Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A multi-cultural vegetable pizza

I think one of the most important parts of maintaining a healthy diet is eating junk food. Otherwise you'll go mad while you're munching away on a carrot stick and everyone else is hoovering up pizza.

However, while I think the type of junk food has little impact, the way it's made is very important! CUE: our vegetable pizza. It sounds mad, but just read the ingredients list and you'll see what I mean. If you use a homemade pizza base and a salt-reduced cheese, this is technically healthy! I also dare you to try the yoghurt topping!

2 tbl tomato paste
1 tsp harissa
Moroccan sausages or chorizo, cooked, cooled and sliced
2 fried Lebanese eggplants (the Lebanese eggplants are small and thin, if using the traditional larger one, you only need a small handful of sliced eggplant) 
½ roasted capsicum (red pepper)
¼ roasted pumpkin or ½ roasted sweet potato
1 big field mushroom or 2-3 smaller ones, sliced
lots of cheese, mozzarella is awesome, but plain tasty cheese is fine

The vegetables
The roast vegies we used in this recipe were actually leftovers, so ideally I would roast half a pumpkin, diced (or several sweet potatoes, diced) and a whole capsicum, cut into quarters, seeds removed, together, in a hot oven for about thirty minutes or until mellow and crispy around the corners. I would then use half of these ingredients for a salad, a quiche, a pasta etc. When the capsicum has cooled a little, peel off the skin, and when it's cooled completely, slice your ½ capsicum for this recipe into thin strips.

Slice the eggplants into thin strips. Heat 2 good tbl oil in a non stick pan, and then fry the eggplant until crispy.

The pizza
Mix the tomato paste and harissa together, and spread over the pizza base. Then assemble your vegies and sausage with artistic flair. Sprinkle with cumin. Top with cheese. Bake at 180C/350F for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is browning.

The yoghurt
approx 1½ cups Greek-style yoghurt (or natural)
⅓ bulb of garlic, minced
3-4 leaves of mint, chopped finely
½ cucumber, peeled, grated, and wrung out (to get rid of the juice, which apparently you can then drink, but I'm not brave enough)
squeeze of lemon

Yoghurt? …Trust me. Again, this makes more than you need. I use the leftovers on lamb, jacket potatoes, another pizza ('cause quite frankly, this recipe usually gets repeated a few days later!). Combine all your ingredients and then dollop over the pizza once it's baked.

Tip: allow the pizza to cool for 2-3 minutes before you cut it. This allows the cheese to harden just a little so it doesn't slide with the knife off the pizza, taking all your topping with it. Bastard.

Another light squeeze of lemon juice over the pizza also seems to help.

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