Sunday, February 25, 2007

Tex-Mex Pizza

I whipped up this "Tex-Mex" pizza one night just before the cover photo shoot. It was a week of quick and convenient dinners for the most part - pizza was an obvious choice. But, I wanted some protein on that pie, and refried beans accepted the role.

I started with a whole-wheat pizza shell, layered on some refried beans topped with a little seasoned tomato sauce (though salsa would have been great too), sprinkled those layers with chopped parsley, followed by strips of roasted red peppers, and then topped the lot off with some vegan cheese.

I used Follow Your Heart cheese this time, even though we don't eat a lot of this vegan cheese. It's a bit odd. It claims to melt very well, but I have found that it only melts well if baked at a very high heat or under the broiler. Also, as it cools, it gets a bit waxy again. I like the taste with some things, but not everything, and so we don't eat it a lot (it's also very $$ here). We much prefer Vegan Rella for most things, and our girls love Vegan Rella (and do not like Follow Your Heart brand). I think the reason I like Vegan Rella, is not because it tastes like dairy cheese. Because, believe me, it doesn't!! It doesn't melt like dairy cheese either... it melts in a sticky fashion. But, still, I like it for its own sake. Sort of how I like carob for its own sake, and don't try to pretend it's chocolate. Sure, we use Vegan Rella to make 'grilled cheese' sandwiches or to top burritos, but we like it for the added texture and sometimes the fattiness it gives to a meal - not because we are wanting cheese per se. Make sense? I know people are disappointed with vegan cheeses when they first try them, but that's because they are expecting them to have the taste/texture of dairy cheese, and they don't. I don't encourage new vegans to use a vegan cheese to make up for the dairy cheese they no longer eat. Once they are immersed in the diet for some time and aren't 'missing' cheese any more, I might suggest they try out some brands of vegan cheese, just for some fun with their meals. Their palates will have changed and they (hopefully) can accept the vegan cheese as just another food that can add dimension and variety to their meals.

I'm done with that ramble now.

After baking the pizza (shown here on my pizza stone), I cut an avocado into small cubes and dotted those over the top of the pie. We drizzled our slices with... well, what do you think... yep, a slurry of balsamic and flax oil.

Oh, a note about balsamic vinegar. And vinegars in general. Look at your labels. Try to buy varieties that do not contain sulfites (usually organic, but not always). Sulfites are preservatives, and we don't need to eat them... and some people have allergic reactions to sulfites. Also check other foods like jars of sun-dried tomatoes (in oil) and roasted red peppers, they too can have sulfites.

Back to the Tex-Mex Pizza. I'll do this one again... no recipe needed, quick and yummy, and quite filling. Next time I might do half and half tomato sauce and salsa, and also add some corn. I love mixing things up with pizzas - you can really get creative and play around with ingredients and flavors. Fun stuff!


Anonymous said...

Hi Dreena

Your pizza looks wonderful, what a good idea with lots og yummy things on it!

I was wondering if you have a vegan bran muffin recipe that you use and like, and would like to share!?


Twisted Cinderella said...

Looks wonderful, yummy and filling!

*a* said...

Yum! I'd never even considered refried beans on pizza! I use hummus so why not refried? Great idea, Dreena!
Cheese is one thing I still miss. I hadn't tried any kind of vegan cheese until I found "sheese" from Scotland. I usually only have a small amount at a time - and not very frequently because of my (ahem) issues with soy - but it does serve me very well when I just really just want cheese!
Thanks for another great post!

laura jesser said...

That sounds great, and we eat refried beans and salsa so much that this would be an excellent way to mix it up a bit! I agree completely with your comments about vegan cheese--you can't think of it as a "cheese substitute" or you'll be disappointed. And about FYH not melting... grr. It melts slightly better than tofu would melt! I would love to have a chance to try Vegan Rella sometime, but I have never seen it available around here.

Anonymous said...

