By Joanne Bruno | July 21, 2011

Photo: Joanne Bruno

It”s not easy to get some people to eat vegetables, especially children. Even through adulthood, some have just never learned to like them. Call me idealistic if you want, but I truly believethat people only say they don’t like vegetables because they haven’t had them prepared in a way that appeals to them yet.

Take escarole, for example.  I have never liked it. Not when my grandmother put it into soup with her tiny baby meatballs and a pinch of love. Not when my favorite Italian restaurant sautes it in garlic and oil. Essentially not ever. Until now.

Saute it in some balsamic, garlic, and red pepper flakes and then throw it on pizza with a hefty amount of Fontina cheese.  And suddenly all of that bitterness that I once found absolutely repulsive has now melted away into cheesy tangy slices of pizza heaven.  Delicious.

Photo: Joanne Bruno

Adapted from Deborah Madison’s The Greens Cookbook

Recipe for Pizza Dough here.

Joanne Bruno is a food writer and second year medical student.  Find more of her delicious ramblings over at her blog: Eats Well With Others.  Joanne is also training for her third marathon with Team in Training, raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  For more information or to make a donation, check out her fundraising website.

Photo: Joanne Bruno

Pizza with Escarole, Fontina and Walnuts Recipe

Servings: 4


  • 1 recipe Pizza Dough
  • 4 walnuts, cracked and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small head escarole, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • balsamic vinegar, to taste
  • a pinch red pepper flakes
  • 4 oz Fontina, grated


1. Preheat the oven to 350. Roast the walnuts in the oven for 5-6 minutes, until they are fragrant.

2. Heat 1.5 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the onion for 3-4 minutes, until it begins to soften. Stir in the garlic. Add the escarole, salt it lightly, and cover. Let the escarole cook down for 3-4 minutes. Adjust the salt and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper, vinegar, and chili flakes.

3. Preheat the oven to 500. Shape the dough. Place it on a well-floured peel or on a pizza pan. Brush it with olive oil. Distribute all but a couple of tbsp of the Fontina cheese over the dough. Cover with the escarole, the walnuts, and then the rest of the cheese.

4. Bake the pizza in the upper third of the oven for about 8-12 minutes or until the bottom of the pizza is nicely browned.

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