I was pretty shocked when I found this out a little while back. I don’t eat at Applebee’s all that often but whenever I do find myself there, I almost always to order it. This is probably why I thought it was a favorite for their customers. Apparently, it wasn't.
Since I love the challenge of recreating my restaurant favorites, it has occurred to me several times over the years that I could create the veggie patch pizza (VPP) at home. (I've posted a couple of them here and here and here, and I do have another one that I’ll post eventually.) So once I knew it was off the menu, I decided it was time to finally give it a shot.
I think I knocked it out of the park on the 2nd attempt. My first attempt was to use pizza dough and make it more pizza-like. Big mistake – don’t do it. You need to use a tortilla because it brings it all together.
We shamelessly ate these for dinner with nothing else. If that is the route you want to go, then the recipe below will serve two. But as an appetizer, or paired with some soup or salad, I think you’ll serve four with no problem. And of course, you can always double the recipe!
Applebee’s Veggie Patch Pizza Knockoff
*Makes 2, 10” pizzas – serves 4 as an appetizer
- 1 ½ cups sliced button mushrooms
- 2 tbls butter, divided
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup minced onion
- 1 cup artichokes, chopped
- 2 – 2 ½ cups packed baby spinach, chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 2 teas oil - veggie or canola
- 2 10” flour tortillas
- ¾ - 1 cup shredded mozzarella or Italian mix cheese
- 1 tomato, seeded and diced
- In a large sauté pan melt 1 tbl of butter. Add mushrooms and sauté over medium heat for 7-8 minutes or until mushrooms are browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, reduce heat to medium low and add remaining tablespoon of butter, onions and garlic. Sauté until garlic is fragrant and onions are transparent, stirring occasionally. About 8-10 minutes.
- Add artichokes to pan and sauté for two minutes. Add heavy cream and bring pan to medium high temperature. Slowly stir in spinach and parmesan cheese. Stirring occasionally, allow mixture to simmer and reduce until thick. About 10-15 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Bring a large skillet to high heat. Brush each side of tortillas with oil. Place on skillet for 1-2 minutes or until tortillas are lightly browned, then flip and repeat for other side.
- Place tortillas on a baking sheet and spread spinach-artichoke mixture over them leaving a ½” border. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly over pizzas and top with mushrooms. Place under the broiler for a few minutes to melt and lightly brown cheese.
- Remove from oven and top with diced tomatoes. Cut into wedges and serve.