Pizza. No matter where I go, no matter who I talk to, when it comes to healthy living people always seem to ask about pizza. Usually, pizza is not a bad thing – as long as you are aware of how often you eat it, how much you eat, and what you put on it… so yea, there’s still room for a slice from your favorite pizza joint once in awhile.
But say you want pizza more than just “once in awhile”? There are ways to make your pizza a Positively Healthy option. Normally I would start with what you put on top of your pizza, but today let’s start at the bottom – the crust. Whether you’re trying to go gluten-free, or just looking for alternatives to processed flour, here’s a tasty pizza crust recipe that will get you started… and it’s made with one of my favorite whole grains… quinoa.
I had seen a couple of similar recipes to this at different times. This is one I adapted from a recipe I originally saw over on A Sweet Life, and while it’s super easy to make it does take a bit of planning. This isn’t one you’ll be able to just whip together on the fly.
See, it starts with quinoa, but instead of cooking it, we’re going to soak it. For at least four hours, but preferably about 8 hours. So the planning can be as simple as knowing if you want it for dinner, start the quinoa soaking when you leave for work in the morning. Then you blend up the quinoa with some seasonings and water until it’s about the consistency of a thick pancake batter. You bake the crust, top it, bake it some more, and bada-bing, you’ve got pizza.
This recipe would be a meal on it’s own for one or better yet, add a nice salad on the side and it will feed two. I’m not going to talk to you a lot about toppings at this time, but I’m hoping you keep an overall healthy mind-set when deciding how to top this crust. And feel free to change up the seasonings in the crust to suit your tastes or to go along with your planned toppings.
Quinoa Pizza Crust
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 2-1/2 cups water, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or no-stick spray
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Put the quinoa in a bowl or other container with 2 cups water and let soak for 4-8 hours.
Brush a 9″ cast-iron skillet with oil or use no-stick spray. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet use a cake pan or pie plate. Put in oven and turn it on to 450 to pre-heat.
Drain the quinoa, rinse and put in a blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup water and process until the consistency of a thick pancake batter, adding more water if needed. Add seasoning and salt and mix.
When oven is heated, carefully pour batter in to preheated pan and quickly spread around to an even thickness.
Bake for about 10 minutes, carefully flip and back for another 10 minutes until browned.
Remove from oven and add toppings, return to oven and bake for about another 5-7 minutes until heated.
Here’s how my crust looked after I took it from the oven, but before I flipped it to bake the other side. I went very basic with my toppings, a touch of olive oil, some chopped chicken I had left over from a previous meal, some diced red onion and a bit of fresh, chopped basil, then I topped it all with a bit of Gorgonzola cheese. Using a really flavorful cheese like that means you can get by with a lot less of it. And the Italian spice mix I used was the Italian dressing blend from Penzys, I’ve also done with just adding in other seasonings as they struck my fancy for what I was in the mood for at the time and they’ve always turned out great.
There is no yeast or gluten or anything, so this crust does not rise at all. It was nicely done on the outside, with an inside that was a sort of chewy that was kind of similar to the doughy texture of a deep dish pie. I may have to experiment with using about half the amount of “batter” next time and see if I can get a nice, thin, crispy crust. And if you’re feeding a family, just double the recipe and use a 12″ or so pan like the original recipe calls for.
In the mean time, if you try this out, let me know how you topped yours and how it turned out by leaving a comment below.