A Classic Taco Pizza Recipe

A Classic Taco Pizza Recipe

 

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I grew up on the west side of Michigan near Grand Rapids. I don’t recall that my parents ordered take-out meals very often; certainly, not as much I do these days with my own family. As a kid, I used to consider take-out or going to a restaurant on a special occasion. I enjoyed my parent’s cooking; however, it was always fun to eat restaurant food here and there.

There was a restaurant that has since closed, called ‘Village Inn Pizza.’ It was located on Alpine Avenue, just off the exit from I-96. They had a taco pizza that brings back memories to this day. There was something about having all the ingredients that I love about a taco, on a warm, crunchy crust.

The ground beef was nicely seasoned, the fresh tomatoes were evenly diced, the shredded lettuce was slightly wilted from the heat, and they had a taco sauce that made it all come together. Fast forward 30+ years (yikes!) and I still remember that pizza and the smells of the restaurant as we stood in line to pick up our order at the counter. It was usually on a busy, weekend evening as karaoke was getting started in the back dining area.

If there’s one thing about my kids, and I’ve mentioned this before, they eat a lot of pizza in every variation of the form. So, one evening, I decided to mix it up a little and try my own version of the nostalgic meal that takes me back to being a kid (it was a risk with these pizza critics, but it was one I was willing to take 😆). For my version of taco pizza, I used ground turkey instead of beef. I also used a homemade taco seasoning, which I found on Pinterest a few years ago and have used it ever since. Other than that, I made sure to grate the cheese finer than I normally do, and I topped the pizza with shredded lettuce as soon as it came out of the oven so that it wilted just as I remembered.

As I wrote this, I decided to do a quick Google search for ‘Village Inn Pizza’ and found out it was sold to developers in 2000. I was hoping to find an old menu online, so I could compare the ingredients to what I remember, but no luck. I’m sure there’s an old copy somewhere out there, but I just haven’t found it yet. Until then, I’m happy with what I recreated. I know you might wonder why you’d make such a drastic change to a good ol’ Italian pizza, but I guarantee you’ll enjoy it, and you just might make it for special occasions. 😊

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • Onion, Diced
  • Easy Homemade Taco Seasoning
  • Pizza Dough – I used a frozen from our local grocery store. Follow directions on the package.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Grated Finely
  • Lettuce, Shredded
  • Tomato, Diced
  • Black Olives, Sliced (Optional)
  • Enchilada Sauce or Taco Sauce – I used Taco Bell’s Mild Sauce from the store.

Directions

  1. Cook the ground turkey in a large pan on medium-high, breaking up the meat with a spatula. I find most of the liquid from the turkey slowly cooks off and disappears. You can drain the excess amount, although you will want some when you add the taco seasoning or it will be too dry.
  2. Add the diced onion to the turkey and continue cooking until it becomes slightly opaque.
  3. Stir in the seasoning. If you don’t want to make your own, just use a packet of taco seasoning from the store and follow the instructions.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 450° or the temperature on the package.
  5. Roll out your pizza dough into the shape you prefer. I use a ball of dough that I push and pull until it fits my round pizza pan. Refer to the instructions to determine if you need to pre-cook the dough before adding toppings.
  6. Top the dough with your taco meat, spreading it evenly to all of the edges.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown. If you lift the pizza with a spatula, it should be golden brown on the bottom as well.
  8. Remove the pizza from the oven and immediately top with the shredded lettuce, then cheese, tomatoes, and olives. Top with taco sauce before serving.

Alison Catone

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