Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Monterey Pizza

This tropical pizza is a fun twist on more standard pineapple versions, featuring sweet mango instead.  It's great for showcasing your favorite vegan Monterey Jack; try Vegan Gourmet, or Daiya's new jack wedge.

  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3/4 cup warm water (between 100 and 110 degrees)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon cornmeal
  • 1 and 1/2 cups peeled and chopped mango
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 and 1/2 cups shredded vegan Monterey Jack (such as Vegan Gourmet)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 finely chopped and seeded jalapeno peppers
1. To prepare the dough, dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes.  Add the olive oil and salt.

2. Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.  Add 1 and 3/4 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture, stirring to form a dough.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic (it should feel like the flesh on the inside of your arm).  Add the remaining 1/4 cup flour as needed while you knead, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.  Here's a handy how-to on kneading.

3. Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning so the top is coated as well.  Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.  A closed, unheated oven is a great spot for rising dough, since it will be warm and free from drafts.

4. Punch the dough down and turn out onto a baking sheet sprinkled with the cornmeal.  Roll or pat into a 14x10-inch rectangle.

Note: I found patting to be a much easier tactic in this step.

5. Lightly coat the dough with cooking spray.  Combine the Monterey Jack with the cilantro in a small bowl, and sprinkle evenly over the dough.  Top evenly with the chopped jalapeno.  Bake at 500 degrees for 8 minutes.

5. While the pizza bakes, combine the mango and lime juice in a small bowl; top the pizza with the mango mixture once out of the oven.  Cut into 16 squares with a pizza cutter.  I hope you can see in this photo just how lusciously gooey and melted the cheese is, just out of the oven. 

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (2 slices), Calories 236 

Tasting Notes:
A perfect pizza dough, topped with wonderfully gooey cheese and sweet mango.  Surprisingly, the pizza was a touch bland; leave the seeds in the jalapeno for more heat, or add a touch of herbs or spices to the cheese-and-cilantro mixture.  I also would add the mango before the pizza bakes next time, so it becomes warm and lightly caramelized . 


I preferred this pizza even better when sprinkled with chopped Lightlife ham:

Or chopped and cooked Gardein chicken on top:

Both add an extra, savory layer to the flavor. 

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