I threw together this pizza for a quick lunch the other day. While homemade black bean pizza might not be your idea of “quick & easy” lunch fare, it mostly consisted of tossing together a bunch of already-prepared things: cooked black beans, par-baked and frozen pizza crust, salsa from last summer; and adding a bit of fresh veg and cheese. As it was, it took longer to preheat the oven than to put this pizza together and 20 minutes later it was en mi barriga.
While we’re on the subject of already-prepared foods: why the hate-on for leftovers, I wonder? Like Julia, I love leftovers. Even though I truly enjoy cooking, I don’t always want to cook. Sometimes, like everyone else, I’m busy, I’m tired, I’m cranky: I just want to eat. But if I don’t want those I-don’t-feel-like-cooking days to be filled with greasy takeout, Trader Joe’s frozen meals, or a bag of potato chips and a glass of wine, then leftovers are key. Sometimes, I plan for leftovers that are exactly that: a big batch of soup that I eat for several days; a chili or stew or curry that I’ll have over rice one day, salad greens the next; cold pizza for breakfast, a cold chicken leg for lunch. It’s all good. Other times, though, I’ll have a loose plan in mind for another meal: I’ll keep back a cup or two of beans from the pound I just cooked, or fry extra potatoes to toss into a quick frittata, and use the meat from a roasted chicken in several different recipes over the course of a few days.
The point is, if you cook often, you are in a constant state of combining fresh, preserved, and already-prepared foods: the whole idea of “leftovers” becomes moot, as one cook’s leftovers is another’s inspiration for a whole new dish. So, next time you find yourself feeling the hate for a fridge full of leftovers, step back, take a breath, and instead of grumbling: make lunch.
- 1 par-baked pizza crust (or freshly made pizza dough)
- olive oil
- about 8 oz melty cheese, grated (I used aged cheddar and fresh mozzarella)
- about 1/2 cup of a thick, restaurant-style salsa (I used roasted tomato & chipotle)
- 1 and 1/2 cups cooked black beans (or one 15-oz can, rinsed)
- 2 small limes
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- large pinch salt
- 1 long red chile, thinly sliced
- 1/2 of a small red onion, thinly sliced
- fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- If the pizza crust was frozen, microwave for about 30 seconds, just long enough for it to become pliable. Place crust on a large baking sheet: brush lightly with olive oil, concentrating on the edges. Sprinkle evenly with about half of the cheese and dollop sparsely with teaspoonfuls of salsa, lightly spread across the crust.
- In a large, shallow bowl, combine black beans, the zest & juice of 1 lime, cumin, and salt. Mash with a potato masher, or buzz briefly in a food processor, until beans are broken up but still chunky. Spread evenly across the pizza crust. Scatter fresh chile, onion, and a handful of cilantro over the beans. Add a couple more dollops of salsa, if you like. Top with the remaining cheese, and another handful of fresh cilantro.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melty and bubbling, and just begins to brown, about 15 minutes. Top with more fresh cilantro, and serve with lime wedges for spritzing.
- If you happen to have leftover bean dip in the house, that makes a good substitute for whole, chopped beans.
- If all you have is a fresh-style salsa (chunky vegetables in a watery brine), drain the vegetables for at least 10 minutes and scatter those over the pizza.
- I often cook a par-baked pizza directly on the oven rack, but this loaded pizza is heavy: it’s best cooked on a pan. You can also cook it directly on a pizza stone, but watch out for the bottom crust burning before the cheese becomes melty.
Refrigerated for up to 3 days, frozen for up to 6 months.