We love this spiced alternative to pizza. You won’t miss the Italian style cheese and oregano, this Middle Eastern style ‘pizza’ is a totally different beast. It’s essentially a pizza topped with a delicately spiced mince mixture (we use nuts and lentils to make a delicious vegan version) which is baked then eaten with a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of fresh parsley and some quick pickled pink onions. It’s the perfect summer party food with salads.
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Ingredients (serves 4)
For the quick pickled onions:
- 2 red onions
- 2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
- a large pinch of salt
- a large pinch of sugar
For the mince:
- 1 white onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 large handfuls of walnuts, crushed/finely chopped (or a mix of any nuts or seeds you like)
- 2 tins of cooked green lentils, drained (or a mug of uncooked lentils – see method)
- a tin of chopped tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- pizza dough for 4 pizzas (or these ready made pizza bases)
- lemon wedges
- salads and pomegranate seeds to serve
- If you are making your own pizza dough, do that first, otherwise you can use ready made bases or even large flatbreads.
- Make the quick pickled red onions before you start on the mince to give them time to turn a gorgeous shocking pink colour. It’s easy! Just finely slice the onions and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with a big pinch of salt and sugar then stir in the vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit at room temperature to one side while you make the mince and bake the pizzas. Give it another stir every now and then to ensure the ingredients are mingling nicely and marvel as the purple onions soften and turn bright pink.
- In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, sauté the diced onion with the olive oil until it softens and starts to colour. Add the garlic and spices and stir until fragrant. Then add the chopped nuts, lentils and tomatoes (if you are using uncooked lentils, add 2 mugs of water to the mixture too). Then season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer until the mixture is rich and thick. You may need to add a splash of water every now and then to get the texture right. Simmer for 10 minutes if you are using cooked lentils, and about 20 minutes for uncooked (or until the lentils are cooked through). Taste and tweak the seasoning if needed with more salt or pepper.
- Pre-heat the oven to the highest temperature to imitate a pizza oven. Then shape your pizza dough and spread with a thin layer of the mince mixture. Bake until cooked to your liking then serve in slices .
- Each slice should be topped with tangy onions, fresh parsley and a good squeeze of lemon. I like to add a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds too and devour with a fresh cucumber and tomato salad. Enjoy!