Tag Archives: vegetarian pizza

Homemade Pizza with “Sun-dried” Tomatoes

One of the best things about overflowing summer produce is the yummy surprises I find in my freezer in the fall. A couple of months ago I had tomatoes coming out my ears and decided to make some mock sun-dried tomatoes in the oven. They were so easy to do, and so delicious. Best of all, they take up a fraction of the space of whole or canned tomatoes, since you can stack them all in a freezer bag and stash them away for later.

Now, you’re probably saying, “fat lot of good this does me in the middle of fall with no garden tomatoes to be found!” Well, on one hand you are right. But on the other hand, this is a great trick to make store-bought tomatoes taste better in the fall and winter. By doing this slow bake, you get rid of the watery, mealy texture of winter tomatoes and bring out all the natural sweetness instead. For extra sweet ones, use the little grape tomatoes! Then use in your favorite pasta, omelet, salad, pizza or whatever!

As with any pizza, feel free to build your own with the ingredients and flavors you like. For this particular pie, instead of sauce I used a simple olive oil and garlic mixture, covered with sun-dried tomatoes. Then top with a scatter of your favorite toppings, some melty mozzarella, and you have a pizza to die for. For a more crispy crust, I recommend using a pizza stone, but if you don’t have one, a parchment lined cookie sheet will do the trick just fine.

Homemade pizza with "sun-dried" tomatoes

Homemade pizza with “sun-dried” tomatoes

Homemade Pizza with “Sun-dried” Tomatoes

1 ball of fresh pizza dough (you can make your own or use a pre-made dough, such as Trader Joe’s)
1 tsp. cornmeal
1 tbsp. olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. dried Italian herbs
1/2 – 3/4 cup sliced “sun-dried” tomatoes (see recipe below or use store-bought sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil)
6-7 olives, chopped up, any kind
1 cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 small shallot, sliced thinly and rings separated
1 ball (8 oz.) fresh mozzarella

Remove your ball of dough from the bag, coat in a bit of olive oil and place in a bowl with a towel over it. Let it come to room temperature and rise a bit (usually about an hour is fine). Preheat oven to 450˚ with pizza stone or pan in the oven. While the oven is preheating, prep all your toppings so you can assemble your pizza quickly.

When oven is preheated, remove the stone. Sprinkle stone with cornmeal and press out your dough into whatever shape you want your pizza to be. Since my stone is round I usually go for some sort of roundish, oblong sort of shape. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter garlic and half the herbs over the dough. Rub all around so it’s got a thin coating all over.

Layer on your toppings. I started with tomatoes to mimic “sauce”, then layered spinach, olives, shallots and then cheese on top. Sprinkle with the other half of the herbs.

Bake at 450 for 15 minutes, or until crust is crunchy on the bottom and cheese is melted and starting to brown just a bit on top. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve.

"Sun-dried" tomatoes - no sun needed!

“Sun-dried” tomatoes – no sun needed!

“Sun-dried” tomatoes – no sun needed!

Roma tomatoes
Olive oil
Sea salt (plain, or infused)
Fresh cracked pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 250˚. Line baking sheets with parchment. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise. Lay out on sheets, sliced side up. Lightly drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

All ready to pop in the oven.

All ready to pop in the oven.

Bake 3-4 hours or until slightly flattened and sun-dried looking. Let cool. Store in freezer bags, and pull out as needed.

Use tomatoes in your favorite dinner.

What are you going to put your sun-dried tomatoes on?

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Quickie Greek Pizza

It’s hard to get much quicker than this little weeknight treat.  It’s so easy I’m not sure it actually qualifies as a recipe, but here it goes anyway.

I buy hummus from a stand at farmer’s market a pretty regular basis.  With so many varieties there is always a new one to try.  But beyond the dipping extravaganza, who knew that it would work just great as a pizza topping?  Well now we know.  Combined with a pita and Greeky sorts of toppings it was just lovely.  And pretty healthy too, gotta like that!

Quickie Greek Style Pizza

Quickie Greek Pizza

Quickie Greek Pizza

1 Greek style pita
2-3 tbsp. hummus, whatever variety you like best
Kalamata olives
Sun-dried tomatoes (I usually use the kind packed in olive oil)
1 tsp. pine nuts
Feta, mozzarella or queso fresco

As you can see from my stellar measurements here, I usually don’t measure anything.  Simply spread the hummus over the pita and sprinkle toppings on in whatever quantity you like!  Crumble some cheese on top and grind a bit of pepper on top.

Now of course you could just eat it like this.  But if you want it hot and crispy, cook it!

Now of course you could just eat it like this. But if you want it hot and crispy, cook it!

For a nice crisp crust, I cooked mine right on the oven rack.  About 10 minutes at 375˚ or until it’s melted and crispy on the bottom.

If you want it less crispy, put it on a pan first and don't cook it as long.

If you want it less crispy, put it on a pan first and don’t cook it as long.

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Mini Polenta Pizzas

Polenta is one of those ingredients I forget about.  That is, until I have some and then I think, “oh yeah, I love this stuff!”.  There are two ways I really like it: one is cooked creamy, like rice or grits (although oddly, I don’t like grits), preferably loaded with some sort of creamy cheese.  The other way I love it is when it is set up solid, and then fried so it’s a little crispy on the outside.

To fry polenta, you can make it yourself and then cook it in a pan to set up solid, then cut it into pieces and pan-fry it.  Or, if you are rather lazy like me, you can buy it pre-made in a tube!  Now, usually food in a tube grosses me out, but this stuff is pretty good, without much in the way of added ingredients.  Simply remove it from the tube and slice it up into disks.  Fry or bake to your heart’s content or use it in whatever recipe strikes your fancy.

In this case, I was in the mood for pizza.  But I’m trying to eat more healthy, and also trying to cut down on gluten-heavy foods since they seem to love my hips (and why wouldn’t they?).  So the idea for using polenta disks instead of crust was born.  Since I had just broken in my new food processor by making the first batch of pesto out of my garden, I decided on pesto instead of red sauce and with a couple of fresh veggies and stretchy cheese…voila!  Pizza in a quickie, fairly healthy, bite-size form. Can I just say, I’m somewhat of a genius?

Mini Polenta Pizzas

Mini Polenta Pizzas

1 tube of pre-made polenta
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
1/2 cup basil pesto (store bought or homemade)
Fresh garden or vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
Zucchini, sliced in disks or diced
Mozzarella cheese, shredded or thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400˚.  Slice polenta into disks, about 1/2 inch thick.  Lay on a baking sheet and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Take out of the oven and smear tops with pesto.

Mmmm….pesto!

Build your pizza with your favorite toppings.  We used fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced zucchini and mozzarella cheese.

Fresh and beautiful toppings

Pop back into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and starting to brown in spots.  Remove from oven and let it sit for just a few minutes.  If you eat them when they are really hot, you’ll need a fork.  If you wait a little bit you can pick them up.  Up to you!  One tube of polenta yields about 10 mini pizzas.

Right out of the oven. And those crunchy cheese bits on the pan all got eaten too!

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