Carmelized Fennel, Beet and Orange Pizza, Gluten Free

by Jenn on March 22, 2010

in Gluten Free,Pastas and Grains,Vegetarian


Pizza dough is an awesome vehicle for enjoying whatever flavors you like.  You are not beholden to marinara sauce, or even mozzarella cheese!  Past pizzas I’ve made have included some less traditional flavors, like my Spanish pizza, or chicken apricot & brie.  Beets, fennel, and orange are a common combination in many a Winter salad, so i thought it might be fun to try on a pizza!

Fennel is one of those vegetables I really need to use more of – it’s funny that I cannot stand licorice, but I love fennel.  I think the flavor is more subtle in fennel, especially when it has been roasted or cooked.  I decided here to caramelize it a bit with brown sugar just to sweeten it a bit and mellow the flavor out.  The overall blend?  Quite nice – I’ve been on a thing lately really trying to see how to contrast sweet & savory flavors together, and I think this pizza is a good marriage of different taste qualities – while the fennel, orange, and deep earthy beets are slightly sweet, the spinach pesto and garlic herbed goat-cheese at first would seem like a very disjointed set to try to blend with them – but in fact each taste is quite distinguishable and still a pleasant combination in the mouth – I love finding flavors that work so well together!  It’s like discovering a unique treasure every time.


This pizza is my submission for this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free hosted by Amy of Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.  Her theme was guiltless pleasures.  This was actually probably one of the hardest themes for me to create something for, and I’m still not sure this pizza fits the bill.  But I’m submitting it anyways.  I find that everyone’s definition of healthy is so different and varied that I could not possibly create something “guiltless” and a “pleasure” for everyone.  So many people take issue with carbs, or fat, or calories, to cut out every single one of those things would be a challenge indeed.  Personally, I’m not really sure substituting out naturally indulgent ingredients is always the way to go.  If something calls for bacon fat and butter, it’s going to be pretty darned delicious and any healthier substitutions are not going to have the same satisfaction.  I would much rather instead eat a fully indulgent food and just control my intake through portion size.  It keeps the ingredients simpler and brings a comfort that only certain flavors can bring.  But because of this outlook, I cannot rightfully call anything I have ever made guiltless.  I keep myself guiltless through portion control/calorie counting, and as long as I understand a concept of size and make sure to eat a diet full of lots of great fresh whole ingredients, I do well for myself.  Such a philosophy cannot work for everybody, but I am sure most people like to eat flavorful food made from fresh ingredients, which is the main focus of eating this very unique pizza.

I created this pizza to highlight the bright flavor of some oft-forgotten veggies – this pizza was a great dish, not just because it contains healthy veggies and fruit, but because the flavors were rich and bright without weighing too heavily on the stomach.  Perfect for the days when the sun starts to shine again and you get that little kid giggly feeling in your stomach where the excitement rushes through your body like a wave of energy – you just want to run around with the wind caressing your face and you haven’t a care in the world, even if it lasts just a brief moment until the sun shyly hides back behind a safe and secure cloud.

Also submitted to – Gluten Free Wednesdays