Meet ‘meatza’ — the Paleo version of pizza

Book: “Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods: 100+ Delicious Gluten-free Recipes” by Julie and Charles Mayfield. 256 pages, $25.95. Published by Harlequin, 2013.

What you get: Chapters include: Starters and Snacks; Soups, Stews and Salads; Main Dishes; Sides and Sauces; and Sweets and Treats. In addition, there’s a handy list of tools, equipment and pantry staples to support a Paleo lifestyle.

In their own words: “Generally speaking, our loose definition of ‘Paleo’ is pretty simple: eat real foods — foods you grew in a garden, you picked from a tree and you hunted, gathered or foraged. Our definition is not driven by a ‘Did a caveman eat this?’ mentality, because a caveman did not have a food processor, an Apple computer or a stove like ours. Trying to live like a caveman isn’t our intention.” — Julie and Charles Mayfield

What we made:

VEGETABLE MEATZA, Page 118

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 pounds ground beef

1 large egg

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon garlic powder

One 16-ounce can diced tomatoes

One 8-ounce can tomato paste

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/2 cup thinly sliced button or baby bello mushrooms

1/2 cup roughly sliced onion

1/2 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper

1/2 cup pitted black olives, sliced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Minced fresh cilantro, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a sheet pan with the olive oil.

2 Combine the beef, egg, arrowroot powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme and garlic powder in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

3. Roll the beef mixture out on the prepared sheet pan to 1/2-inch thickness. Be sure the thickness is consistent.

4. Bake the beef for 10 to 15 minutes or until it is cooked through.

5. While the beef is baking, combine the diced tomatoes and tomato paste in a medium bowl.

6. Remove the beef “crust” from the oven and drain off the liquid.

7. Cover the “crust” with the tomato sauce, and then spread the garlic, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers and olives on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired, and continue baking for another 5 minutes or until the veggies are cooked.

8. Remove the meatza from the oven, garnish with cilantro, allow to cool a bit and serve.

Our assessment:

If you love the flavor and smell of pizza, but fret over all the calories in the crust, this recipe’s definitely an option. I took this meatza to work and shared it with some of my friends in the newsroom. The recipe doesn’t call for any cheese, but I gave my friends the option of sprinkling a small amount of mozzarella on top when reheating the meatza in the microwave.

Here’s what they thought:

“I thought it was good and the toppings tasted very much like pizza. The only issue I had with it was that it was a bit greasy so I don’t know if there’s a way to cut some of it in the recipe. Overall, I liked it and would eat it again!” — Arundi Venkayya, Local News

“I wasn’t sure how I would feel about ‘all that meat’ but it was different and very good. Also filling so I am saving my last piece for a snack later!” — Mary Irby-Jones, WHIO-TV Assistant News Director

“I agree, it’s very filling without being a giant portion, which is what I need more of!” — Samantha Sommer, long-range planning director

“I, too, was skeptical of the idea of ‘meatza,’ but I was pleasantly surprised. Great flavor combination, and the meat makes a nice crust (says the girl who loves bread). I did blanket my meatza in cheese, however — and I have no regrets about doing that. I recommend eating this pizza with a fork.” — Michelle Fong, Local News, Arts/Entertainment, Life

Final words: This meatza is quite tasty, packs well and can be reheated in minutes. If you have it for lunch, you won’t be hungry again until dinner because the protein is very filling. For vegetarians who want to avoid grains, I recommend making a crust out of cauliflower. Just don’t expect to be able to pick up the slices with your hands — you’ll definitely need a fork. Here’s a simple recipe for it, which I’ve adapted from a recipe I found on allrecipes.com:

1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into chunks

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 egg

2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Sat and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and line a large baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper. Steam cauliflower until it is soft, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Put in a bowl and add remaining ingredients and mash up with a fork. Press evenly into pan. Bake until it begins to brown, approximately 15-20 minutes.

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