Deep Dish Mexican Pizza

Before I went vegan, Taco Bell’s mexican pizza was a staple of my diet. Lucky for me, there are a million DIY recipes for such pizza on the Web. But I wanted something a little bit different, so instead of using flour tortillas, I decided to use a polenta pie crust and bake it like a pie. The results of my experiment were delicious! I hope you enjoy it too.

Deep Dish Mexican Pizza

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 c cold water
  • 2 c boiling water
  • 1/4 tsp. olive oil (optional)

Refried Beans

  • 1 3/4 c cooked and drained pinto beans (or one 10-oz can)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small can diced green chiles, drained
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste

Taco Meat

  • 1 c (or more) "beef" crumbles (see notes)
  • 1 tsp. taco seasoning (see notes)

Cheeze and Garnishes

  • 2 c grated "cheeze" (see notes)
  • 1/2 c taco sauce
  • 1/2 c crumbled tortilla chips (packaged or make your own for less fat)
  • 1/2 c chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 c sliced green onions
  • 1/4 c black olives
  • 1/4 c sliced jalapeƱo peppers (optional)
  • 1/4 c vegan sour cream (optional)

Instructions

Make the polenta crust

  1. Stir cornmeal, cold water and salt together in a bowl.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the two cups of water to a boil, then gradually whisk in the cornmeal mixture.
  3. Turn heat to low and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until very thick. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. When mixture is cool enough to handle, use a spatula or your clean hands to press the mixture in a smooth layer on the bottom and sides of a 9-inch, non-stick pie pan. Alternatively, use a regular pie pan that you have lightly oiled with olive oil.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375F, brush or spritz with olive oil if desired, and bake about 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Make the refried beans

  1. Saute chopped onion in a few tablespoons of water until translucent. Add cumin and chili powder and stir to coat.
  2. Add beans and 3/4 c. water to skillet and stir until heated. Reduce heat to low.
  3. Mash beans (still in the skillet) with a fork or a potato masher.
  4. Turn heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until beans are thick.
  5. Stir in chopped green chiles, and salt to taste.

Make the taco "meat"

  1. Toss one cup of crumbles with taco seasoning (or seasoning of your choice.)

Assemble and bake

  1. Spread refried beans over bottom of polenta crust.
  2. Spoon 1/4 cup of taco sauce over beans in an even layer.
  3. Sprinkle taco "meat" over that.
  4. Next, a layer of cheeze - save 1/4 cup for garnish.
  5. Bake in a 375F oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly. You may want to cover the edge of the crust in aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes.

Garnish pizza

  1. Spread another thin layer of taco sauce over the top of the pizza
  2. Top with crumbled tortilla chips and remaining 1/4 c. cheeze.
  3. Top with chopped tomatoes, jalapeƱos and sliced black olives. Put a dollop of vegan sour cream in the middle for garnish, if desired.

This pizza would be good served with a green salad and an ice cold Mexican beer.

Notes

For “burger” crumbles, you can either make your own or buy tofu crumbles at the grocery. I prefer making my own, it’s much cheaper and much more nutritious, with no mystery ingredients that you cannot pronounce! I use this recipe from CookingWithPlants.com.

For the cheese, again you can buy vegan cheese at the grocery store, but making your own is more nutritious and cheaper. I use Vegan Richa’s Almond Milk Pepper Jack.

You can buy ready-made taco seasoning and taco sauce everywhere. Just make sure it’s vegan. If you’re ambitious, you could do a Google search for DIY versions and make your own.

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