Pizza with Chipotle Red Lentil Tomato Sauce, Basil, and Vegan Ricotta

Morita chiles are red, fully mature Chipotles. This gives them a unique, medium – hot smokey flavor which is popular in many Southwestern dishes. These can be added to sauces (including Mole) to add smokey flavor and maintain the red color of the sauces. These peppers are about 2-4 inches in length, 1 inch in width, and have a deep brick reddish brown color. The word Chipotle translated to smoked chile. Consider the Chipotle a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the hottest). Scoville heat units 7,000-25,000.

Suggested Use:
Use Morita in enchilada sauces, chili, stews, barbecue ribs, and corn bread. Their smoky quality combines well with poultry, meats and fall squash.

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Serves: 2

For the Chipotle Lentil tomato sauce:
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
½ cup finely chopped red onion,
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup chopped carrot, chopped small (optional)
½ tsp dry oregano
1 tsp dry basil or 1 Tbsp packed chopped fresh basil
2 loaded cups chopped tomato or canned, 2 juicy tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste (optional)
1 chipotle chili pepper, rehydrated in hot water, then drained
½ tsp salt
⅓ cup red/pink lentils (masoor dal), washed and drained
1 cup water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp cayenne or to taste (feel free to leave out the cayenne)
generous dash of black pepper

For the Pizza:
Pizza crust of choice – Use any of my white, wheat or gluten-free pan pizza crusts.
nutritional yeast, fresh basil leaves, salt, pepper,
Vegan ricotta such as kite hill almond ricotta or Vegan Mozzarella

In a pan, add oil and heat over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent.
Add the carrots and herbs and mix well. Add the tomatoes, paste and chopped chipotle pepper and cook for 5 minutes until slightly mushy. Mash the larger pieces.
Add washed and drained lentils to the pan. Add salt, water, vinegar, cayenne, black pepper. Cook partially covered for 16 to 17 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Cook a few minutes longer, uncovered, if the sauce is too thin. Taste and adjust salt, heat and herbs. Take off heat and keep aside to cool. The sauce should be enough for 2 medium pizzas.
Prep your pizza dough and shape. Let the dough rise for 10 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Spread the sauce liberally on the shaped pizza. Add sliced veggies of choice or olives if you like. Sprinkle a generous amount of vegan ricotta or vegan mozzarella and some chopped basil(fresh or dried or both).
Bake for 14 to 16 minutes. Sprinkle more fresh basil, nutritional yeast (optional), salt and pepper and serve.

For variation:
Add ¼ tsp fennel seeds to the sauce.
Add a tbsp of nutritional yeast to the sauce.
Chipotle peppers can be all sizes and can make a mild to spicy sauce. Use 1 or 2 to preference.

Adapted from a recipe from