Do excuse the cliché reflection, but I can’t quite believe that we are more than half way through the first month of summer. It seems like two weeks ago that I sat down to write my intentions for 2018. One of them? Practicing yoga for fifteen minutes three times a week. After months of procrastination, June was the month I got round to it. Better late than never, I guess. And 100% worth it. From time to time, doing something that stands in all-out contrast with your usual fitness routine is brilliant for both the body and the mind!
Anyway, back to the original subject. By this stage, summer is fully upon us here in the UK: we’ve had a few onsets of rain (no surprises here), but nothing that undermined the overall pleasantness of the month. I’m talking balmy evenings, short nights and flowers blooming along every street. It’s been a delight. To make the most of it, I’ve been spending my spare time outdoors and, being the foodie that I am, trying out new recipes that align with the overall mood of the season. An abundance of thriving farmers markets and fresh produce make summery recipes some of my personal favourites.
Thinking of summer food, salad comes to mind first, which is completely understandable. I’ve posted a fair share on my Instagram, including Buddha bowls and cold pasta dishes. Then there are smoothies, juices and no-bake sweet treats that refresh on a hot day. However, while the sort of foods I crave and ingredients I use varies from season to season, I still need my wholesome, carby meals for energy and happy tastebuds alike.
Combining all the summer vibes and colours with wholesomeness, these mini pizzas are an ideal solution. After I discovered white sweet potatoes at the supermarket, I fell in love with their unique taste, thought about what I could do with them and decided to bring the concept of pizza into the equation. And no, I’m not going to claim they taste like the ‘real’ thing, just like cauliflower ‘rice’ doesn’t taste like Jasmine or Basmati. But they can be appreciated for their unique, fresh flavour without drawing needless comparisons. Because you know, balance is takeout pizza and doughnuts on some days, vegetables and putting together ‘your entire five-a-day in one sitting’ meals from scratch on others.
Eat these either as a meal by themselves, with a side salad, or cook up a larger batch for upcoming BBQs and picnics. Top them with the avocado sauce to balance out the natural sweetness of the vegetables with a lemony flavour and smooth texture. And of course, switch things up by trying different varieties of potato, toppings and condiments. It’s very tricky to go wrong with pizza – unless we’re talking about the never-ending ‘does pineapple belong on pizza’ debate, which I’ve managed to stay out of. Not having tried the infamous combo, I don’t want to bring along unecessary bias!
Let me know in the comments: what your favourite thing to eat in the summer? And be sure to tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) if you give the recipe a go!
Mini Sweet Potato Pizzas With A Tangy Avocado Dip (Vegan)
Bringing summer vibes to pizza, these little treats make a simple, nourishing dinner or a way to impress your friends and family at outdoor get-togethers. They are full of flavour, packed with micronutrients and easy to put together with staple ingredients. Perfect when served together with the avocado sauce for a hint of zinginess, and an optional side salad of choice.
- 500 g white sweet potato, peeled Use any potato variety you have on hand!
- 2 tbsp flour of choice
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 flax egg To make, mix 1 tbsp ground flaxseed with 3 tbsp of water and leave to stand for 15-20 minutes
- 2.5 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp juice from canned tomatoes
- 1/4 small zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1/4 orange bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp frozen green peas, thawed
- 2 store-brought vegan sausages, finely chopped
For the avocado sauce
- 1/2 medium avocado
- 2 stalks spring onion
- 2 tbsp green peas, thawed
- juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees C/392 F. Add instructions on how to microwave potato.
Mash the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, the nutritional yeast and the flax egg, combining thoroughly.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Coat your hands with a light dusting of flour and form the 'dough' into patties around 1cm in thickness and 10cm in diameter. Bake in the preheated oven for around 20 minutes, until slightly crispy.
Stir together the tomato paste and the juice from the canned tomatoes. Remove crusts from the oven, and spread evenly with the resulting mixture.
Top with the zucchini, bell pepper, red onion, frozen peas and sausages. Bake for a further 20-25 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by simply blending together the avocado, spring onions, green peas and lemon juice.
Serve the pizzas immediately or leave to cool for as long as desired.
Make as many or as few pizzas as you want out of the 'dough', but keep in mind that this may affect cooking times.