One of my favorite holidays is right around the corner. It’s a day to indulge in a romantic comedies, treat yourself to something chocolatey, and spend time with the ones you love. And no, it does not start with a “V,” ’cause I’m referring to the more beloved and less divisive Galentine’s Day!

While Galentine’s may have started out as a fictional celebration in which Leslie Knope celebrates her lady friends with DIY crafts and waffles, the holiday seems to have caught on. And I for one, am here for it.

The first time I celebrated Galentine’s was during my first year living in Minneapolis. I was in a new city with new friends, and a group of us (who have since become some of my best friends) decided that we would get together to celebrate the holiday with an old fashioned sleepover. It was a night complete with all the candy we could find, snacks, rom coms, girl chat, and a healthy amount of takeout.

While the holiday can feel a bit cutesy like its fall counterpart, Friendsgiving, the idea of recognizing and celebrating the female friendships in our lives seems more important now than ever.

My besties are everything. They challenge me, they support me, and they make me the best version of myself, and for that, they deserve to be celebrated with the greatest food of all — pizza!

I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that pizza is my favorite food (or at least a close second behind ice cream.) I love that you can totally personalize and highlight certain flavors on any ‘za and it becomes an entirely new experience. For my girlfriends, I immediately think of light and bright flavors. We love our indulgences, but also love a really great green salad. So for Galentine’s Day, my mind immediately went to a super green pizza – great dough topped with a flavorful pesto, gooey mozzarella, and all of our favorite green veggies.

For this version, I made my own pesto — a kale and walnut pesto to be exact. I love the richness and nuttiness that the walnuts add and the extra heartiness that you get from kale in place of basil. You could of course use your favorite store-bought pesto as well! I use a store-bought dough for the most part that I’ve come to love, though when I plan ahead I can always grab a dough ball from my favorite pizza restaurant in town as well. For the toppings, I toed the line of mezze-inspired ingredients with castelvetrano olives, artichokes, and caramelized leeks, topping the entire finished pizza with greens that I tossed in lemon juice and olive oil for an extra bite of freshness.

Y’all, this pizza is good. Like really good. It’s delicious but fresh, light and fun, and of course, made even more special for a celebration of female friendship by shaping it out into a heart.

It’s something simple, but a heart-shaped pizza with your best friends is what Galentine’s Day is all about. Let’s make Leslie Knope proud!

Green Veggie & Pesto Heart-Shaped Pizza

Serves 3

ingredients


for the pesto ::

  • 1 small bunch of kale
  • a handful of basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup of walnuts
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 10 turns of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of salt, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil

for the leeks ::

  • 2 leeks
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

for the pizza ::

  • pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
  • 4 oz of fresh mozzarella
  • toppings of choice - olives, artichokes, basil, preserved lemon, roasted garlic, etc. get creative!
instructions


for the pesto ::

  1. Add all of the ingredients except the olive oil to a food processor and pulse to combine, scraping down the sides every couple of pulses.
  2. Drizzle in the olive oil and continue to pulse until the desired consistency is reached. I prefer a smooth pesto with a little texture. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Set aside until ready to use.

for the leeks ::

  1. Prep and clean the leeks. Slice in half lengthwise, then slice into half moon slivers.
  2. In a stovetop pan, add the olive oil and bring to a medium heat. Add the sliced leeks, salt, and pepper, and stir. Saute for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally so the leeks don't stick, and until the leeks have softened and taken on some color. Remove from heat and set aside.

to assemble the pizza ::

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. I use a sheet pan, so I leave the sheet pan in the oven while it preheats to let it heat up similar to how a pizza stone would heat up.
  2. Roll out your dough to desired shape on parchment paper, this makes it easier to transfer to the hot sheet pan. I use olive oil on my hands to keep the dough from sticking while I shape it. Place shaped dough on parchment paper. Once the oven has preheated, transfer the dough on the parchment paper to the sheet pan, and parbake for about 8 - 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
  3. Top the parbaked dough with desired toppings like the pesto, vegetables, and cheese. Return to oven and bake for another 10 - 12 minutes until the cheese has melted and the dough has started to turn golden brown. For extra color, turn on the broiler for a couple minutes, but watch carefully.
  4. Remove from oven. Top with any extras like lemon juice tossed greens, enjoy!
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