Ever since I was young, I've loved all things Mexican. The combination of flavors in this type of food is especially appealing to me. I was introduced to Mexican pizza from Taco Bell (see photo below) as a kid and often craved this. I know Taco Bell isn't even close to real Mexican food, but hey, it's convenient late on a Saturday night after drinks with friends. However, there were a few things stopping me from indulging more often.
· Taco Bell isn't usually thought of as a healthy meal option, especially not this item.
· It isn't kosher, due to the mixing of meat and cheese.
· The Taco Bell website lists this as having 540 calories and a whopping 30 grams of fat (OMG!).
· Eating a healthier diet means that Mexican pizza is out of the question. Until today ...
I was originally planning to make cauliflower based tamales, but once it came out of the oven and I had my first bite, I knew it wasn't even close to a tamale. While cauliflower is certainly versatile, there's some things that just can't be made with cauliflower. Tamales is one of those. When this was finished, it looked good, but as soon as it hit my tastebuds, I realized it tasted as close to a Mexican pizza as I could get.
The best part? It's got a bunch of veggies that I snuck in. You can't even taste them! Don't get weirded out, guys, but I managed to get an entire bag of baby spinach in the enchilada sauce, along with a huge can of tomatoes, a jalapeño pepper (it's not that spicy in this), and 3 bags of cauliflower rice. I'm all about the quick and easy meals, so I took the liberty of using frozen cauliflower rice.
Since we keep a kosher kitchen, I can't mix meat and dairy. What's a kosher girl to do? Use a clean plant based beef substitute. It allows vegetarians to enjoy this meal as well (unless you don't eat eggs). If you don't keep kosher and prefer meat, feel free to substitute ground chicken, turkey, or beef. But beware, it'll add onto the cooking time.
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 35 min
Ready in: 50 min
Yields: 9 servings (1/3 of standard pie tin=1 serving)
· Enchilada Sauce :
· 1 bag (5 oz) baby spinach
· 1 cup water
· 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
· 2 tablespoons chili powder
· 3 tablespoons adobo
· 1 tablespoon garlic, minced or crushed
· 1 jalapeño
· For the pizza :
· 3 bags (10-12 oz) riced cauliflower
· 3 cups shredded Mexican or cheddar jack cheese, divided
· 1 egg
· 1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried
· 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, adjust to taste
· 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, adjust to taste
· 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, for pan
· 1 tablespoon garlic, minced or crushed
· 2 bags Gardein beefless ground
· 1 teaspoon chili powder
· 1/2 teaspoon cumin
· 1 can (14 oz) pinto or black beans, drained
· 1 can corn, drained (optional ingredient)
· Optional toppings :
· 3 green onions, chopped
· Sour cream to taste
· A few shakes hot sauce
· 3-4 tomatoes, diced
I topped my pizza with fresh diced tomatoes. If you like scallions, feel free to add those on for a little pop of color and flavor. If you aren't counting containers (21 day fix), you could even throw some sliced black olives on top. Or sour cream (greek yogurt for 21 day fix peeps). The possibilities are endless!
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 3 pie tins with cooking spray.
2. Heat the cauliflower rice in the microwave as per instructions on the bag. I did this one at a time, and it took about 5 minutes each. Set aside the bags to cool while preparing the enchilada sauce.
3. Place water and spinach in the blender. Blend until it is all frothy liquid. Cut the jalapeño pepper into small pieces, making sure you remove the ribs and all of the seeds. Then add the rest of the enchilada ingredients and blend until fully mixed and smooth.
4. Put the cauliflower rice into a big mixing bowl and add the egg, oregano, and 1.5 cups of cheese. Add salt and pepper, then mix until everything is combined. Press this mixture into the pie tins and bake on the top rack of the oven for 20 minutes, until the crusts are golden brown.
5. While the crust is baking, put the olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and the Gardein beefless ground. Cook until the meat is warm, stirring frequently (about 5 minutes).
6. Add chili powder, cumin, enchilada sauce, and beans (corn too if you want) to the skillet, and mix until it is heated through (about 5 more minutes).
7. Take the cauliflower crusts out of the oven and divide the filling evenly onto the cauliflower crusts. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake another 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
8. Add your desired toppings - diced fresh tomato, sour cream (or greek yogurt), green onions, hot sauce, olives, or anything else that appeals to you. Serve and enjoy!
I wanted to sneak some extra nutrition into this meal. Baby spinach is a great way to add extra vegetables without that overly "green" flavor. I've used it in smoothies, and the secret to getting a smooth base is to put the spinach into the blender with your liquid ingredients, and blend until there's no chunks or visible pieces. If it looks like the picture below (all liquid with a little bit of froth), you're ready to add the rest of the enchilada sauce ingredients.
I've never seen a green enchilada sauce, but maybe it does exist. I'm a New Yorker that's never been to Mexico. I have seen green salsa, and while the finished sauce clearly has a green hue, you absolutely can't even tell there's a whole bag of spinach in it. Feel free to adjust the seasonings to suit your palate. I was nervous about making a dish that was too spicy, so I used only one jalapeño. It gave it a nice flavor without that feeling that my tastebuds are slowly dying. I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to spicy.
This made a lot of sauce. I put whatever wasn't used into the freezer, so we could use it over an omelet or veggies in the future.
Photo below is the base of the cauliflower crust.
I tried gently pressing the cauliflower mixture into pie tins with a fork, but that took wayyyyyy too much time and effort. So I put on some rubber gloves and pressed it down with my hands. Much easier and super quick. If you look close enough, you can see the imprints of my fingers. Shhhhh, don't tell. No one noticed, since it was covered with the rest of the ingredients after the crust baked. I usually like to get the water out of the cauliflower rice by using a dry pan to sauté, but I was in kind of a rush. And it worked out just fine. Once it was all mixed and pressed into the pan, I baked it until it was dry and golden brown.
Once the cauliflower crust base has finished cooking, it should look like the picture below.
I bet you're thinking that the photo below looks an awful lot like beef. It DOES look a lot like ground beef. But it isn't. When I'm planning a recipe that pairs meat and dairy, Gardein Beefless Ground is my go to item. It's a clean protein substitute that is vegetarian and gluten-free. It's got the beef flavor, but a little bit of a chewier texture. When it's sautéed, it tends to get a little dry. So I doused it in my green enchilada sauce. It came out perfect.
When the whole Mexican Pizza comes out of the oven, it should look like this:
Feel free to top with whatever you would like! There are endless possibilities to choose from, and I've listed a bunch above. I'd love to hear about what you think of the recipe and what kind of toppings you've come up with!
Container counts for 21 day fix are as follows:
· Green - 1 and 1/3
· Blue - 1
· Red - 1/2
· Yellow - 1/2
· Teaspoons - negligible
· Don’t forget to count any toppings!