Pizza with Chimichurri-like Sauce

June 17, 2011

I’m not one of those people with an aversion to tomato sauce on pizza. I grew up with these kids who would not eat tomato sauce on pizza. I always thought it was absurd. The vast majority of the pizzas I both eat and make are smothered in tomato sauce. However, after reading Mark Bittman’s latest piece in the Times on the slowly improving conditions of tomato pickers in Immokalee, Florida, I haven’t wanted to go near the things (tomatoes).

Tonight, in part because I’m avoiding tomatoes and in part because I had a bounty of other vegetables from the local farmers’ market on hand, I improvised a basil chimichurri-like sauce for a pizza. Instead of fleshing out how to make a pizza from scratch, (which you should know how to do!) I’m going to give you the rough recipe for this tasty sauce.


1 cup fresh basil leaves

2 cloves of garlic (more if you’re into that kinda thing)

1/4 tsp of smoked paprika (this is the ingredient which ‘makes’ the sauce)

some amount** of olive oil

1 tbsp of tomato paste (optional)

1 whole green leaf of scallion

1 generous pinch of salt


  1. Blend it all up.  It’ll look kind of frothy when it’s done. A food processor would likely be better suited for this job.  Sadly, I only have a blender.
  2. Spread it all over your crust.

**Add just enough olive oil so that it’s the consistency of pesto–I’m guessing a 1/4 c–then add a little more. You’ll want it easily spreadable.

My toppings included a little mozzarella and grilled onions, squash, and portabellos.

The sauce turns a lovely caramelized brown color as it bakes.

quarter-eaten pizza

here my pizza looks like an abstract expressionist painting--which painter?

Note: My intuition is that this sauce works best with hearty vegetables like mushrooms, eggplant, and spinach but certainly should be accompanied by things like sauteed or grilled leeks, squash, and peppers of all varieties. I am reluctant to say this would be good with meat. Those of you that eat it should make this sauce, and let me know.


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