Not many people would be able to say no to a pizza straight out of the oven - the sight and aroma of a well-cooked pizza is enough to make your mouth water.
Most people can enjoy pizza in moderation without having to worry. Unfortunately, there are a few individuals who are unable to digest gluten, the protein that is abundant in wheat. For this reason, they have to either avoid wheat based products entirely or face the discomforts of eating them.
Luckily, there are a few alternative ingredients to wheat that can be used to prepare pizza bases. One of these is quinoa, a gluten free grain that is becoming more and more popular among vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters.
Quinoa is a highly nutritious food, providing the body with significant amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and protein. In fact, it is a complete protein source (meaning it provides the body with all 9 essential amino acids), which is rare among plant based foods.
Quinoa is also very versatile and can be incorporated into lots of recipes. It is commonly eaten as a substitute for rice, especially by people who want to lower their carbohydrate intake. Quinoa can be used as a base ingredient for preparing breads, burger patties, pancakes and porridge.
Today we will be using it as the key ingredient for preparing pizzas that are both healthy and filling.
Makes: 1 10-inch pizza
1 cup of uncooked quinoa
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Pinch of salt
Pizza toppings of your choice
1. Soak the quinoa for 6 – 8 hours to soften it and get rid of the bitter outer shell. Then drain and wash under running water.
2. Combine the quinoa, 1/3 of a cup of water, salt and baking powder in a food processor and process for roughly 2 minutes, until you are left with a thick homogenous mixture.
3. The quinoa ‘dough’ should ideally be cooked in an oven designed for pizza. Most pizza ovens come with a pizza stone, so if you have one of these, spread the mixture evenly on top of it. Alternatively, if you will be using an ordinary oven, pour the mixture into a greased baking tray. In both cases, you want the mixture to have a thickness of no more than 1/4 of an inch. The thinner the layer, the crispier the base will be.
4. Place the pizza stone or tray into the oven and allow to cook. Pizza ovens tend to reach temperatures of at least 600 degrees Fahrenheit, so 7 – 10 minutes is all you need. In an ordinary oven, cook the mixture for approximately 15 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Once one side is done, carefully flip over the base and cook for a further 5 – 10 minutes.
5. Spread tomato sauce and your favorite toppings over the quinoa base and cook for another 10 minutes.
6. Once ready, cut the pizza into slices and enjoy!
For more experience working with gluten free doughs, don't miss The Chopping Block's Gluten-Free Baking, just one of our gluten free cooking classes, this Sunday, May 7 at the Merchandise Mart. We also have a Gluten-Free Breads Boot Camp coming up on Saturday, May 20 where you'll learn how to make:
- Apple-Pear Crostata with homemade pie dough
- White Pizza with homemade pizza dough
- Buttery Dinner Rolls
- Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chips, and
- Sticky Pecan Buns.
In the meantime, download our Gluten-Free Gourmet for 6 gluten-free versions of your favorite dishes.