It was a miserably rainy evening in New York City when I stopped by my local Trader Joe's to replenish my vacant fridge with too-heavy bags of fresh produce. My stomach was empty and, knowing me, I'll spend my entire life's savings if I don't stay clear of the frozen section. Alas, I steered my cart down the aisle anyway. After looking longingly at the empty cauliflower gnocchi bin, something caught my sad eye: butternut squash pizza crust.
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If you also shop at Trader Joe's, you're likely familiar with its store-brand cauliflower and broccoli/kale pizza crusts. It appears that sometime in November, butternut squash joined the lineup too. With a cart full of things that will probably go bad before I eat them, I added the crust to my arsenal and set out to make a delicious home-cooked Italian meal.
Trader Joe's butternut squash pizza crust is made with just seven ingredients: butternut squash (which makes up 50% of the recipe), cornflour, water, cornstarch, potato starch, olive oil and salt. One slice, or one sixth of the crust, is just 60 calories (20 less than its cauliflower counterpart) with 0 grams of fat, 150 milligrams of sodium and 14 grams of carbs. It's gluten free, but it's not keto and it's not vegan because it might contain traces of milk.
Making it is really easy. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and place the frozen crust on a parchment-lined sheet pan. I put it on the pan unprotected and it stuck in several places, but with the help of a little olive oil, it still turned out OK. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes on each side before adding your toppings. I used tomato, tomato/garlic sauce, sweet onion, spinach, fresh mozzarella, salt and pepper. Just pop that under the broiler for about five more minutes and you're done.
I only ate two slices of this small to medium-sized pizza because (please don't judge me) I practically inhaled Brie and crackers while I waited for it to cook. So, my roommates ate the other four slices and one said, "I swore off bread as a result of the crust. It was really that good," adding that, "the generous amount of fresh mozzarella is a necessity." She really loves fresh mozzarella.
The other said she felt like she was benefiting from eating the pizza rather than feeling guilty, like she sometimes does with traditional crust. It's light, but it's not paper-thin, and you can put a decent amount of toppings on without it becoming too heavy and making the crust flop, dumping everything onto the head of your begging dog.
"It added depth to the flavor of the pizza," she said. It doesn't taste exactly like bread, but it's not supposed to. It doesn't have the same mouthfeel as squishy butternut squash either. It's a happy medium. It feels healthy and it pretty much is. Half the recipe is butternut squash and the remaining six ingredients are completely recognizable. You could technically make this at home if you really wanted to.
It's probably most important to note that although this is a gluten-free product, it doesn't taste gluten free. Plus, it costs just $4.29 - but that's not the only item you can score on the cheap at this cult-favorite grocery store. Of all the things you may want to buy at Trader Joe's, here are 15 of the best finds you can get for less than $5.