Moroccan Tuna Pizza with Vegetables and Olives

Close up of pizza dough being flattened
Image Source RF/Chad Springer / Getty Images
  • 60 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: Two large 15" pizzas
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Below is my recipe for homemade pizza with tuna, for which I have had many requests over the years. Pizza is obviously not traditional Moroccan food, but nonetheless, it has been adopted as fusion fare by many Moroccans. Tuna is a particularly popular topping, often in tandem with caramelized onions and tomatoes or other sauteed vegetables. My version, though, leaves the veggies raw, as I like their crunchy texture and appealing color.

Some Moroccan cooks use Edam cheese in place of mozzarella when making pizza. At one time, mozzarella was hard to find and comparatively expensive, but that's no longer the case in many urban areas.

Don't be afraid of the oil in the dough; it plays an important role in giving the crust its final texture and flavor. The optional chili paste was introduced to my family by a Moroccan spice vendor in my neighborhood; it adds a layer of phenomenal flavor (and fire!) that I encourage you to try. And, instead of dried herbs when making the sauce, you may want to use fresh herbs, which offer more vibrant flavor.

Be sure to read the tips at the end of the directions; I explain how to pre-cook the crust and prep pizzas for later-in-the-day baking or freezing.

Note that the prep and rising times may overlap as you can make the sauce and chop vegetables while the dough is rising.

What You'll Need

  • Pizza Dough: 
  • 3 cups (375 g) white flour
  • 1 cup (120 g) whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups (315 ml) warm water (approximately)
  • additional flour for kneading
  • Pizza Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely chopped
  • 1 small can (140 g or 5 oz.) tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon dried or oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • pinch or two of sugar
  • pinch of black pepper
  • Chili Paste (Optional): 
  • 1 tablespoon
  • 3 cloves of garlic, mashed to a paste with a mortar and pestle
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • generous pinch of crushed rosemary
  • generous pinch of za'atar
  • Pizza Toppings:
  • 1 lb. (or 500 g) grated mozzarella cheese (some Edam, if desired)
  • 1/2 cup or more of canned oil-packed tuna, drained (oil reserved if desired)
  • 1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms, fresh or canned
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped or slivered
  • 1 small green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small yellow pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1 handful green pitted olives, chopped sliced
  • 1 handful black pitted olives, chopped or sliced

How to Make It

Make the Pizza Dough

(Note: The pizza dough recipe yields two large, thin crust pizzas. Add another cup of white flour if you prefer a thicker crust.)

  1. In a large bowl or , combine the flours, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center and add the yeast, oil, and warm water. Stir the wet ingredients to dissolve the yeast, then blend everything together to make a dough.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (or work directly in the gsaa, if using one) and knead until soft, smooth and supple but not sticky; add a little more water or flour if necessary to achieve this. (If you prefer, you can knead the dough with an electric stand mixer fitted with dough hook.)
  1. Divide the dough in half and shape into two smooth mounds. Oil the surface of the dough and place on an oiled tray; cover with a layer of plastic and then a towel, and leave to rise for 45 minutes or longer.

Prep Other Ingredients and Make the Sauce

  1. Prepare the toppings: While the dough is rising, chop vegetables and olives and set them aside. Grate the cheese and set aside.
  2. Make the sauce: In a small saucepan, briefly heat the garlic in the vegetable oil over low heat just until fragrant; do not allow the garlic to burn. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, sugar and seasoning. Mix in a little water, a tablespoon or two at a time, to thin the sauce to desired consistency. Simmer the sauce for a few minutes over low heat to allow the flavors to blend. Taste and adjust seasoning, and set aside.
  3. To make the optional chili paste: Combine all ingredients, seasoning to taste.

Assemble and Bake the Pizzas

  1. Position your oven rack to its lowest position. Preheat the oven to 500° F (260° C). Allow ample time for the oven to get very hot.
  2. On a floured surface (I use a finely woven cotton tea towel), roll out each portion of dough into a 15" circle and place on large, oiled pizza pans. (I use perforated pizza pans. Try this tip: To transfer the dough easily to the pan, lightly dust the surface of the rolled out dough with flour then fold the dough gently in half, then in half again. Position the folded dough with the point in the center of the pan and unfold.)
  3. Spread a thin layer of chili paste over each crust, then a layer of pizza sauce. (You will have leftover sauce; it can be frozen or saved for dipping; see tips below.)
  4. Distribute tuna over each pizza, and if desired, also drizzle a spoonful or two of reserved oil from the tuna over each pizza.
  5. Arrange the cheese over each pizza, then the remaining toppings over the cheese.
  6. Bake one pizza at a time on the lower rack, for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the cheese bubbly and melted. (Or, bake both pizzas together on upper and lower racks, rotating the pans halfway through cooking.) If you opted for a thicker crust pizza, the baking time may increase slightly. Serve the pizzas while warm.

Tips

  • The pizzas may be prepped in advance for later baking. To do this, pre-bake the crusts. Roll out the dough as normal, place on well-oiled pizza pans, prick the dough all over with a fork, and bake in a preheated 450° F (230° C) oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is barely beginning to show signs of turning golden. Carefully remove the dough from the pan to a rack or towel to cool. When cool, return the cooled crusts to the plans and proceed with assembling the pizzas as described above. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until baking time; or, freeze the wrapped pizzas (remove them from the pan once they are stiff and frozen and wrap with a second layer of plastic) for up to two months. There is no need to thaw the pizza before baking it in a preheated 500° F (260° C) oven.
  • Leftover pizza sauce. The pizza sauce recipe yields enough sauce for 3 or 4 large pizzas. Leftover sauce may be refrigerated or frozen for another use. It also makes a good dipping sauce for fried vegetables or fried seafood.