brussels sprouts, bacon, and blue cheese pizza with caesar dressing

like much of the food blogging world, i am obsessed with brussels sprouts, and frequently subject myself and people who eat lunch in my vicinity to their characteristic odor.  in fact, Betsy and Anna (my lab mates), often teased me for bringing smelly lunches; broccoli and hardboiled eggs were also common components of my lunches. i don’t think anyone can deny the charm of brussels sprouts, though – i can’t see why people wouldn’t want to try a vibrantly green miniature cabbage, although i was not subjected to boiled brussels sprouts when i was younger.  in fact, i can’t say i knew what a brussels sprout was until i saw it on a food blog.  unfortunately, i can’t remember the first time i tried a brussels sprout, but i know that i have gathered a few new admirers over the past few years.

my favorite method of preparing them is roasting them in a hot, 400 degree oven until they start to get crispy (and slightly stinky) after seasoning them with oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  i use both fresh and frozen brussels sprouts; obviously i prefer fresh (they get crispier), but i’ve found that partially thawing frozen brussels sprouts in the microwave, slicing them in half, and then roasting them gives almost identical results. more recently, i’ve started thinly slicing brussels sprouts as part of salads, most of which i’ve found on howsweeteats.com (jessica is my brussels sprouts inspiration – she does things with brussels sprouts that i never would have thought to try).

this week, i decided to try making a pizza with brussels sprouts.  admittedly, this is nothing new, but i decided to take a slightly different route than the typical brussels sprouts + bacon + cheese route.  i did use (turkey) bacon and cheese (blue + mozzarella + parmesan), but i also added some caramelized onions, red pepper flakes, and used jessica’s yogurt caesar dressing as the pizza sauce. i know, that may sound horrifying to many of you, but i love the intense, savory flavor anchovies lend to sauces and dressings.  using yogurt (or sour cream, in my case) keeps the preparation of this dressing quick and easy, not to mention lighter.  and really, does this pizza look so horrifying to you?? (my poor photography is a different story – excuse the blurriness) IMG_0256 this pizza would probably be more appropriate as a fall recipe, but i can’t eat with the seasons when it comes to brussels sprouts.  this weekend has also been unseasonably cool (a blackberry winter, as my grandmother, Grandmommie, called it), so i wanted to take advantage of the oven while i still could without melting in my tiny apartment. IMG_0261 i’m certainly looking forward to eating this masterpiece every night this week after i get home from my internship and the gym (while catching up on downton abbey – snobby british TV is my weakness).  and best of all, i’ll get to eat it in piece with no teasing from anna and betsy!

brussels sprouts, bacon, and blue cheese pizza with caesar dressing
serves 4-8

1 cup shredded brussels sprouts (15-20 sprouts)
1 medium vidalia onion, thinly sliced
5 slices bacon or turkey bacon, fried and crumbled
1-1.5 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup blue cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp canola/olive oil
your favorite pizza dough, store bought or homemade
jessica’s yogurt caesar dressing

preheat the oven according to pizza dough package/recipe instructions.  heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, then add onion slices.  season with salt and pepper, and stir until onions start to soften and turn translucent.  lower heat to low, then stir the onions regularly for 20 minutes or so until the onions start to caramelize.  put the onions in a bowl, then turn the heat to medium-low and add the bacon slices to the pan and fry until crispy and brown.  remove the bacon slices from the pan, then add the remaining tbsp of oil, turn the heat to medium, and add the shredded brussels sprouts.  season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.  stir the brussels sprouts occasionally until they start to brown.  remove the sprouts from heat.

to prepare the pizza, spread yogurt caesar dressing as liberally as you would like (i like to save some for drizzling on reheated slices).  sprinkle some of the mozzarella cheese on top, then add the sprouts, onions, and crumbled bacon.  top with additional mozzarella cheese, blue cheese, and parmesan cheese.  bake pizza according to recipe/package instructions.  i like to broil my pizza towards the end of the baking time to get the cheese and crust nice and brown.

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