meatless monday: black bean mexican pizza
After spending many of my formative years in Texas, I feel that I should have come away with a few more of the perks associated with the state. But to this day, I can’t rope a stump five feet away from me, am completely lacking in any kind of twang, and still think of cows as milk-bestowing pets rather than dinner (I used to sneak our horse feed into the pasture next door and make friends with the beef cattle grazing there).
I suppose Texas just didn’t take for me.
But I did come away with two things: one, that barrel racing is as close to dying and flying as a human can get, and is utterly brilliant; and two, that truly great Mexican food is always worth seeking out. Of course, in Texas, there are so many Mexican restaurants, Tex-Mex restaurants and variations thereof, you couldn’t try them all in a lifetime. But those who knew could tell you where the real thing could be found. Usually, in tiny little places, tucked in between gas stations and tattoo parlors, where not a word of English was spoken and everything was divine. Where salsa was an art form and a tortilla could be a gourmet meal all its own.
But here, unless you order salsa with your crab cake, there is nothing that even resembles Mexican food.
So, as is usually the case in these matters, I have tried to make my own. While living in Texas, I never learned any of the secrets of really good Mexican, despite all the potential teachers. So I’ve settled for something that is far from authentic, but has the basic criteria for a nice Tex-Mex fusion meal.
The black bean base absolutely makes this pizza, and if you have any left over, I like to mix mine with equal parts sour cream and salsa, with a good squirt of hot sauce (Sriracha for me, but whatever makes your taste buds sing) and serve it to dip the finished pizza in.
Black Bean Mexican Pizza
1 pizza crust
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained, rinsed (for health and frugality, I used a couple of cups of black beans I had soaked and cooked the day before)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp hot red pepper sauce (I use more)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Monterey jack cheese
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 can sliced olives, drained
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1 red bell pepper, diced (not in season around here, so I skipped it)
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a 12-inch pizza pan or a 9×13 inch pan. Spread pizza dough and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine beans, oil, cilantro, cumin, hot red pepper sauce and garlic. Process until smooth, frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl. Spread bean mixture over partially baked crust (saving any leftovers for dipping sauce). Sprinkle with cheeses, olives, onions and peppers. Bake for 7-12 minutes, or until crust is deep golden brown and cheese is melted.
In a small bowl, combine equal parts sour cream and salsa with reserved bean mixture. Season with hot sauce to taste and serve as a dipping sauce.