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Quinoa and Polenta “Pizza”

22 Feb

This was a very healthy but very flavorful alternative to take out pizza.  Feel free to play around with the toppings as you see fit.  Pictured is a caramelized mushroom and tomato version that I thought played well with the baked quinoa with adobo I used as the base.  I added some steamed broccoli florets to Zak’s at his request.  You can also use 1 cup of plain cooked quinoa, I just happen to be a spazz about using up leftovers whenever possible and thought it might punch up the flavors of the “crust.”  It was really fun to put the toppings on the pizza and was so delicious when finished.

I admittedly had some problems getting the bottom half of the quinoa-polenta mixture to stay crispy.  I broiled it for the times listed below and the bottom kept becoming loose and runny, making it somewhat difficult to flip and transfer to the plate.  I’m not sure why it happened, as the mixture seemed very well set when I placed it on the baking sheet to begin with.  For guaranteed crispness, I suggest setting the mixture overnight in the refrigerator or pan-frying, rather than broiling, the mix initially and then adding it to a 425º oven to melt the cheese and cook the toppings.  However, I posted the recipe because I think it should work to produce a full crust.  Furthermore, it was very good as is – the top half of the mixture, at least, was very crunchy and the creaminess of the bottom half didn’t take away from the taste in any way.  The edges were slightly charred, but that’s what I was going for.  Keep a close eye on it if you want to avoid this.

Quinoa and Polenta “Pizza”

Adapted from FitSugar

1 cup leftover baked quinoa with adobo

4 cups homemade chicken stock

1 cup polenta

3/4 cup 1% milk

2 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese, divided

Non-stick cooking spray

2 medium roma tomatoes

1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 tbs. olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Bring vegetable stock to a rolling boil over medium-high heat in a small stock pot.  A little at a time, slowly whisk in polenta.  Reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 30 minutes or until polenta is tender.

Slowly whisk in milk and bring back to a gentle simmer.  In small batches, add 1/2 cup cheese, constantly whisking.  Simmer until desired consistency.

In a medium bowl, mix together polenta and leftover baked quinoa with adobo.

Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour in quinoa/polenta and use a large spoon or spatula to smooth.  Transfer to refrigerator and let sit at least 6-8 hours until well set.  If necessary, place in freezer for 1-2 hours until completely set.  [Note: This makes about double the quinoa-polenta base you will need.  There are plenty of ways to use it up, however, and I’ll be posting some of them over the course of this week]

Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, thinly slice roma tomatoes to about 1/16″ thick.  Place on a layer of paper towels and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Let sit 1-2 hours.  This will draw out some of the moisture and prevent the “pizza” from becoming overly soggy.

About an hour before serving time, heat 1 tbs. of olive oil over medium-low heat in a medium sauté pan.  Add mushrooms and season with thyme, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, 20-30 minutes until caramelized.

Meanwhile, cut set polenta into serving squares.  I cut ours into two 5″ x 5″ individual “pizzas.”  You could also cut them into smaller rounds or squares for appetizers.

Preheat broiler.

Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil.  Spray with nonstick cooking spray and place polenta squares on baking sheet.  Spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Place in broiler and broil 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Flip and broil another 10-15 minutes until lightly golden brown.  Remove polenta squares from broiler and top with cheese, tomato slices, and mushrooms.  Broil another 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted.

Garnish with a few pinches of fresh parsley and some crushed red pepper flakes.  These can be served as an individual main or cut up as appetizers.

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