Kimchi Pizza

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Kimchi isn’t only used as a topping in this Kimchi Pizza, which has a smoky and deeply layered kimchi pizza sauce that is topped with burrata cheese, kimchi, asparagus, and freshly sliced radishes.

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I’m not simply putting kimchi on top of a pizza and calling it a Kimchi Pizza in this recipe. Nope. I love that, but I want more. I’m talking about the works. The pizza sauce has kimchi incorporated into it AND I use kimchi as a topping.

I have so much love for this Kimchi Pizza but I have to admit the sauce is the star. It’s amazing and so versatile. I’m turning it into a Tomato Vodka Cream Sauce next week.

Kimchi isn’t only used as a topping in this Kimchi Pizza, which has a smoky and deeply layered kimchi pizza sauce that is topped with burrata cheese, kimchi, asparagus, and freshly sliced radishes | www.megiswell.com

Kimchi Pizza

Kimchi was on my mind one day (I had just finished making a batch) when I clicked on a link I saw on Twitter from Food and Wine about how to make a kimchi marinara sauce.

That led me to wonder what the difference is between marinara sauce and pizza sauce, which led me to this Serious Eats article and recipe by Kenji López-Alt on New York style pizza sauce.

Which led me to (finally) make a pizza sauce I love by combining the techniques from both recipes.

The kimchi adds a layered and smoky flavor that reminds me of fire-roasted tomatoes. I made two different pizzas with it.

Vegetarian Kimchi Pizza

The first pizza I made was a vegetarian one. I used:

  • Burrata cheese
  • Kimchi
  • Kimchi pickled asparagus (asparagus pickled in a kimchi seasoned cucumber brine)
  • Fresh asparagus
  • Sliced radishes

It’s the one I photographed. And it was delicious. The pizza sauce adds some savory and spicy heat while the veggies provide a light freshness.

Kimchi isn’t only used as a topping in this Kimchi Pizza, which has a smoky and deeply layered kimchi pizza sauce that is topped with burrata cheese, kimchi, asparagus, and freshly sliced radishes | www.megiswell.com

Pepperoni Kimchi Pizza

The second pizza, a pepperoni, isn’t pictured because I didn’t think it was going to taste that good. I rolled out the crust thinner than normal and I thought the pepperoni would compete too much with the sauce.

It had:

  • Burrata cheese
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Pepperoni

I wanted to be good and like the vegetarian pizza better but I kept going back for the pepperoni.

The extra-thin crust, pepperoni grease, and sharp cheddar cheese brought all the flavors together and made the sauce taste even better. I felt like I had just bought a slice at a pizzeria at 2 o’clock in the morning after bar hopping.

Kimchi isn’t only used as a topping in this Kimchi Pizza, which has a smoky and deeply layered kimchi pizza sauce that is topped with burrata cheese, kimchi, asparagus, and freshly sliced radishes | www.megiswell.com

Experiment With Your Pizza Toppings

Experiment with the toppings: do your own thing. Pizza is great for using your leftover veggies (or even fruit) that are about to go bad. Sometimes the combos you don’t think are going to work end up being your new favorites.

Kimchi isn’t only used as a topping in this Kimchi Pizza, which has a smoky and deeply layered kimchi pizza sauce that is topped with burrata cheese, kimchi, asparagus, and freshly sliced radishes | www.megiswell.com

Surgery Recovery

I’m still in the hospital from having my colon removed as well as a j-pouch and stoma created and the only tube they’ve gotten rid of is the oxygen. Here’s a breakdown of the events so far:

Surgery Prep

  • Thursday I spent the day chugging the colyte prep until 11:30 pm and then I chugged 48 ounces of water. I waited until 12 am to take a shower and then set an alarm for an hour later to wipe myself down with special pre-surgery wipes (they left me feeling very sticky).
  • I didn’t get much sleep after that because the colyte prep finally kicked in.
  • My mom and dad drove me to Walnut Creek at 4:30 am on Friday, while I sat concentrating really hard on not having to go to the bathroom.
  • I got checked into what they called the Recovery Room, where they prepared me for surgery and I got to meet everyone who was going to be in the operating room working on me. This is where it started to get hectic. There were 19 surgeries scheduled for that day. It was very high energy and as I was rolled into my operating room I could definitely see how surgeons are sometimes considered the rock stars of the medical world. That’s about all I remember.

The Surgery

  • The first incision was at 9:00 am and the surgery lasted until 2:00 pm. I didn’t wake up until 3:30 pm which is when I found out they had to give me a stoma. My surgeon didn’t want to risk doing the whole surgery at once with the amount of prednisone I was on. This means that in 2 to 4 months I will be undergoing another, shorter, surgery to reattach everything together.

After the Surgery

  • I’m in a lot of pain. There’s no way around it. Monday was the first day where I was able to sit up and type but I barely got anything done before I started to get tired again. Later things slid more downhill. They decided to try to take the catheter out but I couldn’t go pee. Only blood was coming out. My bladder got really big and it set off all my other surgery aches and pains. My nurse put the catheter back in pronto and I spent the rest of the day in agony. I finally gave in and took some narcotics to help with the pain. I also had to get a new IV put in because my hand had started to swell up.
  • #1 Lesson Learned: I highly underestimated how hard recovery was going to be.

