I like pizza as much as the next person, though I rarely eat it because of the refined flour that goes into the crust. Then a couple of weeks ago, Saje, a member of the FatFree Vegan Discussion Board, posted a link to a recipe I just had to try: Pizza Potatoes, a terrific idea from the folks at the All-Creatures website. Let me just say, I will never go pizzaless again!
The idea is deceptively simple: You take a large baking potato, slice it lengthwise into three pieces, bake the slices, put toppings on them, and cook them again. You wouldn’t think that tomato sauce and vegetable toppings would taste so great on a potato, but just as there is some kind of transformation that goes on when those ingredients sit atop a traditional crust, the combination is magic.
Though the idea is simple, the original recipe wasn’t simple or fast. My version cuts out one of the steps–making a “cheese” sauce. I haven’t had cheese on pizza for years, so I figured I wouldn’t miss it, and I was right. Those of you who insist on cheesy pizza may want to follow the original recipe or sprinkle a little vegan cheese on top. A light dusting of almond parmesan was all I needed to make my potato pizzas perfect.
Slices of baked potato stand in for pizza crust in this unrefined (in a good way) recipe.
- 1 large baking potato per person
- pizza sauce (recipe below)
- your choice of toppings (I used onion, bell pepper, zucchini, calamata olives, green olives, and mushrooms)
- fresh basil
- almond parmesan (optional)
Pizza Sauce (makes enough for 2 servings/potatoes):
- 1/2 onion , chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , minced or pressed
- 1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used Italian style)
- 1/8 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
Start with potatoes that are at least 1-1/2 inches thick in the middle. Scrub each potato well. Cut into three slices, making the outer two a little wider than the middle one. Take the two outer slices and trim a little bit off the bottom (rounded side) in order to make them lie flat.
Place them on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper and bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes, until cooked throughout. (I was just making one serving, so I did this in the toaster oven with excellent results.)
While the potatoes are cooking, make the pizza sauce: Sauté the onion in a non-stick saucepan until it becomes translucent. Add the garlic and sauté one minute more. Pour about 1/3 of the can of tomatoes into the saucepan. Using a blender or hand blender, puree the remaining tomatoes and add them to the pan. (I do this right in the can with a hand blender.) Add the remaining sauce ingredients, and simmer on low until the potatoes are ready.
When the potatoes are done, take them out of the oven, spread each one with sauce, and top with your choice of toppings. (I made one with zucchini-calamata olives-red bell pepper, another with mushrooms-green olives-onions, and another with everything.) Put them back into the oven and bake for 15-20 more minutes, until the toppings are done to your taste.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with lots of fresh basil and vegan parmesan, if desired. Careful, they will be hot! But once they’re cooled, you can pick them up like regular pizza.
Get as creative as you like with the toppings. Enjoy!