Like most families mine has a few, well many food traditions. As far back as I can remember pizza was the go to dinner on Friday night! My earliest pizza memories of pizza at home consisted of the Chef boyardee box mix and using hot dogs as pepperoni, it was just Mom and 3 kids, we did what we did and now that could be considered a gourmet pizza! Next came home-made crust and sauce that my Mom would make every summer. Out would come the pans for 3 pizzas! My step Dad had his own, which was simply pizza crust, sauce, cooked hamburger, velveeta cheese, a little mozzarella salt and pepper. The rest was full of pepperoni and veggies for mom and the kids. Cooked to perfection with crispy crust. These piping hot pies would be served up with a soda no less and some Friday night TV watching… I’ll hold back on telling the shows as that gives a few tips on my aging process 🙂 Of course college and pizza was a go to staple and along with it came the freshman 15! As a single girl I have spent a few Friday nights ordering a pizza and eating the whole thing! Thankful that some things have changed, like finding a good balance in my pizza!
This past Friday I had no real plans other than to finally watch “The Hobbit.” As a veghead pizza can be tricky. Pizza is supposed to be easy, no fuss throw together enjoy kind of meal! I had faced a pizza dilemma. I wanted pizza, but gone are the delivery days, and going out for a gluten free, no cheese frozen wasn’t an option. I was hungry. I didn’t feel like making a crust and since it was Friday the veg bin in the fridge was tipping toward empty, CSA pick up is Saturday morning.
My brain kicked into gear and what developed is not so much a recipe but a guideline for a quick pizza that came together in under 45 minutes with fresh ingredients, no Chef Boyardee , velvetta or tin can sauce here.
For my crust I used a sprouted grain tortilla from Ezekiel brand http://www.foodforlife.com/product/tortillas/ezekiel-49-sprouted-whole-grain-tortillas These tortilla are a little more sturdy than the typical flour kind, which actually stood in well for a gluten-free crust. It held up well, becoming nice and crisp on the edges when cooked.
As I looked at my red pepper, tomatoes, and onion I realized I had no sauce. I opted to cut up my veggies and roast them to bring out some deep charred sweet flavors. I sliced the onion, red pepper in thin slices and opted for more of a pie slice on the tomato put them all on a parchment lined pan and in the oven for about 30 minutes on 450 degrees.
While these bad boys were growing some char on them I decided to whip up a walnut pesto for my pizza base. My basil plant on the patio was the inspiration for this. Grabbing off a handful (about a cup or more) of leaves throwing them in the food processor with about 1/2 cup of walnuts, about 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, a clove or so of garlic to taste, salt, pepper and squeeze of half a lemon, I blizzed this up in the food processor with the s blade until the consistency of pesto.
I spread the pesto mess on the tortilla shell. I found the remnants of a bag of spinach, placed that on next then creatively, lol :), placed the roasted veggies on top, sprinkled a little dried oregano on and perfecta. All this went back in the oven on my pizza stone (this was in the oven the whole time while veggies were roasting, so it was adequately warmed) for about 10 minutes! By this time my mouth was sufficiently watering.
It was so pretty when I took it out, but of course I started eating before I could snap a photo! The one last little bit of goodness that was added… cashew parm sprinkle, which I already has some made in the fridge. This simply is 1/4 cup cashews, 2 TBS of nutritional yeast, dash of sea salt and mixed in a food processor till it is the consistency of parmesan cheese.The picture really doesn’t capture the char on the veggies or the warmth and depth of flavor that this added to my impromptu pizza! I posted this pic on Facebook and I used walla instead of Viola! as an expression.The comments that followed were quite amusing as friends were trying to figure out what walla was as in an ingredient that I might have discovered, made up… you know! 🙂
As I settled in to watch “The Hobbit” with my personal pizza, knowing I would eat the whole thing and not have a shred of guilt from all its goodness… I reflected a little on my pizza journey evolution!
Life really is good. I am grateful for the memories a good little pizza brings up! Our family still has pizza night. Last year when we were all at together at a lake house, there was the make your own pizza night! I guess that is what I am suggesting here for you all whether single or a whole house full, pizza night can be a fun way to get the whole gang into playing with their food and having a gourmet, at home pizza night! Make it easy on yourself and go the tortilla route for the crust and then set out an array of ingredients. Keep it simple and fun, through in a movie, create tradition and fun on the fly. Not to mention how much $$$ you will save!
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.”