Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mexican Pizza

Back when I lived in Chicago, I took several cooking classes at an amazing place that I wish would spread its wings and open up shop in other states and cities around the U.S. (Northern Virginia would be nice) because I seriously miss that place.  It was called The Chopping Block.  It was a recreational cooking school offering all sorts of classes.  I spent a whole summer attending as many as I could, loving them all.  One of my favorites, though, was the monthly course taught by a local registered dietician, Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, LDN.  For the first 25 years of my life, I never really craved or loved veggies...until I took her classes.  She quickly converted me with all the delicious and nutritious recipes she prepared for us in her classes.  As a result, I learned that veggies weren't just bitter green things that needed to be smothered in butter and cheese in order to taste good.  And today I am able to say that I love veggies, beans, greens, whole grains, and all things good for me.  Yes, miracles do happen.

That being said, this mexican pizza was one of the first recipes from Dawn that I loved at first bite.  I've made it at least 30 times, and there have been many months where I've made it every single week.  Yes, I crave it that much.  It's a pretty simple recipe for a mexican pizza, but it's delicious and on the table in 30 minutes.  Even better - you can feel good about devouring it since it's packed with nutrition. 

As for the toppings, feel free to vary them to your liking.  The hubs and I always do.  We literally divide our pizza in half by drawing a line in the sand (beans) and then we each put the toppings on our half.  Marriage is all about compromises, right?  Basically, the hubs' side gets more green onion, more jalapenos, more olives, and less tomato.

(Recipe makes 2 full pizzas as written.  Obviously just cut everything in half if you want to make 1 pizza.)

Mexican Pizza

Ingredients

  • 2 whole wheat thin crust pizza crusts (Boboli Thin Crust or Whole Foods 365 brand™)

  • 1 (16 oz.) can spicy vegetarian refried beans

  • 2 small tomatoes (I used roma), very thinly sliced

  • 6 green onions, chopped

  • 1/4 cup canned sliced black olives, drained

  • 1/2 cup pickled jalapeƱo slices (aka, “nacho" peppers)

  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar jack cheese (I'm usually all for more cheese, but too much can actually ruin the flavors here; don't be tempted to dump it on)

  • 1/2 cup salsa

  • 1 avocado, chopped


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Spread beans on pizza crust and top with tomatoes arranged in a single layer.  Top with onions, olives, peppers, and cheese.

  3. Place pizza straight on the oven rack (no baking sheet needed) and bake for 10 - 12 minutes. 

  4. Slice into wedges and top with a little bit of salsa and a few slices of avocado (These toppings are a MUST!  Do not skip this step!).




Notes:  I highly recommend sticking with a very "thin crust" pre-baked crust for this pizza.  Boboli white/regular or whole wheat thin crust is excellent.  I do not recommend a thick crust or a canned crust like the Pillsbury variety. 

*Original recipe from the very talented lady who finally convinced me that ALL veggies can be delicious, Dawn Jackson Blatner RD, LDN.

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