. . .and sweet potato pizzas I have also loved.
Once Summer finally comes to northern Idaho, it can get pretty hot and dry. Here on the Palouse we can see days with triple digits in July and August, sometimes even September. With no central air in my 115 year-old house, I cool it off the old- fashioned way: run the ceiling fan, open the windows at night, close them down in the morning. Raise the bamboo shades on the south side of the house in the evening, lower them before it heats up too much in the morning. Drink lots of water. Eat fruit. Wear cotton. And don’t turn on the oven.
So before the Summer warm weather comes to stay for good, and I turn off the oven for a while, I wanted to share two versions of potato pizzas I love. Like so many other plant-based food choices I think of as favorites, I first learned of these from Susan’s recipe on FFVK for yep, you guessed it, Potato Pizzas. I stick to Susan’s technique for slicing and baking the potatoes, which is foolproof. The only variation is that I bake the potatoes on a silicone baking mat or baking parchment instead of using a small amount of oil on the cookie sheet. As is the case with so many recipes, I went in slightly different directions with the sauce and the veggie toppings, largely because I like to use up things I have. I also used a technique I developed for treating the veggie toppings I’ve put on regular pizza, and it works fine with potatoe pizzas, too. So check out Susan’s recipe for the basic template, and try out her sauce and choice of veggie toppings if you like. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. As my son once e-mailed me about her potato pizza sauce, “It’s awesome!!” But if you’d like to vary your potato pizza experience just a bit here are some playful, flavorful options.
Potato Pizza Sauce(s) and Veggie Toppings
First, follow Susan’s instructions for baking your potatoes. If you want to avoid oil altogether as I do, then use a silicone baking mat or baking parchment to line your cookie sheet. If you don’t have or don’t like russet potatoes, never fear. Yukon golds, and even sweet potatoes work great. No need to adjust the temperature or cooking time. It works like a charm.
Here is my version of Tomato Sauce. Similar to Susan’s, but a bit lazier.
about two tablespoons of tomato paste.
1 1/2 tbs of dried mushrooms, any kind you like, crumbled, and softened in boiling water
about 3 tbs of carrot, diced very small
good shake of garlic granules or a garlic clove grated on a microplane
tbs or two of chopped oregano, or a teaspoon of dried , or more to taste
1/4 tsp of fennel seeds
1 tbs of port wine or raspberry vinegar, or even white wine vinegar
optional add ins: 1/4 tsp or dash of curry powder, about a tbs of grated shallot or other herbs like fresh rosemary, which is very nice with the carrot and tomato, as is the oregano).
1 15 oz can of no salt added crushed tomatoes (fire roasted is nice).
Heat a couple of tablespoons of the mushroom soaking water in a sauce pan. When bubbling add the tomato paste and stir until it starts to cook and heat, adding adding more broth a little at a time if necessary. Add the rehydrated mushroom pieces, carrots, the oregano, garlic granules, fennel, and cook all until the flavors are melded into the tomato sauce. (I just do that by smell and look really). Add small amounts of the remaining mushroom water as necessary during the process. Add the crushed tomatoes (if you can’t find crushed tomatoes, you can “crush” chopped tomatoes in the food processor). Once that’s all combined with the tomato paste mixture, add the wine or vinegar (and a little curry powder if you wish). Simmer for about 20 minutes until all the flavors are blended. If you like your sauce garlicky, you can always grate in more garlic in the last couple of minutes of simmering. Or add more curry powder. Or a bit more wine. Taste. See.
The Esselstyns’ taught me to love corn and potatoes together in the recipes in Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. Though they didn’t use it this way, the following sauce is virtually a direct “steal” from their Sweet Corn Sauce recipe. It just uses frozen corn, makes less, doesn’t cook as long, and adds an optional dash of something different.
about 5 oz of frozen corn
half a small sweet onion or shallot
1/4 cup of veggie broth or leftover corn pasta cooking water
dash of lime juice or poultry seasoning
Blend first three ingredients in the food processor or blender until you have a lumpy sauce. Heat it up in a 10 inch skillet. Taste. Add a dash of lime juice if you’ve got it. It heightens the corn flavor a notch. Or sprinkle in some poultry seasoning, which gives it a little spike.
The corn sauce is especially yummy on sweet potato pizza. It can also be used sort of like cheese sauce along with the tomato sauce or even a small amount of ketchup.
Use any veggies you like. For these I chopped up zucchini, mushroom, red pepper and green onion or shallot. I tossed them in raspberry vinegar (though balsamic vinegar is also wonderful) and sprinkled with a good shake of garlic granules. Sometimes I chop up a small amount of arugula or even dandelion greens and add them to the veggie mix. Fresh or dried herbs of your choice are a great addition. I used oregano on these. If I’m using the tomato sauce, I sometimes add thawed out frozen corn kernels.Tossing the veggies in a little vinegar and garlic granules brings out their flavor and helps them not to dry out too much in the oven. You can also top everything with a little nutritional yeast, or almond parmesan.
And, if you’re feeling extra “cheezy,” try a version smothered with Susan’s velvety versatile Cheesy Cauliflower Sauce:
To go with the Cheesy Cauliflower Sauce, I poured boiling water on thinly chopped pieces of cauliflower and kale ribbons and let them sit for 5-10 minutes so they’d begin cooking a bit before going in the oven. Then I drained them and tossed them with chopped red pepper, fresh bronze fennel, winter savory, and rosemary leaves in a bit of lemon juice and garlic granules. I also added some freshly grated garlic on the top.
One more option: if you’d like a Mexican spin on your potato or sweet potato pizza without a tomato sauce base, remember to give my In Between Black Beans at try. That’s the first thing I ever used them for, and the way I fell in love with them. Unfortunately, I ate them up before I thought to document my Mexican potato pizza affair, but here is a shot of the beans:
So go ahead, take your pick, or try them all. Fall in love again– with potato pizzas!!