Viva la Pizza (Quinoa Pizza Crust)

IMG_4118When I first began this “wellness journey” of mine, the thought that kept me up at night was how am I ever going to give up pizza? I love pizza. And I don’t mean “love” in the way most people “love” pizza. Pizza isn’t just my favorite food- pizza is an actual FOOD GROUP of mine. I dream of pizza. I salivate at the thought of pizza. I truly and honestly believe that my husband and I are still together due to our mutual fondness for, and devotion to, pizza. Pizza solves problems. Pizza is one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind…it is a fine example of everything that is good in the world. Pizza is holy.

Furthermore, I live in Italy. HELLO PIZZA. And to top it all of, my husband is Napolitano. I.e. from Naples, Italy. I.e. From pizza’s BIRTHPLACE!

And then what happens? I read the China Study, I freak out about casein, I decide I need to give dairy-free living a go… and well: adios pizza. (At least adios cheese pizza). Then I start learning a bit more about nutrition and I realize that I need to totally cut out refined flours (even though I already had an inkling) and that I should probably steer away from gluten. And there went my pizza. Even without the cheese.

I lost sleep for a week.

I did attempt to make different types of pizza bases. I tried cauliflower pizza but the first attempts came out pretty chewy with a consistency that no one really wants to (or should) eat. The next few attempts were ok in terms of consistency but tasted really “eggy” and then I gave up eggs anyway. Because what vegan eats eggs, right?

I also tried to make pizza/focaccia bases in my dehydrator with different seeds, seasonings, buckwheat, and the like…and they tasted like bird feed. (Gourmet birdfeed- but birdfeed nonetheless.)

And then I discovered quinoa pizza crust.

Now, I am not going to lie and say that eating any variation of quinoa pizza is EXACTLY the same as Pizza Margherita from Michele in Napoli or Bonci in Rome (btw- I consider myself a foremost expert on pizza throughout Italy, so I’m happy to give recommendations. Just pm me.) BUT- quinoa pizza crust is pretty damn good. Moreover, it absolutely satisfies any pizza cravings one may have and it is undoubtedly as good for the body as pizza is good for the soul.

Here are two no-fail pizza crust recipes that work for me. They can be created with varying thicknesses depending on individual preferences. The pizza pictured above is a coconut milk and garlic white pizza sauce (recipe below) with onions, oregano and red pepper toppings.

Quinoa Pizza Base 1:

(recipe adapted from thegreeneberger.com)

Ingredients:

  • Two cups Quinoa flour (bought or ground)
  • 3 Tbsp ground Flaxseed
  • ¼ cup Hot Water
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 and ¼ tsp Baking Powder
  • ¾ cup water
  • Himalayan or sea salt (a sprinkling/to taste)
  • 3 Tbsp Dried Herbs/seasoning (I like to use oregano or mix oregano with thyme and marjoram)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200C). Mix together ground flax seed with the hot water and set for 3-5 minutes. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the quinoa flour and baking powder. Stir in the flax and water combo, olive oil, salt and herbs. Fold in the water (I use my hands to knead thoroughly). Transfer dough to a cast-iron skillet, pizza stone or (I use a pan lined with baking paper) and spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes or until dough is beginning to brown. Add sauce and toppings and return to the oven until the toppings are cooked to your liking. Cool, slice and enjoy!

Quinoa Pizza Base 2:

(adapted from “Deliciously Ella,” Ella Woodward’s cookbook)

Ingredients:

  • 195 g quinoa
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp herbs (can be mixed herbs de Provence, oregano, etc..)
  • Sprinkling of chili flakes
  • Olive oil for greasing
  • Salt (sprinkling/to taste)

Instructions:

Soak quinoa overnight or for 8 hours in cold water. Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Drain water and put quinoa in a food processor with apple cider vinegar, herbs, chili flakes and salt. Blend until a smooth dough forms. Line a pan with either baking paper or olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes until the base is firm and beginning to brown. Add toppings and put back into the oven until the toppings are cooked to your liking. Cool, slice and enjoy!

*EXTRA:

Garlic Coconut White Pizza Sauce:

(recipe originally from Vanessa Croessmann at veganfamilyrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk
  • 5 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and sauté over low heat until the garlic softens and becomes fragrant. Add the coconut milk and salt. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes and set aside until the pizza crust is ready. When the crust is ready, pour evenly over the crust (you may want to raise the borders a bit so the sauce doesn’t spill over). Sprinkle oregano, diced red onions and diced pepper over the sauce. Place the pizza back in the oven for about 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

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