Two words. Taco Pizza.
Those were the two favorite words in high school. Taco Pizza was what we ordered when working late on the yearbook. It was what my parents ordered as a special treat when they didn’t feel like cooking. It was what I craved when I would visit during my college years.
Taco Pizza was the specialty of the local pizza joint, Pizza Barn, in my hometown of Gardnerville, Nevada. The small town outside of Carson City, at that time, didn’t have Dominos or Little Caesars. As far as pizza options on Friday night went, parents of hungry kids could pick up a frozen pie or make a call to Pizza Barn.
I haven’t been to Gardnerville in years since my family relocated and only recently heard that the restaurant has served it’s final slice.
Heading into playoffs weekend, I decided it was time to recreate my favourite pie for the epic showdowns between the best of the best of AFC and NFC.
When it comes to making my favourite foods that I get elsewhere, I’m always a bit leary. How can it possibly live up to my teenage memories? Will it taint my memories, forever changing the fond recollections? Or . . . my biggest fear . . . I will nail the recipe and then it becomes a staple in my current life.
I decided to risk it. I made the taco pizza as I remembered it . . . with a few changes due to my current diet.
Since those carefree days of my youth, I have become lactose intolerant and I don’t eat a lot of meat (vegan-ish). I replaced hamburger meat with braised tofu crumbles. Or I was going to. Turns out my tofu had turned so my Taco Pizza base was just refried beans with enchilada sauce.
I used lactose-free cheese blend and not my usual vegan, a happy medium for both my husband and I.
The recipe is easy. Spread out some dough (fresh made, picked up from the bakery or made from the box). Add the base layers which is beans, browned & seasoned hamburger or meat alternative. Add some cheese and pop in the oven.
What makes taco pizza so amazing is the “keep hot, hot and the cold, cold” method. Where one normally cooks all the toppings with the pizza, Taco Pizza’s siren allure comes from the cold toppings. Like a regular taco, you add the tomatoes, jalapenos, lettuce and avocado after the bubbly, cheesy base emerges from the oven.
After the first bite, I realized my greatest fear had come true. I can make the childhood pizza I loved in my own home. Anytime I want. And as an adult, there is no one here to say “we can’t have Taco Pizza for dinner every night.”