Most kids love pizza, so using the idea as inspiration for pizza rolls packed with greens from pesto and zucchini is a winning dinner strategy. These zucchini pesto pizza rolls are easy to make ahead and tuck into the freezer, or to make on short notice with the help of a few simple ingredients.
Pesto is one of my secret nutrition weapons because while we don't tend to think of it as being a vegetable, it's actually packed with the same vitamins as other leafy greens. (Plus all of that heart-healthy olive oil!) You can use store-bought pesto here or make your own from basil, parsley, or even kale or spinach. It adds ample flavor — that adult taste buds will enjoy immensely — and moisture to the pizza dough.
If you're unsure as to whether the kids will go for pesto, know that the other pizza flavors will likely smooth the way and make it less scary — but you can also use pizza sauce here if you prefer. With concentrated tomatoes, it can count as a veggie too!
The thin layers of zucchini almost melt into the dough, making them a subtle and kid-friendly addition. We can't guarantee that your kids won't notice it (they probably will!) but we're crossing our fingers that they're too mesmerized by the cheesy rolls to care. Try yellow squash for a simple variation or even a layer of baby spinach leaves. Go slowly when rolling up the dough to make sure that the toppings stay where you placed them and know that you may need to adjust them a bit as you go.
And a note about the pizza dough: You can absolutely make your own should you remember with enough time, but store-bought pizza dough was made for quick dinners like this one. Trader Joe's usually has it for a little over $1, so pick up a few extra and tuck them into the freezer for future weeks!
Veggie-Packed Dinners For Little Eaters and Hungry Parents
Maybe you aren't going for anything too extreme when it comes to New Year's resolutions, and that's something we can get behind. A positive change (like ensuring there's a big produce moment in every meal) doesn't have to be complicated — especially when you've also got little mouths to feed. With that in mind, we're sharing five-ingredient dinners that put the focus on veggies, keep the kiddos happy, and ensure the parents are well-fed too. Here's to a simpler way to do dinner!
Zucchini Pesto Pizza Rolls
1 pound pizza dough, thawed if frozen
1/2 cup basil pesto
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup marinara sauce, warmed
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Meanwhile, let the dough sit out a room temperature while the oven is heating. Coat the wells of a standard 12-well muffin tin with cooking spray.
Place the dough on a work surface and use your hands or a rolling pin to stretch it into an 11x16-inch rectangle. Spread the pesto evenly on the dough. Place the zucchini slices evenly over the pesto, then sprinkle evenly with the cheese.
Starting at a long end, roll the dough up into a tight log. Place on a cutting board seam-side down. Cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick rounds.
Place a round cut-side up into each muffin well. Bake until golden-brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Serve with the marinara sauce.
Storage: Leftover rolls can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. The pizza rolls can also be frozen for up to 3 months in the freezer in a zip-top freezer bag. Reheat in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds.