Ready for a touch of Celebrity Chef Inception? I learned from Ina Garten, who learned from Martha Stewart, a concept called “Best of Class.” Best of Class in cooking means that no matter what you are making, whether it’s filet mignon or hot dogs, you are using the best possible ingredients in your dish. I recently decided to elevate Vegetable Pizza to “Best of Class” status. This popular appetizer is typically made with crescent rolls and a packet of dried Ranch seasoning mix, but I wanted something a little less processed and a little more delicious.
Puff Pastry Crust
Instead of crescent rolls, I started with flaky, delicious puff pastry. It puffs up higher and tastes better so there is more Vegetable Pizza in every tasty bite. If you’ve never purchased puff pastry, you’ll find it in the freezer section of your grocery store near the frozen bread and phyllo dough. To thaw the dough, leave it out at room temperature, covered with a towel, until soft enough to unfold but still cold. If it gets too warm and sticky, refreeze it for 5 minutes or chill it in the refrigerator for up to 15 minutes. If you see cracks when the dough unfolds, just moisten your finger tips with water and press out the cracks.
Homemade Ranch Dressing Blend
Instead of the highly-processed, overly salty Ranch dressing salad mix, I opted for a homemade blend of dried herbs. There is nothing crazy on the list. You probably have all of them already, and you won’t have to fiddle with fresh herbs either. Dried parsley, dill, chopped onion, garlic powder, and basil make a delicious dried Ranch seasoning without all the extra MSG, Maltodextrin, and whatever Carboxymethyl Cellulose is.
By the way, I don’t recommend salting the ranch blend. I love salt, I use salt with reckless abandon, but in previous trials of this recipe I found even the smallest amount of added salt was off-putting. <– Huge understatement.
Top it Off!
As for the toppings, that’s where your fun and creativity comes in. I love a classic combination of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots plus one or two extras such as tomatoes, bell peppers, scallions, or black olives. And of course, shredded cheddar cheese. Use whatever knocks your socks off!
Make it Ahead
One of my favorite features of Vegetable Pizza is how it is ripe for being made in advance. You can bake the crust a day in advance, mix up the cream cheese blend the night before, and even chop all your vegetables. Assemble everything an hour before your event, or if you’re travleing, transport the components separately and assemble at your destination..
I really didn’t think Vegetable Pizza could be anymore delicious, but this Best of Class version really is superior. Thank you, Ina and Martha, for challenging me to rethink old favorites in new ways!
Need something that tastes a lot like this but travels even more easily? Try my recipe for Vegetable Tortilla Roll Ups.
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 T. dried parsley
- 1 tsp. dried chopped onion
- 1 tsp. dried dill
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. dried basil
- 1 c. chopped broccoli
- 1 c. chopped cauliflower
- 1 c. chopped or shredded carrots
- 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ c. each additional chopped vegetables such as bell pepper, tomato, scallions, or black olives
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Unfold thawed puff pastry onto one large baking sheet or two smaller ones lined with parchment paper. If the pastry cracks while be unfolded, moisten your fingertips and carefully press out the cracks. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown; cool completely.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, parsley, onion, dill, garlic powder, and basil. Chill in refrigerator to blend flavors while crust cools.
- Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled crust. Top with broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Sprinkle with cheese and any additional vegetables, if using.
- Chill at least one hour before slicing to serve.