Before I learn to “really” make pizzas in Italy, I must share my adorable little pita pizzas that are requested on a daily basis by my family. They may snub up their noses when I make broccoli salad or smothered kale, but not when I pull out the pitas, pizza sauce, and veggies. It is absolutely delicious and tastes better than any take-out pizza you’ll ever eat. I have all sorts of variations to this recipe that I’ll have to share while I’m gone this month learning to cook like an Italian. I may return and be embarrassed to call this a pizza, but for now it’s my version of what a pizza should be.
I’ve tried making my own pizza dough, and it turns out pretty good, but compared to the ease of using a pita and the time saved…well, there’s no comparison so pitas are my #1 choice for pizza crust (for now, at least). The pitas I normally buy come from Fresh Market Deli. They are fairly large and made fresh, and they are whole wheat and healthy. You can find pitas in most grocery stores that taste just as good; however, I find they are not as crispy so you may need to keep them in the oven a little longer when you first toast them. Just use trial and error on choosing pitas and the cooking methods for each brand.
I use all sorts of combinations of vegetables for these pizzas. I’ve used asparagus, artichokes, and radishes (surprisingly tasty); zucchini, yellow peppers, and basil; black beans, jalapenos and avocado; and sometimes I just throw together whatever leftover vegetables I have in the frig. I’ll share other recipes later this month. I’d love to hear your ideas or combinations of vegetables used on these little pizza pies. Today, I’m sharing our absolute favorite version: It’s the spinach and mushroom pizza with yellow bell peppers.
I put onions on this pizza and quite a bit actually. If you have children that frown on onions and are not convinced that cooked onions will actually taste sweet; then, you can use shallots. Shallots will blend in better when chopped finely, and they are not as aggressive as onions, meaning their taste is less detectable. This picture shows shallots because I only had a half of an onion, and my sad little half-used onion didn’t look so good in the picture. 🙂 I improvised by using the piece of onion and the shallots together.
Brush the pita with olive oil before baking. I’ve made these without olive oil when I was trying to cut a few calories, and it works well, too.
After removing the pitas from the oven, spread on the sauce and sprinkle with a thin layer of the shredded cheese. You can’t see the first thin layer of cheese in this picture.
Spread the slightly cooked vegetables first and then evenly spread on the fresh tomatoes. If you don’t have grape tomatoes, improvise like I do and use the large sized varieties. They work almost as well. The size of the grape tomatoes is why they are my preferred choice. It guarantees you to get a tiny piece of tomato with every bite.
The cheese also varies when I make this pizza. Today, I used a mozzarella and cheddar blend which is the favorite of my family when I use this vegetable combination, but I have used Italian blend and just straight mozzarella when the other wasn’t available. The finished pita pizza should look like this:
And after a few seconds, even before the cheese starts to set, it looks like this:
Writing this post has made me so hungry! I may have to make another pizza tonight.
- 2-3 cups of baby spinach
- 1 small onion or two shallots, finely sliced
- 2-3 baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
- Yellow bell pepper, sliced
- ½ cup grape tomatoes, sliced
- 8-10 oz of blended Italian or mixed mozzarella/cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4-5 tablespoons of pizza sauce
- 2 whole-wheat pitas
- Olive oil, enough to sauté and lightly brush pitas
- Note: Pita size is the reason for the "iffy" measurements; use the larger measurements for the larger pitas.
- Chop onion, mushrooms, and bell pepper.
- Saute’ the vegetables (except for tomatoes) in olive oil until slightly tender.
- Brush pitas with olive oil and bake on 350 degrees directly on the oven rack for about 10 minutes. You will need a huge spatula to remove the pitas from the oven, especially after you put on the vegetables and cheese. I have one made for pizzas, but you can use a spatula and a flat metal pan if you don’t have a large spatula.
- Remove pitas from oven and add pizza sauce.
- Sprinkle a layer of cheese over the pizza sauce.
- Spread the sauteed vegetables over the cheese.
- Add another layer of cheese over the vegetables, saving a little to sprinkle over the tomatoes.
- Place the uncooked fresh tomatoes evenly over the vegetables.
- Sprinkle a little cheese on the tomatoes to hold them in place.
- Bake at 350 degrees directly on the rack until cheese is melted and the edges of the pita are slightly brown and crispy. This takes approximately 5 more minutes. Remember to remove the pita pizzas with a large spatula or flat metal pan to avoid spilling ingredients.
- Note: you may have to adjust the measurements for the ingredients depending on the size of you pitas. I like to find the extra large pitas from Fresh Market, but there are really good ones at the local grocery store, too.