Taco Pizza

I am not ashamed to admit that sometimes I have the gnarliest cravings for "trashy" food, because loving food as much as I do means appreciating the boojie and the trashy all at once. So when I'm in the mood for a true guilty pleasure, I'm craving anything from McDonald's (oh, don't you dare judge) to grilled cheese with American cheese (the only acceptable way to eat a grilled cheese really) to Kraft mac and cheese (shapes > noodles, obviously) and, of course, taco pizza. 

You heard that right. Taco pizza. A perfect mashup of flavors and cuisines, it's Taco Bell meets your standard homemade pizza. Crazy? A little. Crazy delicious? Oh, you know it!

I was first introduced to the crazy concoction that is taco pizza from the local pizzeria I grew up with that had a taco-ish style pizza on the menu. Essentially consisting of a "sauce" layer of salsa infused refried beans, basic taco seasoned ground beef and lots of cheese, it's baked to golden perfection like a typical pizza but then topped with your fresh taco components like shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and/or hot sauce. It literally tastes like your Americanized taco (ie. Taco Bell) in pizza form. What could be bad about that? 

I found myself craving it the other day, and basically every single day after the initial thought. And because there's hardly a pizza place in town that's bold enough to feature such a combination on their menu, I took matters into my own hands and made a homemade version! 

Just like the taco pizza of my dreams, my homemade version started with a saucy layer of refried beans mixed with my favorite salsa. Then, I layered it with standard ground beef seasoned with a taco seasoning packet, because of course you could get all fancy and season it yourself, but why? A healthy handful of both shredded pepper jack and sharp cheddar cheese gets added before a good bake in the oven to achieve crispy, golden brown crust. Then it's transormed into true taco pizza perfection with super cold, crisp shredded iceberg lettuce, chopped tomatoes and a hot sauce/sour cream blend. It's cheesy, it's meaty, crispy, spicy and fresh all in one bite which makes it the ultimate guilty pleasure. 

This pizza may or may not be wrong on so many levels, but even if it is, I so don't want to be right! 

Taco Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 store-bought pizza dough
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1/2 cup your favorite jarred salsa, I love me some Fronterra but any variety will do
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes, to serve
  • Diced red onion, to serve
  • Taco sauce or hot sauce, to serve and/or sour cream mixed with hot sauce for a creamy, spicy kick!

Directions

Let pizza dough sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking before rolling out onto a baking sheet. Meanwhile, brown ground beef in a skillet over medium high heat. Add taco seasoning packet and about 1/2 cup of water and stir to combine. Simmer for about 10 minutes then remove from heat and set aside. Combine refried beans with salsa and stir to combine. Set aside. 

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Sprinkle about a small handful of flour onto a baking sheet then stretch dough into square-ish shape as far as you can. Brush with some olive oil and bake for 10 minutes until golden brown, but not all the way cooked through. Remove dough from oven and spread refried bean and salsa mixture evenly onto dough leaving about a 1/2 inch crust. Then sprinkle cheddar and pepper jack cheese evenly across refried bean "sauce". Finally, evenly distribute taco seasoned ground beef across pizza. Bake for another 8-10 minutes until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly. 

Let pizza cool for about ten minutes. Top with super cold (in fact, we popped our lettuce in the freezer for about 5 minutes), shredded iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and sour cream. If you want a bit of a spicier kick, combine two tablespoons of hot sauce with sour cream, or just top pizza with all the hot sauce and/or taco sauce your heart desires. Enjoy!

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