I invented this recipe as a teenager on one of those nights when my parents’ hectic career kept them too busy to cook for me and my little brother. I was unaware that anyone else might have named a dish ‘Mexican Pizza.’ All I knew was that it was easy to make and oh! so tasty. My original version was made with ground beef that I seasoned with fennel, achiote, paprika, Mexican oregano and basil. Now, I omit the meat, but there are many choices of meat or vegetarian alternatives you can choose to include. Just to reassure you, the pizza is completely satisfying without meat.
I have seen Mexican pizzas that have a double tortilla crust, but this recipe only calls for one layer. Who needs all those carbs? Since I try to avoid wheat, I have used rice tortillas. They come out nicely crisped after a short trip to the oven. Recently, I have taken the wheat plunge and made my pizzas with garlic naan and Tortillaland 5 ingredient natural tortillas. Even pita bread will work. It’s really up to you.
The best thing about this recipe is that it lets you be creative. You can pile the veggies on the bean and cheese topped crust, and that’s what makes this such a healthy treat – delicious raw vegetables. I have never measured anything when I make this, so just follow along and use your best judgment.
Each pizza is meant to serve 1 person, but if that seems like too much for one, split it with your favorite meal companion. This recipe makes 2 pizzas.
Mexican Pizza Recipe:
1 cup ‘refried’ beans
1 cup shredded cheese (I use Oaxaca cheese, but cheddar, Monterey Jack or a Mexican blend will do)
2 Roma tomatoes, diced (or 1 large heirloom tomato)
1 avocado, sliced into chunks
4-6 scallions, diced
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
Shredded lettuce or cabbage, to taste
Salsa, to taste
3-4 shakes of dried Mexican oregano
3-4 shakes of dried basil
1 heaping teaspoon of minced garlic
3 – 4 shakes of dried comino (cumin)
3 shakes of fennel seed
Paprika or Achiote powder, to taste
1 medium tortilla per person
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place tortilla on a baking sheet. It’s easier to remove the tortilla once cooked if you line the sheet with baking or parchment paper.
3. Spread 1/2 cup ‘refried’ beans on each tortilla just as you would tomato sauce on a pizza crust.
4. Sprinkle the spices (oregano, basil, garlic, fennel, comino) on top of the beans.
5. Spread a layer of cheese (1/2 cup) over the beans. Sprinkle the cheese with paprika or achiote.
6. Place in the heated oven for about 5 minutes.
7. While your pizza is cooking, chop the vegetables to use as topping. (Of course you could do this before cooking, but I never do.)
8. After 5 minutes, remove the pizzas from the oven and let cool for about 2-3 minutes.
9. Use a spatula to help transfer each pizza to its own plate. Just slide the spatula under one side, and pick up the other side with your hand or a fork. Have the plate waiting very close by. Otherwise, your begging pet may get dinner before you do.
10. Load up those pizzas with all the lovely vegetables you chopped and diced and shredded. Go for it! It’s like a salad with some beans and a tortilla underneath. It doesn’t matter what order, just pile it on!
11. You can use a pizza cutter to create slices, or just use a fork and dig in. Enjoy!
Notes: You can add even more veggies. Don’t be shy. Zucchini, nopales (cactus paddles), other types of chiles (such as serranos, pasillas or Anaheims,) olives, red cabbage and even mushrooms will blend right in. Take chances! Add stuff!
If you are eating vegan, substitute rice cheese or another appropriate substitute. My ‘refried’ beans are made with a touch of coconut oil.
If you use Tortillaland tortillas, they cook in 60 seconds on a hot unprepared skillet, flipping once. Follow the directions on the package. If you make your tortillas from scratch, you are my hero!