The pizza looks delish. I recently made a batch of your chili (Vive) and we used it for today's taco lunch. Yum!
Regarding the vegan cheese, I'm not a fan. I agree with you that it doesn't taste or have the texture of dairy cheese. As for the balsamic vinegar, I recently bought some and was shocked at the awful ingredients it contained. That's what happens when you're shopping with a 2 year old that wants to "help" and a newborn who may wake up for a feed any minute. :-)
Sweet Pea
P.S. I also made your tofu balls and mushroom risotto (from Everyday) recently and was amazed at how good they both tasted!

Anonymous said...

We just discovered a company called Veggie Gourment (100% vegan). We tried the "smoked wheat" product tonight and I was blown away by the taste and texture. Excellent!
Sweet Pea

Cherie said...

Excellent photo. I love the avocados on top.

Kristen said...

I have been looking to get beans on pizza in some way or another for a while now...I'm going to try this tonight!

raising_kahne said...

Ow wow, this is comfort city! I bet this really hit the spot.mmm

I am going absolutely crazy with all this new yumminess. especially the maple butter cream Leslie seems to adore. That will be the first thing I try in the new book. It looks so great!

scottishvegan said...

The pizza looks great, especially with the avocado on top! That’s really interesting about the sulfites. My husband won’t eat anything I make that has balsamic vinegar in it because he always feels unwell after. I checked the bottle and it does contain sulfites. I will need to look in to the subject a bit more. Thanks for the info!

Kristen said...

So I said I was going to make this last night, and I did! I used roasted corn salsa instead of tomato sauce, cilantro instead of parsley and Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack instead of Nacho (or was it Cheddar...the orange ones look the same!). It was so good! Thanks Dreena!

Dreena said...

Thanks everyone for your input and comments!

Anonymous, you know, you're the second to ask that in just the past month or so. I don't have a bran muffin recipe that I use or refer to, and up until this last month I hadn't thought of working on one! (Partly because most of my muffin and baked good recipes now are wheat-free, but I could always look at doing an oat bran muffin). I may not get to developing a recipe in time for this next book, but if I come up with a decent recipe, I'll post about it.

Hi Aimee, I've heard a lot about that "sheese", and that it's freakishly similar to dairy cheese. I haven't seen it here, and it's $10 US to order from Vegan Essentials, which is way pricey for us here in Canada with shipping and exchange... I do hope it hits our stores sometime soon, I'm SO curious about it! Good luck with your pizza!!

Hi Laura, wow, I'm surprised that you aren't able to get Vegan Rella in your area - yeah, you'd probably like it - it definitely melts MUCH better!!

Hi Sweet Pea! Been there with the frazzled grocery shopping - how many times I've even scanned the ingredients on something, only to bring the item home and check the ingredients again to find they include whey or egg whites, and have to return it! How very nice to read that you liked those recipes... once I finish testing out these new recipes, I'm going to get back to photographing and blogging about some of my 'older' recipes from TEV and Vive... I love the neat balls and haven't made them for years now! Thanks again...

Thanks Raising, I want to get these recipes out too!!! :)

Scottishvegan, sulfites are definitely irritating for some people - and highly allergenic for some folks. Look for a high quality balsamic vinegar or an organic variety to try. Also, beware that dried fruits often contain sulfites. For example, the brightly orange-colored apricots - have sulfites. Organic, sulfite-free apricots are dark, dark brown. Usually organic products are sulfite-free, but it's always wise to check the label. You're welcome... and good luck with the vinegar.

Cool Kristen!! Awesome, I'm so glad you liked it. Easy too, huh? I LOVE your substitutions - sounds better than my own here - a little smokier and spicier... yummy!! Thanks for the note. :)

Peace, Love and Veganism said...

How funny - I just made a chili (from Isa's book) and topped it with cheddar Vegan Gourmet cheese, and my husband and I were saying the very same thing! Vegan cheese disappoints if you're looking for a "real cheese" experience, but now that I haven't eaten it for so long, I don't care! I like it for its own sake :)

Thordur Mocan said...

Wow,Thanks very Cool pizza