5 from 2 votes

Kimchi Pizza

Kimchi isn’t only used as a topping in this Kimchi Pizza, which has a smoky and deeply layered kimchi pizza sauce that is topped with burrata cheese, kimchi, asparagus, and freshly sliced radishes.
Servings 2 (10-inch) pizzas
Prep Time 1 hr 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins

Ingredients

Kimchi Pizza Sauce

  • 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes packed in juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 cup diced napa cabbage kimchi
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1 yellow onion peeled and sliced half
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste

Kimchi Pizza

  • Favorite pizza crust
  • Burrata cheese
  • Napa cabbage kimchi
  • Chopped asparagus or chopped pickled asparagus kimchi
  • Sliced cherry radishes

Instructions

Kimchi Pizza Sauce

  • In a medium saucepan, add the olive oil and butter and heat on medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, add the garlic, kimchi, and pinch of salt and cook until soft and golden (about 5 minutes).
  • Add tomatoes and sugar and stir. Blend with an immersion blender until the sauce is still slightly chunky but the whole tomatoes are mostly broken up. Add the onion halves and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 hour.
  • Discard onion halves. Puree the rest together using an immersion blender until the desired consistency is reached (or transfer everything to a food processor or blender to puree). Season with 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste).

Kimchi Pizza

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Whatever pizza crust you are using, use your fingers to press little dimples all throughout the rolled out crust. Use a pastry brush to brush olive oil across the surface. Sprinkle with Kosher salt.
  • Spread a 1/2 to 1 cup of the Kimchi Pizza Sauce on the crust (just enough to create a thin layer across the crust-you don’t want it too heavy). How much you use will depend on how big your pizza crust is too.
  • Place the burrata on top of the pizza sauce. I split the balls apart with my hands and dotted them across the pizza. The burrata I bought came with 8 balls so I used 4 for each pizza.
  • Top with some napa cabbage kimchi, pickled or fresh asparagus, and sliced radishes.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is starting to bubble and get golden spots.

Notes

This recipe is adapted from Kay Chun’s “Kimchi Marinara Sauce”from Food and Wine and J. Kenji López-Alt’s “New York Style Pizza Sauce”from Serious Eats.
You can make the Kimchi Pizza Sauce on a different day to cut down the time you spend in the kitchen. It makes about 3.5 to 4 cups.
If you don’t have an immersion blender then puree the tomatoes in a food processor or blender before you add them to the saucepan with the kimchi.
Use whatever toppings you want or what you have in your fridge that is about to go bad.
I also made another pizza with burrata, pepperoni, and some shredded sharp cheddar cheese that was really really good (it was actually my favorite) if you want to try a meaty version.
I used cubed radish kimchi and regular napa cabbage kimchi but I actually ended up picking the cubed radish kimchi off. The flavor overpowered everything else.
Author: Megan Wells
Course: Main Dishes
Kimchi isn’t only used as a topping in this Kimchi Pizza, which has a smoky and deeply layered kimchi pizza sauce that is topped with burrata cheese, kimchi, asparagus, and freshly sliced radishes | Homemade | Pizza Sauce Recipe | Vegetarian | #kimchipizza |www.megiswell.com
Kimchi isn’t only used as a topping in this Kimchi Pizza, which has a smoky and deeply layered kimchi pizza sauce that is topped with burrata cheese, kimchi, asparagus, and freshly sliced radishes | Homemade | Pizza Sauce Recipe | Vegetarian | #kimchipizza |www.megiswell.com
Kimchi isn’t only used as a topping in this Kimchi Pizza, which has a smoky and deeply layered kimchi pizza sauce that is topped with burrata cheese, kimchi, asparagus, and freshly sliced radishes | Homemade | Pizza Sauce Recipe | Vegetarian | #kimchipizza |www.megiswell.com

Join the Conversation

  1. Ok, I’m hungry now! This pizza looks so good!!!

  2. 5 stars
    Megan, I’m so glad that you’re back. I’m so sorry that recovery is going so rough… I’ve been thinking about you and sending good vibes all week. Hopefully the pain will ease soon. Just know that we’re all here for you to lean on. <3 In the meantime, I seriously can't believe that you're still posting! Especially such incredible creations like this kimchi pizza. Why am I not surprised that you incorporated this deliciousness so thoroughly throughout this recipe? Of course you wouldn't just top the pizza with kimchi! 😉 Hoping you have a fast recovery. Keep us posted! xo

    1. Thanks Demeter for all the good vibes! I did have to take a little break but now I’m back-the healing process has gotten a lot easier (must be all the positive well wishes from everyone ❤️).

  3. Sending you huge hugs to your hospital bed, Megan. I promise I won’t squeeze. I’m glad everything went well, and I hope all the pain you have will be gone soon. I hope a speedy recovery for you. xoxo

    1. Thank you for the hugs Pang!

  4. Im glad your surgery is over (for now). Keep resting and healing up! Also this looks amazing- kimchi all the things! (I didn’t know the difference in those two sauces either- I need to read those articles!)

    1. I’m glad it’s over too and thank you!

  5. I never would have thought to put kimchi on pizza, but I’m intrigued! But Mmm that pizza looks amazing! Such awesome flavors going on, definitely gotta try it!!

    1. Thanks Helen, I’m glad it intrigues you (kimchi is a pretty intriguing ingredient)!

  6. 5 stars
    Hey girl! I’m glad that the surgery went well, although I’m sorry to hear you are in so much pain. Wishing you a speedy recovery and don’t feel bad about using some pain medicine if you need it. Ans I am super impressed that you got a blog post up despite everything that you are going through! This pizza looks amazing. Love that creative use of kimchi!

    1. Thanks for the well wishes Meghan! I’m glad I managed to get this post out!

  7. Oh Meg I can’t imagine what you are going through at the moment! I guess at least the hardest few days post-op are over now – hopefully it is just onwards and upwards, and the second surgery won’t be as difficult. Hope you are feeling better and all the best for your recovery.

    On another note, this pizza look amazing! I love that you used kimchi and cabbage for a Korean twist. I still haven’t made kimchi before but you are making me feel like I have to give it a go!

    1. Thank you so much Claudia! I finally feel like I’m on the mend. Give kimchi a go! It’s so much fun to make.

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