The Great Pizza Experiment

As I mentioned in my last post, I had received a challenge to create a gluten-free, dairy-free, nightshade-free pizza. Here at last are the results!


Pizza Part 1: The Crust

A great pizza crust is very important. Some people like deep dish, some like thin and crispy. Whatever the thickness, the crust should hold up well enough the carry layers of savory deliciousness to your mouth, no fork necessary! These two crust recipes had the right flavor, texture, and aroma for my taste. Added benefit: they won’t overload your carb quota, and should leave your tummy feeling happy.

Autoimmune Protocol Flatbread and Pizza Crust

Recipe from Breanna at hewontknowitspaleo.com.

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup arrowroot flour (I usually use potato starch, but stick with arrowroot for nightshade-free)
1/3 cup coconut four
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 gelatin egg substitute* (see below)

Preheat oven to 350º.
Place all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl except for gelatin egg substitute and lemon juice.
Prepare gelatin egg substitute: Whisk 1 tablespoon gelatin into 1 tablespoon room temperature water, then add 2 tablespoons boiling water, whisking vigorously until completely dissolved and frothy. Use immediately.
Add gelatin egg substitute and lemon juice to dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated.
Scrape dough out of mixing bowl and roll into ball.

Between two layers of parchment paper, roll ball of dough into 11″ circle with a rolling pin. If dough cracks, add a bit more water – no more than one tablespoon at a time.
Remove top layer of parchment paper, and transfer bottom layer and flatbread dough to pizza pan or stone.
Bake for 12 minutes.

*If you’d rather not use gelatin, you can substitute 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds and mix with the three tablespoons hot water, or use 1/4 cup mashed sweet potato as the egg substitute. I like the texture best with the gelatin, though.

Added bonus: If you overbake the crust, you will end up with a cracker! While this isn’t great if your intention is pizza crust, it does make pretty great pita chips if you cut the dough in triangles first and bake it longer on purpose. 🙂

Do visit Breanna’s website, as she has many great recipes there. Her recipe book looks wonderful too!

 Gluten-Free Yeast Dough Pizza Crust 

Revised from Gluten-Free Goddess.

1 1/8 teaspoons yeast
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons warm water (100-115° F)
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/3 rounded cup brown rice flour
1/3 rounded cup almond flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon coconut flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon applesauce
1-2 tablespoons additional warm water, if needed

Place the warm water in a measuring cup and stir in the honey till dissolved. Sprinkle or stir in the yeast and leave to begin bubbling.

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients. In a small bowl or cup, combine the warm water, chia seeds, and applesauce.

When the yeast mixture has begun to bubble, add it to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add chia mixture and olive oil and mix until dough is smooth, like thick muffin batter. If batter is too thick, add the extra water.

Scoop the dough onto a parchment-lined pizza stone and spread with a spatula to about a 12″ circle. Place in a slightly warmed oven (10 seconds preheating) to rise for 30-40 minutes.

Turn oven on to 350°. Bake 20 minutes, until crust is just starting to turn golden. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Spread with sauce, add toppings, drizzle crust with olive oil, then bake about 15 minutes to finish.

Pizza Part 2: The Sauce

Next comes the sauce. I have discovered that people can be very opinionated when it comes to pizza. To some, a pizza must have red sauce or it isn’t pizza. To others, pesto is a far better and more adventurous alternative (I do love pesto!). Others venture into the realm of white pizza. So I tried all three.

Red Sauce

Amanda Torres of The Curious Coconut has created a wonderful tomato-free red sauce. It has great flavor; my only complaint is that it sinks into the crust and sort of disappears if you save the pizza for the next day. The first day, though, it works beautifully! It’s a huge recipe, so you will have plenty of sauce to freeze for later.

The Best No-Mato Sauce

Pesto

Here’s a link to my previous post, delicious Dairy-Free Pesto.

White Garlic Spread

1/2 cup cashews, soaked 4-6 hours, then drained and rinsed
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut milk
1 bulb garlic
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon sage
salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the tip off the gwrlic bulb and place in a small dish, then drizzle with a little olive oil and bake, covered, at 400° for about 45 minutes to an hour. When garlic is tender, remove from oven and let cool; then squeeze garlic out of the papery skins. Place garlic and the rest of ingredients in a blender and blend until the texture of ricotta cheese. Spread over pizza.

