Whenever I host Christmas Eve, we try to keep it simple. The big meal is the next day, so the night before we have a dinner of appetizers. It can be casual and low key or elegant hor d’ouvres. A mixture of hot and cold appetizers are more than filling for a small or large group of people.
Pizza is something that can be a dinner in itself or an appetizer for a crowd. It is something most kids will eat and it is comforting.
We have pizza every Friday night. Over the summer my kids started picking different toppings each week. One night, one of my sons suggested carrot pizza. He loves carrots. I was very, very skeptical but I had told him he could pick, so we got some rainbow carrots from Trader Joe’s and this recipe is what came out of it. AMAZING! Even my husband, who does not like cooked carrots, loved this pizza. Try something new, live a little 😉
Rainbow Carrot Pizza
3 carrots (different colors), sliced thinly (I used a mandolin)
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon agave
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3 small garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 pizza crust (One of my favorites is the Against the Grain crust found in the GF freezer section)
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
½ cup of tomato sauce (more or less depending on your preference for sauce)
8 ounces of shredded mozzarella
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a medium bowl mix vinegar, agave, salt, pepper, garlic and basil. Drop carrots into boiling water for 2-3 minutes and remove, placing immediately into ice water. Drain carrots and put them into the marinade for about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Take pizza crust out of freezer. In a small bowl mix the olive oil, salt and pepper. Brush olive oil mixture on the crust and place crust on the rack or a heated pizza stone and cook for 7 minutes.
Take the crust out of the oven and spread tomato sauce over it. Cover with the mozzarella. Take carrots out of the marinade and dry in a towel. Place carrots however you like around the pizza. Cook for another 20 minutes. Take out and serve. Top with some more fresh basil if you like.
You can prepare everything ahead up to the last 20 minutes of cook time. Keep it in the fridge and cook just as your guests arrive for a warm appetizer.
Taking something simple and familiar, like pizza, and putting a new ingredient with it, is a good way to expose your family to new tastes. You never know when they’ll surprise you. Pizza is something you can easily adjust to your family’s tastes, so if the rainbow carrots don’t go over well, try different colored peppers or place the pepperoni in a shape of a Christmas tree.
Here are some past pizza and holiday appetizer ideas to help get you through the holiday season: (Usual disclaimer that if the post is dated before April 2014 it may not be gluten free. Adapt for your needs or send me a message and I’ll adapt it!)
Italian Stuffed Meatballs
Appetizer Ideas for Thanksgiving
Meatballs, Plain and Simple
Entertaining with Appetizers and What to do with the Leftovers
Dinner of Appetizers: Thursday night or special party