer.
You don’t need a pizza roller if you’re going to roll the dough on the counter and place it on hot stone with a pizza peel. If you want to roll the dough into a pizza pan, a pizza roller is indispensable. It’s how to get thin, uniform dough spread across the pan.
A silver pan reflects heat. You need a dark pizza pan that absorbs heat to cook the dough before you over-cook the toppings. A hot pizza stone will give you the same effect, a crisp crust.
The Key to Quick
The key to quick is a thin crust.
You’ll use half of less dough for each pizza. With less bread, you can get by with less toppings. And less bread takes less time to bake. Sometimes ten minutes is long enough. And with less baking, the toppings hold up better.
And we rarely take time to let the bread rise. We roll the dough out, put on the sauce and toppings, and put it in the oven. It rises a little in preparation and a little more in the oven. That’s enough.
It’s amazing what you can put on a pizza. You can serve many of your favorite garden vegetables on a pizza, everything from tomatoes to potatoes and broccoli to beans. Some may seem a little strange but if you like the veggies, chances are–you’ll like them on a pizza.
Especially for summer, we love fresh veggies with just a touch of cheese, not enough to hide the veggies. The cheese should be a garnish, not a thick blanket.
One of my favorite summer pizzas is one with thinly sliced new potatoes and green beans. I want the beans to be cooked, not crunchy, and so I partially cook them in the microwave before building the pizza. The potatoes will cook in the oven if they are sliced thinly enough.
Using White Sauce instead of Red
Instead of marinara sauce, consider a white sauce. (Often we just brush a heavy layer of good olive oil on the pizza crust and omit any sauce.) We make far more pizzas with white sauce than red. Any sandwich spread works. We use the spreads from Elki a lot. A jar of alfredo sauce from the store will do. French onion dip can make a fine pizza. Ranch dressing works.
Learn to freelance, to design your own. Use the following recipes for ideas.
- Tomato, Parmesan, and Basil Summer Pizza >>
- Summer Squash and Cheddar Pizza >>
- Red Potato and Green Bean Summer Pizza >>
Get this free e-book with more recipes made with a white sauce.
- Artichoke and Sun Dried Tomato White Pizza Recipe
- New York White Pizza Recipe
- Sausage and Potato White Pizza Recipe
- Spinach Alfredo White Pizza Recipe
- Asian Peanut Pizza Recipe