It’s pizza night! Does it get any more “American” than that? Well, I guess that depends on whether you’re craving pizza, hotdogs, or hamburgers. But tonight, we’re craving pizza. And rather than ordering delivery, we’re gonna get artsy with this Italian-American fare.
This recipe takes inspiration from a friend who had given me some tips on how to make an easy pizza with fresh ingredients. You can find Valarie’s gourmet recipes featured at the Center for Nutrition Studies, with the beautiful use of whole plant ingredients without the use of oil. She likes to use the Ezekiel brand flatbread or tortilla as the crust. I like this brand because the grains are sprouted, which provides a lot of wholesome nutrients that are more bioavailable to our digestion. She also uses an almond-based cheese spread that is a friendly dairy-free alternative. The great thing about using these ingredients is that they are easy to get and will get you in and out of the kitchen in a jiffy, while also providing wholesome goodness to you and family. Using whole foods can coexist with “quick and convenient” and be delicious! Sound to good to be true? Give it a try and just maybe, you’ll be a believer. 😉
Mushroom Sauce for 2 pizzas:
2 Ezekiel tortillas or crusts of your choice (I used a 6 grain Tuscan flatbread)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1/3 cup of chopped walnuts
small container of cheese spread (I have here, a 6 oz container of French-style cashew cheese, garlic and herb flavored)
5 oz baby arugula (and/or spinach)
6 oz can tomato paste
1 Tsp oregano
1 Tsp marjoram (or just use another Tsp of oregano)
1/2 Tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 Tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper
avocado oil for sauteing*
extra virgin olive oil for leafy greens*
onion peach jalepeno jam*
*I highly recommend making this jam a day or more ahead. It will save you time in the kitchen. Alternatively, if you can find a jar of onion jam, get bold and try it. When time is available to make sauces and jams at home, I prefer to do this to have more control of the quality of ingredients. As you will see in future posts, there are many uses for this jam, including gifting to those special to you.*
I think using fresh herbs elevates the flavors in any sauce, but having dried on hand can save you in a pinch if the fresh herbs you need are not available at your store. Applying the dried herbs to heat before adding the tomato will bring out the flavors.
Preheat your oven according to your crust instructions or to 400 if using Ezekiel tortillas. In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, warm oil and add onions and walnuts. Add about an 1/8 Tsp salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring every minute. Add mushrooms and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring about every minute. Add your herbs, spices, and cook for about a minute. Add the can of tomato paste, fill the empty can with water and add to the mix, stirring until the paste becomes a thick sauce. Add 1/4 Tsp salt and pepper to the sauce and simmer over low heat for at least 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix your leafy greens with 1 Tsp virgin oil* and 1/8 Tsp salt and pepper.
To your crust, spoon sauce thinly or thickly, making sure to leave a good 1/2 inch or more of free crust space around the edges. Slice or spoon thin layers of cheese onto your sauce, pretty evenly. You want to make sure every bite has a bit of cheese! 🙂 Sprinkle a handful or two of leafy greens over the cheese. And finally, drizzle this decadent onion jam over your leafy greens. I used about 3 small spoonfuls, but the amount is up to you. Bake according to your pizza crust’s instructions or 5 to 8 minutes if using Ezekiel tortillas (check halfway through to test crispiness). You don’t want to burn this baby.
What I love about this concept is that it is so versatile! The sauce, you can tinker with to your preferences. Think of it as a base to get you started. The creamy cheese works well with the sauce and leafy greens, giving bitefuls of that satisfying texture and satiation. The leafy greens are wilted to perfection, adding a nutritional boost to your pizza cravings. Think of it as a green dip on a slice. 🙂 And that drizzle… the final compliment to this pie is a savory sweet glistening that pairs beautifully with all your ingredients. It compliments the greens, the cheese, and the sauce, eloquently. It’s sure to impress who you’re feeding – most especially, your taste buds.
Enjoy your art and may you live well!