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Low sodium lemon ricotta asparagus pizza

Updated: Mar 29, 2021

I love the combination of lemon and ricotta, so when Foodess posted a lemon, ricotta and asparagus tart on her Instagram page I decided to make a pizza version. She doesn't have the recipe on her website but it's a March 18, 2021 IG post. I opted for pizza because I happened to have a pizza crust ready to go. And I prefer pizza over savory tarts when it comes to salt-free cooking. The ricotta has just 55 mg of sodium per 1/4 cup, and it’s flavored with a few of my low sodium favorites like lemon zest, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, yogurt, and a touch of nutmeg. The pizza starts with my sodium-free crust, then a layer of caramelized onions (my favorite low sodium pizza topping) drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinegar, the ricotta cheese mix, and finally some fresh asparagus. This 10-inch pizza has about 75 mg of sodium total. If you have room for more sodium, a little mozzarella or Parmesan cheese would be perfect!

Servings: 1 ten-inch pizza

Sodium: About 75mg of sodium for the pizza

Time: 30 minutes, plus time for making pizza dough

Ricotta mix ingredients:

1/4 cup ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon yogurt

zest of 1 small lemon

pinch of nutmeg (optional)

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes, chopped small

Other ingredients: Low sodium pizza dough for 1 pizza - use my recipe or your favorite pizza dough

2 tablespoons caramelized onions

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

3-4 stalks of asparagus, cut into 1.5 inch pieces

1) Prepare your pizza crust and preheat the oven to 475°F. I usually have a sodium-free par-baked pizza crust ready to go in my freezer so that's what I used this time. If you're making pizza dough from scratch, consider making a few extra and throwing them in your freezer! I have notes in my pizza dough recipe on how to freeze the dough, and how to par-bake the crusts to freeze for another day. Whatever you decide to do, you need one ten-inch pizza crust to start with.

2) Mix all the "Ricotta mix ingredients" together in a small bowl and set aside. This recipe is so flexible. Use any herb that you like, fresh or dried. Skip the sun dried tomatoes if you don't like them. Add mozzarella cheese or some parmesan if you can tolerate more sodium. Substitute the tablespoon of yogurt for sour cream, or a splash of milk or cream. It's there to add a little tanginess but also to thin out the ricotta just a touch. The ricotta I use has 55 mg per 1/4 cup. Whole Foods has a brand that is 50 mg per 1/4 cup. Galbani has one that is 65 per 1/4 cup.

3) Combine the caramelized onions with the balsamic vinegar and spread on the pizza dough. I usually have caramelized onions in the refrigerator or freezer (yes, you can freeze them!) but here's a how I made them:

I make quick caramelized onions in just 30 minutes using this method I learned from America's Test Kitchen 100 Techniques: cut two onions lengthwise and transfer to a large 12-inch nonstick skillet. Add about 3 tablespoons cooking oil, and about 3/4 cup of room temperature water. Cover and cook over high heat until the water evaporates. The onions should be soft at this point. Once the water has evaporated, remove the cover and press the onions into the pan, let them sit for 30-60 seconds in the pan to brown, and then stir with a silicon spatula, scraping up the browned bits. Repeat this process of pressing the onions into the pan, waiting a minute, and then stirring until the onions are caramelized. If the onions are browning too fast, turn the heat down. And if after 60 seconds they're not browning on the edges, turn the heat up. This whole process takes about 30 minutes.

4) Add the ricotta mixture on top of the caramelized onions, and then top with asparagus. I don't blanch or otherwise cook the asparagus before I put it on the pizza. After about 10 minutes in the oven it's cooked, but still crisp. If you want your asparagus a little softer, blanch it first but make sure it's really dry before you top your pizza with it.

Bake at 475°F for about 10-15 minutes.

I tried making this pizza with whole asparagus spears on a larger pizza. It looks really nice this way, but it was hard to cut and didn't look so pretty once it was cut. But that's an option, too. Just use scissors or a very sharp knife to cut through the asparagus spears.

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