Beetroot and Feta Pizza
When time slips through our fingers, we turn to simple, reliable recipes that we know taste great. These are the dishes celebrity chef and author (and winner of The Great British Bake Off 2015) Nadiya Hussain highlights in her Netflix show “Nadiya’s Time to Eat.”
One recipe that particularly stood out to pizza hobbyist and Munich-based Ooni Ambassador Julia Ma (@manopasto) was Nadiya’s beetroot and feta pasta. It’s super quick to prepare, tastes delicious and — thanks to the eye-catching beetroot color — it looks as good as it tastes!
Adapting pasta recipes to pizza is a great way to experiment with existing flavor combinations. Classic pastas like carbonara and spaghetti alla puttanesca translate into delicious pies, and Nadiya’s beetroot and feta pasta is no exception. For this recipe, Julia uses a blind bake technique (a method where you pre-cook a pizza base before applying toppings), putting the beetroot sauce and cheese on post-cook. This brings out the fresh flavor of the beetroot sauce and the feta — which adds a salty, tangy kick.
You might be left with extra sauce after baking your pizza — so if you want to, put it back onto pasta! All you need to make this recipe is a blender, smoothie maker or food processor (whatever you have available). In addition to being simple, it’s also light and healthy.
Note: For the blind bake, Julia uses a 9-inch steel pizza plate, which she puts on top of the pizza before launching it into the oven. If you don’t have a steel plate, you can top the dough with ice instead. See this technique in action here.
Bio: Julia Ma has been working with pizza since 2016, and she started her own blog, Manopasto, in 2020. Her favorite pizza types include Neapolitan, Roman and various American styles.
30 minutes total time, excluding dough preparation
Makes 1 12” pizza, with enough sauce for 5 pizzas total
1 250-gram pizza dough ball
2 ¾ cups (500 grams) cooked beetroot (boiled)
7 tablespoons (100 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves (25 grams)
1 large red chili pepper (Try Fresnos, Birdseye chilis, Cayenne Peppers, or your own favorite)
Pinch kosher or fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¾ cup (200 grams) feta cheese
handful fresh dill, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon (30 milliliters)
fresh basil to top (optional)
This recipe suits a variety of pizza styles, but we think classic pizza dough, biga, or neo-Neapolitan, or sourdough all work well. Prepare your dough ahead of time to make sure it rises at room temperature before lighting your oven.
Fire up your oven, aiming for 750 to 800°F (370 to 425°C) on the stone baking board inside. Use an infrared thermometer to quickly and accurately check the temperature of the stone.
Put the beetroot into a blender and add the olive oil, garlic, chili and a pinch of salt and pepper. Blend to a smooth paste.
Crumble the feta and place it in a bowl. Chop the dill and add it to the cheese, then drizzle the lemon juice over the mixture and toss to coat.
Place a dough ball on your lightly floured work surface. Push the air from the center out to the edge with your fingers. Stretch the dough out to a 12-inch-round base, then lay the stretched dough over your lightly floured peel.
As there are no toppings on the base yet, it’s best to weigh down the middle to prevent the bottom of the dough from rising and burning. Take a stainless steel plate and place it on the middle of the dough. Launch the base, with the plate on top, into the oven. Cook for roughly 2 minutes, rotating the pizza every 30 seconds to ensure an even bake.
Retrieve the cooked pizza. Take care while removing the plate: The dough might get stuck in a few places. If it does, carefully pry it loose with a knife.
Spread an even layer of beetroot sauce over the cooked pizza, stopping at the crust. Sprinkle as much feta mixture on as you like, and garnish with fresh basil if you like. Slice into 8 equal portions and serve!