Red bean and Tempeh Sausage Mexican Pizza

Hurricane pizza! I’ve been stuck inside all weekend because of hurricane “Irene.” Luckily we didn’t really feel any bad effects and just got to spend a weekend at home cooking and veggin out (sorry for the bad pun.) Since there was no going out to the grocery store to buy a pre-made crust, this one is made from scratch but was surprisingly easy, and cheaper.

And I had a few visitors surprise me as I was peeling the husks off the corn: caterpillars! That’s what you get from fresh local corn without pesticides. Good thing I ate the corn right away or they would have eaten all my kernels! But those sneaky guys left plenty for us.

I used red beans for the base because I just happened to have a batch in the fridge that I made a few days ago in the pressure cooker (see my recipe here.) But you could just as well use black or pinto beans.

The tempeh sausage is from a recipe I really like and use a lot from the Post Punk Kitchen. You can use them in a lot of different ways and add or leave out any spices you want.

Serves about 3, or 7-8 slices

Cornmeal pizza dough (adapted from this recipe, without the sugar)

  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating bowl
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups unbleached whole wheat flour plus more, if necessary
  • 1 cup cornmeal, plus more for dusting pan
In a large mixing bowl combine yeast with water and whisk. Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, olive oil, and half of the flour and mix well. Add the 1 cup of cornmeal and all remaining flour except 1/2 cup and mix well with your hands, working to incorporate the flour little by little. Transfer the dough over to a floured work surface and knead dough for about 5 minutes, adding enough additional flour if needed until the dough is elastic and not too sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, usually at least 2 hours.

Once the dough has risen, divide it into 2 portions (for 2 (12 to 14-inch) pizzas) and form into balls. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Let rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to a lightly floured surface, and roll out to a 1/8-inch thickness. If you save the dough, just keep it covered with a towel in the fridge. If it’s too dry or hard when you take it out, just add some water and knead it until it’s the right consistency.

For the toppings

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 small green bell peppers
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of tempeh sausage crumbles
  • 1 1/2 cups of red beans
  • 3 ears of corn, husks removed and dropped in boiling water for about 4 minutes, and kernels removed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup daiya pepperjack cheese
  • olive oil
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Preheat the oven to 450º. Cook the onions slowly in the olive oil with a little salt on the stove over medium-low heat for about 7-10 minutes so they begin to get soft and slightly caramelized. Add the green peppers and cook for another 4 minutes, stirring often.
Now you’re ready to assemble the pizza! Add layer of beans, followed by the tempeh, onions and peppers, corn, tomatoes, and cheese. Drizzle a little olive oil on top and put in the oven for about 12 minutes or until the crust is golden around the edges. Garnish with cilantro.

Squash Polenta Casserole



I’m totally up to my neck in squash and from the CSA, so instead of making zucchini bread, I decided to experiment with polenta, which I just recently cooked with for the first time. I tried this recipe the other night when I had friends over for dinner and it was a huge success (I love all her recipes!). Daiya cheese would have gone great with this too but I ran out and was already back home in Brooklyn (can only find it in Manhattan so far). I’ve also been getting a ton of basil so I’m putting pesto on EVERYTHING, but who would complain about that?

For the pesto:

  • 1 1/2 cup fresh basil, sprigs removed
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • salt
  • crushed red pepper
Process everything up, pouring the olive oil in little by little. I left it chunky, but if you want you can add more olive oil to make it smoother.
For the polenta:
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 tsp salt
I followed veganprairiefood’s method:
Combine the cornmeal, salt and cold water, then pour into the boiling water on the stove. Turn the burner down to medium low heat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the cornmeal thickens into a thick paste. I set it by the window to cool for about 20 minutes.
For the filling:
  • 5 small summer squash (i used green and yellow) halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups napa cabbage, steamed until soft but crisp (about 10 min
  • tempeh crumbles (adapted from post punk kitchen recipe, without the sage and added 1 tsp nutritional yeast)

Grease the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch pan and preheat oven to 375º

Saute the onions for about 7 minutes until they turn soft and translucent, then add to the tempeh and cook for another 3 minutes on med-low heat.

While that’s cooking, roll the polenta into a cylinder and cut into thin slices to layer the bottom of the pan with.

On top of that, layer the zucchini, tempeh, cabbage, and pesto (I had room for about 2 rounds of layers) and top off with the remaining polenta slices.

Bake for about 25 min. This made about 5 servings, and the leftovers were great for a quick yummy breakfast the next day too when we were in a hurry to go berry picking. The one redeeming thing about the atrociously hot summer in New York has been all the great fruits and veggies!