Pizza Part 3: The Cheese

Who needs cheese anyway? I must say, this is the hardest part in a non-dairy pizza. After trying a gelatin-based cashew cheese recipe, I decided that was really no good. The “cheese” gels up like oddly-flavored cashew jello. Yuck! Texture really is an important part of food…

Next I tried this recipe by Sam Turnbull. Though Sam says in the post that only tapioca starch will create the stretchy, gooey consistency desired, I found that arrowroot worked just fine. I also prefer to use less of it, as the cheese does not have a “grate-able” consistency anyway. It’s more like cheese sauce that can be “stretched” onto the pizza. Just be sure to pour it on while it’s warm!

My revised version:

1/4 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon arrowroot
1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

In a small saucepan, cover cashews with water (not listed in ingredients) and simmer 10-15 minutes to soften. Drain and rinse cashews and transfer to a blender. Add 1 cup water and all remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan and stir continually over medium-high heat until clumps begin to form. Continue stirring for about 5 minutes, until mixture is comepletely “cheesy” and gooey. Transfer cashew cheese to pizza. If your cheese has cooled, warm it up in a pan until it becomes stretchable again.

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While I was not completely satisfied with the cheese aspect of this experiment, it was passable if you really cannot eat real cheese. Someday I may try some of these actual fermented non-dairy cheeses. For now, though…I have to draw the line somewhere!

Pizza Part 4: The Toppings

Which toppings you choose are in a large part defined by the sauce. Here are the combinations I came up with:

Pesto Pizza: Either crust spread liberally with pesto and topped with baked chicken pieces, sliced black olives, sautéed mushrooms and onions, and a small amount of dairy-free cheese.

“Pepperoni” Pizza: Yeast dough crust spread with no-mato sauce and topped with fresh frenched onions, mushrooms, black olives, dairy-free cheese, and sliced Kiolbassa grass-fed beef sausage.

Balsamic Glazed Fig and “Pepperoni” White Pizza: The most unusual of the three. AIP flatbread crust spread with white garlic sauce, topped with sautéed onions, fresh mushrooms, balsamic glazed figs,* and sliced Kiolbassa grass-fed beef sausage. For future, I would leave off the mushrooms and add a sprinkling of chopped walnuts instead.

*Balsamic-glazed figs: Combine 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 4 dried figs, and 1 sprig fresh rosemary in a small saucepan and simmer until thickened. Reserve the sauce, and just use the figs for the pizza. Even better if you use We Olive’s fig balsamic vinegar! Recipe from Diane SanFilippo’s Practical Paleo.

While the pizza experiment was fun and I loved the results, I have taken a long, long time posting this partly because I was so exhausted from all that cooking! 😉 Seriously, I do recommend breaking up the tasks over several days if you want to make one of these pizzas. And definitely don’t make them all in one day. Since the Great Pizza Experiment, I have made nothing but meals you can cook in an hour or less… Ha ha! It’s about time I tried some simplicity!

I hope you have enjoyed this post on pizza! And that you will maybe even make one or two of them. My next post will be…a much easier recipe, I promise! 🙂

 

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Dairy-Free Pesto

Last month my mom and I started a food and nutrition group, sort of a support group for healthy lifestyles. We have a variety of special diets in the group, and one of the ladies was really missing pizza! So this month’s challenge was to create a gluten-free, dairy-free, nightshade-free pizza! Yes!

So this is the first installment in my pizza experimentation adventures. I made the first trial run pizza last night and it was delicious! Here is the recipe for the pesto. I had made dairy-free pesto before, but didn’t have nutritional yeast. That really adds the finishing touch! You wouldn’t know it’s missing the parmesan.

4 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
1 cup walnuts
1/4 cup cashews, soaked about 4 hours (or additional 1/4 cup walnuts)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1/2-1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste

Place all ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. Makes enough pesto for about two 12-inch pizzas.

And that’s it!