My wife and I like to play games like “Would You Rather”, the Question game, or Categories - all games you would typically play in the car on a long road trip. We often play these games in social situations as silly icebreakers, and one of my go-to questions is: “If you could have only one of the following foods for one year which would it be: pizza, burgers, or tacos?” My answer is always pizza, hands down! No disrespect to the other options, but I couldn’t make it a year without pizza.
If you’re anything like me, there never seems to be enough hours in the day. Cooking dinner that is healthy yet delicious, and indulgent yet budget-friendly, can seem impossible in the limited time we have. Enter DIY Pizzas with a twist that you can have ready in 20 minutes.
My wife brought up the idea of using Naan bread as the base dough for DIY Pizzas. This was an instant hit for me, as I have a fondness for these kind of mutant fusions in food. Mixing Indian with Italian foods sounds strange, but you can find similar themes and techniques if you look for them. For instance, an Italian Sunday ragu and a deep, rich Indian curry are not all that dissimilar in method. The cooking vessels and ingredients will vary, but the low and slow game is on point for both.
Store-bought Naan is perfectly fine especially if you are short on time, need something quick, and want to pick up a few ingredients on the go. We prefer to make our own Naan. I’ve shared my recipe below, and similar recipes have been featured elsewhere on The Chopping Blog. My recipe strays from the mainstream a bit with the use of white whole wheat flour and Ghee instead of olive or canola oil. If you would like to learn how to make your own Ghee, Owner/Chef Shelley Young has a great blog on the subject.
Whole Wheat Naan
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15
Inactive time: 1 hour
Yield: 4-5 naan bread
2 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 large egg
2 tablespoons Ghee plus more for spreading
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. In a large mixing bowl, measure out warm water and sprinkle yeast in water and mix carefully. Wait about 5 minutes or until yeast wakes up and produces bubbles.
2. Add sugar briefly before adding the flour to supercharge the yeast and then add the flour, salt, egg, yogurt and ghee and mix well until the dough can be formed and feels slightly sticky but does not leave anything behind in the bowl. Knead until dough becomes smooth and slightly tense adding flour if dough is too sticky.
3. Cover and place in a dry neutral temp location to rise for 1 hour.
4. Dump out dough and divide into 4-6 pieces.
5. Roll out pieces into rough naan shapes, brush with ghee and sprinkle desired seasonings.
6. Heat a wide non-stick pan to a medium-high heat. Grill first side until bubbles appear and dough browns nicely. Flip and continue to cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
Note: If you want to include some garlic in your Naan, slice it thinly or finely mince it, then roll it in to the Naan before you cook the dough.
Then it’s time to get creative! I played around with the spices on each piece of Naan. The three main spice blends I used are standard condiment mixes from around the world. Za’atar from the Middle East, Berbere from Ethiopia, and Baharat from South Asia. If you, like so many, have spices sitting on the shelf but are unsure how to creatively use them in practice, The Chopping Block has virtual cooking classes and in person grilling classes where you can ask a professional chef your questions and get answers directly geared to your interest, taste, and experience level.
Now, arguably the most important part - the assembly of the pizza. This can be as easy or elaborate as you choose. I defrosted some previously-made pesto to use as the sauce for my pizza but dressing a pizza is all about personal preference. Using fresh ingredients is the key to making a great pizza at home. It makes all the difference, trust me.
Pro tip when making Naan pizzas: since the dough is fully cooked, you’ll want to pre-cook/sauté anything you can. This way you don’t have to bake the full pizza for very long, which can dry out or burn your Naan. Just bake long enough to warm everything up and melt your cheese on top. Now it's time to dress your pizza! Set up your mise-en place as pictured below. Keeping ingredients organized is helpful whether cooking for one, having friends over, or letting kids design their own Naan creations!
I try and be as seasonal and resourceful as I can. That being said, if you want something not in season for your pizza, go and get it. Nothing’s off limits on pizza night!
My ingredient list from left to right:
- Fresh Cherry Tomatoes from Chef Lisa’s vegetable garden
- A basic Pesto
- Red Onion and Poblano Pepper slices
- Sautéed chicken sausage
- Sautéed mushrooms
- Mozzarella Pearls
- Roasted Red Curry Spiced Butternut Squash
Once your pizza is prepped, drizzle some olive oil on a sheet pan and throw your pizza on top! The olive oil will give your crust a little more texture and prevent any sticking.
Pop it into a 425 degree oven until the cheese melts and the sauce bubbles – about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and finish it off with any last-minute toppings (I used dried oregano & balsamic glaze).
Slice it up, and enjoy with friends and loved ones. Don’t forget to share your photos in our private Facebook group so I can see who had the best pizza!
The Chopping Block offers grilling classes on our outdoor patio, and our new Fireside Feast class features a seasonal flatbread you can make on your grill, which is just one component of an amazing menu:
- Pear and Blue Cheese Grilled Flatbread
- Smoked Pork Loin with Apple-Onion Chutney
- Grilled Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Almonds
- Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Maple Glaze
We'll also show you how to make pizza virtually in one of our Customer Appreciation Day sessions on Saturday, November 7 at 12pm CST.
We also have specialty pizza toppings like Cream of Balsamic or Pomodoraccio tomatoes available in our online retail store for curbside pickup from Lincoln Square.