Indian Pizza


Sweet bell peppers, onions and tomatoes cooked together with spices are a classic Indian vegetable dish and when cooked in the Instant Pot, they melt into each other. Once you stir in the paneer at the end, you have a perfect late-summer ratatouille-ish side dish, but I like to take this recipe a step further and make the veggies the base for an Indian pizza.

6 servings

3 tablespoons (45 mL) ghee or vegetable oil    

1 onion, chopped

2 teaspoons (10 mL) kosher salt  

2 teaspoons (10 mL) ground cumin         

2 teaspoons (10 mL) ground coriander   

1 tablespoon (15 mL) ground turmeric    

1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced garlic        

1 green Thai chile, minced

3 red bell peppers, chopped

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1 pound (500 g) store-bought pizza dough

8 ounces (250 g) paneer and/or fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced       

1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped cilantro leaves            

1 teaspoon (5 mL) crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1. Place a pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450°F (230°C). 

2. Using the Sauté function on High, heat the ghee in the inner pot for about 1 minute, until shimmering. Add the onions and salt; cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, garlic; cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant.

3. Stir in the peppers and tomatoes. Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.

4. Once the cooking is complete, quick-release the pressure. Remove the lid and using the Sauté function on low, simmer the sauce for about 5 minutes, until thickened slightly.

5. Transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor; pulse until the sauce is somewhat smooth but still slightly chunky.  

6. Divide the pizza dough in half. Roll each half until flat and about 1/4-inch (0.5 cm) to 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Spread a thin layer of the sauce onto each crust, up to about an 1 inch (2 cm) from the edges. Top with paneer and/or mozzarella slices. Transfer 1 pizza (with the parchment paper) to the preheated baking sheet or pizza stone in the oven and cook for 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the crust is brown. Remove the pizza from the oven, and transfer the remaining pizza to the oven to cook for 10 minutes. Top both pizzas with cilantro leaves and crushed red pepper flakes (if using) then cut them into pieces and serve.

Note: If you want to serve this as a vegetable side dish, skip the pizza crust and simply stir in the paneer and cilantro at the end of step 4 and serve.