Monday, 19 August 2013

Roasted Butternut and Rice Pizza

This week we got back to basics with a new challenge in the Freshly Blogged campaign. Round 7 saw us presented with a list of some of my favourite kitchen staples - butternut, leeks, tinned tomatoes, fresh thyme, rice and a baguette. I almost always have these ingredients on hand, they are the building blocks of many of my favourite meals. The challenge here would be to combine them in an interesting and creative way. And including rice, baguette and butternut in one delicious carbo-loaded dish was going to require some thought! 

I decided to focus on using the rice in an unusual way. When the idea of making a rice pizza came to mind I had no idea whether it would work, but after a small, successful trial run I decided to go for it - and the risk paid off!

Now pizza-lovers, hear me out! I, like you, am an extremely loyal fan of the traditional yeast dough base. Far be it for me to mess around with this timeless and perfect dish, this was not an undertaking I took lightly! I was surprised to discover though, that rice base is a refreshing change, with a pleasant, tender texture. I included leeks in the base for some extra flavour and used egg to stick it all together - hardly a grain was lost when the pizza was sliced! 

I topped the base with a homemade herby tomato sauce, balsamic roasted butternut, crumbly feta and buttery croutons. This was finished off with a thyme and garlic oil which added a final hit of flavour. The flavours came together perfectly! 

One thing is for sure - after creating this recipe I will never look at rice the same way again!

As usual, the recipes have been published on the Freshly Blogged website and voting has now opened to the public. Please take a few seconds to vote for this recipe by clicking HEREThanks! 



Makes 1 x 30cm pizza (Serves 2)

For the butternut:

250g butternut, cut into 2cm cubes 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
a good pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the base:

1 cup long grain rice
4 cups water
pinch of salt
1/4 cup finely chopped leeks
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large eggs

For the sauce:

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
400g tin chopped tomatoes
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
1/2 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the croutons:

small baguette, preferably a day old
2 tablespoons butter
black pepper

For the thyme oil:

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:

100g plain feta cheese

Step 1.) Preheat your oven to 200°C. Place the cubed butternut in a small roasting tray and drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Cover the tray with foil and roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes, until the butternut is just tender. 

Step 2.) Place the rice, water and salt in a pot. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.

Step 3.) Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, thyme leaves, sugar, salt and pepper and stir well. Allow to boil gently for 8-10 minutes until the sauce has reduced and is thick. 

Step 4.) Make the croutons by cutting a piece of baguette, roughly 10cm long, into 2cm cubes. They don't have to be perfect! Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the cubes. Toss the bread in the butter and add a good grinding of black pepper. Continue to fry the baguette cubes for about 5 minutes until crispy and starting to brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. 

Step 5.) By now the rice and butternut should be cooked. Set the roasted butternut aside and increase the oven temperature to 220°C. Line a 30cm pizza pan with greased baking paper. 

Step 6.) Drain the rice well then place in a bowl to cool for a few minutes. Stir in the leeks and olive oil. Whisk the eggs lightly with a fork and add to the rice. Mix everything together well. Tip the rice onto the pizza pan and gently flatten into an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes. 

Step 7.) Meanwhile prepare the thyme oil by combining the olive oil, crushed garlic, thyme leaves, salt and pepper

Step 8.) Spread the tomato sauce over the rice base. Sprinkle the butternut cubes and croutons on top. Crumble the feta over the pizza and drizzle with half of the thyme oil. Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until the feta starts to brown. Drizzle the remaining thyme oil over the pizza and serve immediately. 


  1. What a wonderful clever idea especially as a wheat free alternative. I am just going to have to try it out. Thank-you for sharing and linking your wonderful post to "The Most Fabulous Link-up Jol"
    I am following you on a variety of different social media.
    Keren (From the blog: Fabulous-farmliving)

    1. My pleasure Keren, and thanks for the invite! :)

  2. Is there anyway of making this ahead of time and having the next day?

    1. Hi there, I have tested this but would definitely recommend making it fresh as required.

  3. Oh my gosh, I'm totally obsessed with this pizza! I've seen lots of cauliflower crust pizzas, but never a rice-crust pizza! Pinning this make next week as soon as I get home!