Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Regular Pizza Wishes It Could Taste This Good!

Good evening everyone! Last week, we featured 100% vegetarian recipes and (hopefully) showed that vegetarian is a great way to eat healthy without compromising on flavor. These recipes had me motivated to keep the trend going. Don’t worry, we’re not turning into a vegetarian cooking blog – we still very much enjoy using meat in our recipes – but the success of last week’s recipes made me eager to try my hand at a larger slice of vegetarian dishes. When I came across this week’s recipe, a vegetarian flat bread (AKA pizza) it was so unique and completely out of the ordinary from what I usually cook that I had to give it a try.

The Recipe: Caramelized Onion & White Bean Flatbread
Original Recipe Found On:

What You’ll Need:

3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Onion (Thinly sliced lengthwise)
¼ Teaspoon Salt
20 Ounces Whole Wheat Pizza Dough*
2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
½ Teaspoon Ground Pepper
15 Ounces White Beans (Canned)
3 Tablespoons Water
2 Teaspoons White Wine Vinegar
2 Plum Tomatoes (Thinly sliced)
1 Cup Smoked Cheddar Cheese (Finely shredded)
2 Tablespoons Pepitas**

* Frozen or fresh pizza dough is required here as you need to be able to work the dough onto a baking sheet. Surprisingly, our local grocery store did not have frozen pizza dough – in its place we found frozen whole wheat bread dough and will be rolling that out as needed. In a pinch, frozen bread dough will work as a nice substitute, you’re just a little more likely to have a ‘fluffier’ crust

** Pepitas are the hulled ‘meat’ of pumpkin seeds. They have a great ‘nutty’ flavor and are actually pretty easy to track down. They can likely be found either in the health market section of your grocery store, or if you’re grocery store sells bulk nuts & seeds, they would be found in that section as well.

Begin by placing your oven rack in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spary a large (non insulated) baking sheet with cooking spray. Insulated baking sheets will retain heat and mess with the browning of the bottom of your dough. Great for cookies – not great for pizza dough.

Next, combine the oil, onion and salt in a medium saucepan. Cover and cook over medium high heat until the onion softens. This should take about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir every minute or so to make sure the mixture is evenly heated. Remove the lid and reduce the heat to medium low. Stirring occasionally, allow the onions to simmer for an additional 5 to 8 minutes or until they turn a light golden brown. (Thus creating the caramelized onions named in the recipe!)

While the onions are cooking, you can begin rolling your dough into the shape of your baking sheet. On a well floured surface, slowly work the dough into an even rectangular shape, slightly less than the size of the baking sheet (the dough will expand while cooking). Transfer this dough to the baking sheet and place into the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the dough becomes lightly crisped on the edges and bottom. Remove the dough from the oven and set aside.

Add the oregano and pepper to the onion mixture. Remove about ½ of the onion from the saucepan and set aside. Add the beans to the remaining onion mixture and return the saucepan to heat. Cook the mixture until the beans are heated through (roughly 3 to 5 minutes).

Once the beans have finished cooking, add the mixture into a food processor along with the water and white wine vinegar. Pulse the mixture until it forms a nice paste. This paste will act as your ‘sauce’ for the pizza.

Spread this bean paste across the surface of your crispy pizza dough. Top the pizza with the reserved onions, sliced tomatoes, pepitas and cheddar cheese.

Return the dough to the oven and bake until the crust is a deep golden brown and the cheese has melted. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Slice up the pizza and enjoy!

The Results:

While this certainly can’t be called a pizza in a true form– I would argue that this is one of the best ‘pizza-like’ dishes I have ever had! The bean/onion sauce creates a fantastic base of flavor for the tomatoes and onions. The pepitas, an ingredient first for me (much like the lentils of last week) were surprisingly delicious. They hold a great natural nutty flavor that really complimented the smoked cheddar very well. The best part of this recipe, however, is the great aroma that will fill the apartment while you’re cooking. The smell alone is sure to draw a crowd into the kitchen. The great natural flavors of this healthy dish will keep them around! This recipe is a must try for the at home chef.

That’s all we have for you this week. Next week, we’re starting a theme month of cooking. With Thanksgiving coming up, or next two to three weeks of recipes will all be featured around the big culinary day. It’s turkey month here at Out Of The Culinary starting with next week’s recipes! It all gets started with a trip Around The Culinary World on Monday – so be sure to stop in then to see the news of the week. Until Monday,


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