Kale & Butternut Squash Naan Pizzas w/ Cider Caramelized Onions, Aged Cheddar, & Sugared Pepitas

There’s something particularly sobering about the first real days of fall.

Kale & Butternut Squash Naan Pizzas w/ Cider Caramelized Onions, Aged Cheddar, & Sugared Pepitas

Not the insta-version of fall, the one veiled in cheery images of sunburnt pumpkin patches and artisan beers chugged from sophisticated glass boots. I mean the REAL first days of fall, the days where the sky is grey and the wind is chilled and your giant tartan scarf is no longer worn ironically. It’s when time goes faster, your skin gets paler, and everything feels entirely meh. So whenever this fall ambivalence descends on my pretty, fedora-crowned head, I try to shake it off with a dish that’s totally, idealistically fall.

This naan pizza is exactly that.

Kale & Butternut Squash Naan Pizzas w/ Cider Caramelized Onions, Aged Cheddar, & Sugared Pepitas

Kale & Butternut Squash Naan Pizzas w/ Cider Caramelized Onions, Aged Cheddar, & Sugared Pepitas

For years now I’ve ignored the whole naan pizza trend, foolishly assuming that bread was bread and that naan couldn’t possibly be anything special. But as is typical of my overly assertive personality, in the end I’ve been proven painfully wrong. Because naan, lovely ladies, is absolutely DI-VINE! Seriously, if you haven’t had naan yet then your carbing routine is in for one earth-shattering surprise, because you’re about to be eating it with absolutely everything.

Kale & Butternut Squash Naan Pizzas w/ Cider Caramelized Onions, Aged Cheddar, & Sugared Pepitas

For the unfamiliar, naan is a traditional Indian flatbread that’s baked in clay ovens into the chewiest, softest flatbread you’ve ever eaten. It somehow manages to remain pliable and buttery without being too heavy or filling, a magical dichotomy that makes naan perfect for dredging hummus, soaking up shakshuka, or as the base for a quick-fix pizza.

Kale & Butternut Squash Naan Pizzas w/ Cider Caramelized Onions, Aged Cheddar, & Sugared Pepitas

I’m plainly aware that the world doesn’t need another kale x butternut squash creation, but I’ve gone ahead and made one, so let’s humor me, ehh? The tricky thing about butternut is that it’s a chunky, heavy topping for a pizza, one that demands something more formidable than a mere traditional thin-crust. This balancing act is exactly what made using naan so desirable – It gives the pizza a fluffy, cushiony crust that amply supports the pizza without taking away focus from the fall-tastic toppings.

Kale & Butternut Squash Naan Pizzas w/ Cider Caramelized Onions, Aged Cheddar, & Sugared Pepitas

In no particular order, this pizza is cloaked with: a few handfuls of kale dressed with lemon juice and garlic, cubed butternut squash roasted in coconut oil + cinnamon & brown sugar, onions caramelized with apple cider vinegar and butter, and pepitas that are lightly toasted with a thick film of sugar.

Oh, and cheddar.

LOTS of shredded, aged cheddar.

Kale & Butternut Squash Naan Pizzas w/ Cider Caramelized Onions, Aged Cheddar, & Sugared Pepitas

The butternut itself takes about 45 minutes to roast, but while that’s cooking you can prep your remaining ingredients, so in the end this dish syncs up nicely. The onions caramelize slowly, as onions do, but the kale comes together quickly, as do the sugared pepitas. And though hand shredding cheese is a literal, awful pain, when you’re using aged perfection like this white oak version from Cabot, you’ll be glad you went the extra distance. Plus, with the naan doing the heavy lifting this pizza is about as simple as one can hope – Pile with ingredients, bake for 10 minutes, and voilà! Pizza partytime, fall edition.

Kale & Butternut Squash Naan Pizzas w/ Cider Caramelized Onions, Aged Cheddar, & Sugared Pepitas

I’m loving this recipe as an easy, meatless dinner or as an appetizer among friends – It’s a fall, veggie lovers delight, so know your audience! This is obviously loaded with incredible sweet (butternut + onions) and savory (kale + cheddar) flavors, plus the texture game is totally on-point – The crisped naan, smooth butternut, crunchy kale, slick onions, and toasted pepitas create undeniable composition against a bed of creamy cheddar.

And by that poetic rant I mean YES – You will eat more slices than you’d like to.

Just deal with it, okay?

Kale & Butternut Squash Naan Pizzas w/ Cider Caramelized Onions, Aged Cheddar, & Sugared Pepitas

For a vegan rendition simply skip the cheese or swap in a non-dairy sub, and this freezes nicely too, so don’t be afraid of leftovers! I’ve reheated countless slices for lunch, and it’s been delicious every damn time. x

Kale & Butternut Squash Naan Pizzas w/ Cider Caramelized Onions, Aged Cheddar, & Sugared Pepitas

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Pepitas
  • 2 tsps Canola Oil
  • 1 tsp Organic Sugar
  • 1 lb Butternut Squash, cubed
  • 3 tbsps Coconut Oil
  • 1 tbsp Organic Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • pinch of Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Salted Butter
  • 1 Yellow Onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsps Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 cups Kale, chopped
  • 2 tbsps Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 tsp Crushed or Minced Garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese (I used Cabot)
  • 2 Naan Flatbreads
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Crisco to grease

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. In small, shallow baking dish toss pepitas with canola oil, then sprinkle with sugar. Toast for 10 minutes until just lightly beginning to brown, then set aside.
  2. Raise oven temperature to 425F. Lightly grease baking dish with crisco.
  3. Place cubed butternut squash in large mixing bowl. In another, small mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt & pepper, whisking until smooth. Pour coconut oil mixture over squash, then stir ingredients with a wooden spoon until all cubes are evenly coated. Transfer to greased baking dish, then roast squash at 425F for 45 minutes until fragrant and caramelized. Cool slightly.
  4. While the squash roasts, in large skillet melt butter over medium-high flame. Once melted, stir in onions and apple cider vinegar, then sauté for 15 – 20 minutes until fragrant and caramelized. Set aside until needed.
  5. Toss kale with lemon juice and garlic, coating evenly. Next, shred the cheese.
  6. Once squash is out of the oven and cooling, lower oven temperature to 400F.
  7. Lightly brush the tops of each naan flatbread with a thin-film of EVOO, then transfer to pizza stone. Pile flatbreads with an even distribution of kale, caramelized onions, roasted butternut squash, and cheddar cheese, then return to oven and bake pizzas at 400F for 10-12 minutes until naan is crisp and the cheddar has melted. Top with sugared pepitas, then slice and serve immediately.

Kale & Butternut Squash Naan Pizzas w/ Cider Caramelized Onions, Aged Cheddar, & Sugared Pepitasfall stuff!

Kale & Butternut Squash Naan Pizzas w/ Cider Caramelized Onions, Aged Cheddar, & Sugared Pepitas - completely vegetarian, delicious, and perfect for fall!