It can always be assumed that if I see the first 10 seconds of a Chopped episode, I will absolutely need to watch the full hour. I am completely addicted to watching the chefs navigate each challenge, somehow creating delicious (well, most of the time) meals out of the bizarre list of required ingredients. My parents have recently started watching the show, and my dad had the idea to create a little Chopped challenge of our own: the three of us would each be in charge of picking two required ingredients for an appetizer, entree and dessert, and then we would rotate who cooked each course every time we saw each other. I ended up in charge of cooking the entree for this round, with tomato and cilantro as the required ingredients picked by my mom.
Either Indian or Mexican came to mind right away, but I opted for Mexican in the end – despite loving Mexican food, I shamefully haven’t been cooking much of it lately. The Mexican tortilla pizza that I made turned out so well that I wanted to share it right away.
The base of this pizza is incredibly simple: I take a tortilla, layer it with some sauteed mushrooms (or other toppings of your choice) and smother it in some chihuahua cheese. It’s then baked in an iron skillet for about 10 minutes and comes out with a wonderfully puffed-up crust that is crispy on the bottom. Taking inspiration from the prosciutto and arugula pizzas I see everywhere, I then top the tortilla pizza with a little arugula, tomato and pepita salad. And finally, I add an avocado-cilantro dressing for a punch of flavor and creaminess. The combination of the cheesy tortilla, meaty mushrooms, peppery and refreshing arugula, and flavor-packed dressing is completely addicting. This has quickly became one of my new favorite Mexican meals. It’s perfect for a fast weeknight dinner or as a little appetizer. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do!
- For the dressing:
- 1 clove garlic, skin on
- ½ avocado
- ¾ cup fresh cilantro
- ½ cup nonfat plan yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- pinch of cayenne (optional)
- For the pizza:
- ½ cup sliced cremini mushrooms, washed and dried
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large flour tortillas
- About ⅔ cup chihuahua cheese or monterey jack cheese
- For the salad:
- About one cup arugula
- 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon pepitas
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Next, prepare the dressing. Toast the garlic in a skillet over medium heat until lightly browned. Remove skin and add to a food processor, along with all of the other dressing ingredients. Blend until smooth. Add additional olive oil if you want the dressing to be less thick.
- Sautee the mushrooms in a pan with the olive oil and some salt and pepper. Cook for about five minutes.
- Place one of the tortillas in a large iron skillet that has been very lightly oiled. Add half the mushrooms and half the cheese. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the tortilla is crisp on the bottom. Repeat with the second pizza. (Alternatively, cook both pizzas on a baking sheet for 5-10 minutes.)
- While the pizzas are cooking, assemble the salad ingredients in a small bowl.
- Once the pizzas are baked, add half of the salad to each pizza. Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.