One of my goals lately has been to revisit older cookbooks to reinvigorate our dinnertime routine. Because I’m a bit of a cookbook collector (the allure of new, shiny recipes is hard to resist), I tend to move through cookbooks quickly and then I’m on to the next one. Every little while I find myself looking back through old favorites – ignoring the dog-eared recipes to seek out gems I might have missed the first time, or hoping for inspiration to create a new dish. This past week has found me leafing through my copy of Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton – a fabulous cookbook, for certain, although I haven’t opened it in a while. (Reading through it again, it’s hard to figure out why I ever put it down!)
In ED&BV, Dreena pulls together a vegan version of the Sicilian muffuletta, a lightly-toasted sandwich traditionally made on a large, round loaf of bread, filled with a marinated olive salad, and usually containing a layer of meats and cheeses. Dreena’s version eschews the latter ingredients to create a lavish veggie filling featuring marinated tempeh, fennel, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, olives, and herbs.
It was these flavors I was craving when I decided to pull together dinner – except instead of a thick sandwich, I was wanted the simplicity and rich tomato-base of a pizza. So I diced and combined an array of veggies, olives, spinach, and mushrooms that I thought would make a worthy muffuletta filling, let them marinate to enhance the flavor, and used them to top a whole wheat pita bread as a crust. The result was a tangy, hearty pizza bursting with flavors.
This recipe makes enough to top 2-4 pita pizzas, depending on how loaded you like your crust (I opt for heavy, because the more veggies the better!) Don’t let the long ingredient list discourage you – it’s really just pulling together a little here and little there.
Loaded Muffuletta Pizza
Servings: 4. Prep & Cook Time: 20 minutes, plus 10-15 minutes for marinating
Accessibility notes: Requires chopping/dicing, you’ll want a good knife. You can minimize the chopping by buying presliced olives, red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, and mushrooms.
- 4-5 medium baby bella mushrooms, diced into small pieces
- 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts
- 1/4 cup spinach leaves, loosely packed & roughly sliced
- 1/4 cup sliced green olives
- 2 tbsp sliced kalamata olives
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
- 2 tbsp sliced sun-dried tomatoes (the oil-packed kind works best here, but you can rehydrate dried ones here)
- 1/2 small green onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2.5 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- pinch of salt
- black pepper (to taste)
- 1 tsp hemp seeds
- whole wheat pita breads (2-4)
- marinara sauce of choice
1. In a medium bowl, combine the diced mushrooms, bell pepper, artichoke hearts, spinach, olives, basil, green onion, and garlic.
2. Use a fork to whisk together the vinegars, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small bowl or cup. Add to the veggie mixture and mix well. Sprinkle on the hemp seeds and give a final toss. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend a bit.
3. Cover each pita bread with marinara sauce, using a spoon to work the sauce out to the edges. Top evenly with the marinated veggie mixture. Pop in the oven on a clean baking sheet and cook at 350°F for 10 minutes.
Enjoy! (This will be messy, but in the best of ways!)