Black Bean Pizza with Whole Wheat Crust

If you need a little diversity like Mel's Kitchen Cafe does with her pizza, then you should try her recipe of a black bean pizza that uses whole wheat crusts. 

Ingredients: 

Pizza Dough:
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3-4 cups whole wheat flour
Black Bean Mixture:
2 (15-ounces each) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons cumin
Toppings:
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
4-5 green onions, finely chopped
1-2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Chopped tomatoes
Shredded lettuce
Sour cream or ranch for drizzling

Directions:
  1. Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (preheating a pizza stone if you have it; if not, flip a rimmed baking sheet upside down and preheat that instead). In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or you can definitely do this the old-fashioned way by hand in a large bowl), combine the water, yeast, sugar, oil and salt. There's no need to proof the yeast if using instant yeast. If you are using active dry yeast, let the mixture stand for 4-5 minutes until the yeast is foaming. Add the flour gradually until a soft dough forms that isn't too sticky to the touch (see the note above). Knead for 3-4 minutes. Cover and set aside while preparing the other ingredients.
  2. For the bean mixture, in a blender or food processor, combine the beans, oil, salt to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste), cilantro, hot sauce and cumin. Blend until it reaches the desired consistency. I processed mine until fairly smooth.
  3. Divide the dough into 2-3 pieces, depending on how big you want your pizzas. Press the dough into a large circle or oval or square (it really doesn't matter) on a piece of greased parchment paper to about 1/4-inch thick. Of course, you can always press into a thicker crust if you'd like. It's really all about your personal preference.
  4. Divide the bean mixture evenly among the pressed out pizza dough. It won't spread as easily as, say, butter, but using the back of a large spoon or an offset spatula, spread it as best you can. It doesn't have to be perfect.
  5. Top the bean mixture with a sprinkle of red bell pepper, green onions and cheese.
  6. Slide the parchment with the pizza on it onto the preheated baking stone or upside down baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 8-12 minutes until the crust is golden and toppings are bubbling. Carefully remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes or so before serving. Repeat with the remaining pizza(s).
  8. If desired, top with tomatoes, lettuce and sour cream (or ranch) - otherwise, you can eat it without the extra toppings. Delicious either way.
Posted by Diane Araga, on November 11, 2013 at 8:00 AM