RECIPES: Shrimp and Avocado Pita Pizzas with Cotija Cheese


By Christine Vartanian Datian

Hot and healthy is the way to go with these Middle Eastern by way of Mexico pizzas.



4 – 8” or 9″ large whole wheat tortillas

3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, thawed if frozen

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2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

shrimp-fra-diavolo-pizza-11/2 medium red onion, chopped

1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, sliced thinly

1 or 2 roasted green chiles, peeled, seeded, cut into strips

2 medium green tomatoes, sliced thinly

1 large avocado, sliced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

2 tablespoons chopped black or green olives

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Pinch of oregano, cumin, and crushed red pepper flakes

2-3 tablespoons olive oil


1/2 cup grated cotija cheese

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

Chopped white onions, cilantro and shredded red cabbage

Crema or sour cream

Lime wedges

Hot sauce or salsa


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large nonstick pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic, red onions, and bell pepper for a few minutes until the onions are translucent; add the shrimp, green chiles, tomatoes, avocado, jalapeno pepper, olives, chili powder, salt, black pepper, oregano, cumin and red pepper flakes; toss all ingredients and cook on medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until the shrimp are opaque.  Remove from heat.

Place the four tortillas on a greased baking sheet.  Evenly spoon amounts of the shrimp and vegetable mixture onto each tortilla; top each tortilla with some cotija cheese and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese melts.  Remove from oven.

Serve pita pizzas topped with chopped green and white onions, cilantro and shredded cabbage; drizzle with crema or sour cream, and garnish with lime wedges and hot sauce or salsa.

Serves: 4

(While the Mexican hard cow-milk cheese Cojita should be readily found, in case you cannot find it, use feta or Parmesan.)

*To see more of Christine’s recipes, go to: or

Christine Vartanian Datian is a native of Fresno, California and lives in Las Vegas.  She is a graduate of Fresno High School and California State University, Fresno (CSUF), and holds a Master of Arts Degree (MA) in Mass Communications.  She has been published in Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines.


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