When it comes to pizza, I definitely subscribe to the kitschy Pizza Bagel jingle ideology of “pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime” because I could pretty much eat pizza for every meal and be happy (that or cereal. Or a burger). Unfortunately, Dominoes doesn’t exactly top the list of clean eats. Therefore I have had to come up with a clean version of my favourite junk food, which has involved a lot of experimentation with crust recipes. Some came out soggy; other just tasted terrible. Add in the caveat that I cannot eat yeast right now and things got really tricky. But finally, FINALLY, I think I have found a clean, yeast-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free pizza crust that is crispy AND damn delicious. Thank you, pizza gods!
In the past I had a few go-to grain-free recipes for crust, including one made only of chickpea flour and another of soaked and pureed quinoa, but this is the first one that actually gave me a crunchy crust that didn’t involve a high calorie almond flour or a moist and easy-to-mess-up cauliflower base. Instead this recipe gives you a low calorie, high-protein, high-fiber and flavourful crust that has the nice crispness and thickness of delivery pizza AND is super easy to make. Hurrah! Turns out the secret lies in using tapioca flour along with the chickpea flour from my old pizza crust recipe.
Now I know what most of your are thinking: what the hell is tapioca flour? Tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch) comes from the root of the cassava plant. It’s basically the same thing as tapioca pearls, like you would use for good old tapioca pudding, but instead the root has been dried and ground into a flour. When it comes to baking, tapioca flour adds structure to gluten free baking and helps give things a chewy and/or crisp texture, especially in things like cookies, cakes and apparently pizza crust.
The other magical ingredient here is psyllium husk. Psyllium husk is insoluble fiber, meaning your body cannot digest it. It’s commonly used as a bulking laxative, helping to keep things moving by absorbing water in your digestive tract and pushing everything else out with it as it moves through you (I actually drink a Tbsp. dissolved in a glass of water daily. Sorry if this is an over share…). This property also makes psyllium husk excellent in gluten-free baking, since it becomes somewhat gelatinous when mixed with water (and other wet ingredients), acting to help bind baked goods together (replacing the role of gluten). It can be found in any health store (I get mine at Whole Foods in the supplements section), and you can try looking at a store like Bulk Barn, which carries almost anything.
So there you have it – combine these two magic ingredients with some high-protein chickpea flour and a few other odds and ends you surely have in your fridge/pantry, throw on your favourite toppings (mine include homemade sauce, a little smoked cheddar, caramelized red onion, roasted red peppers and chicken) and voilà! – it’s pizza party time. And don’t worry: because the pizza is so healthy you can totally open that awesome bottle of red wine to enjoy with it. In fact, I insist on it.
The Natural Blonde
P.s. I apologize for pretty much guaranteeing that that damn Pizza Bagel jingle will now be stuck in your head for a few solid days. But hey, blame the ad wizards who came up with it and instead thank me for your delicious yet healthy pizza breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You’re welcome.
Herbed Yeast-Free, Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
- ½ cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
- ½ cup tapioca flour
- 1 tsp. xanthan gum
- ½ tsp. psyllium husk powder
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. dried thyme
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 egg
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk (can use regular or other non-dairy milk)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place a piece of parchment paper over a 12″ pizza pan (or you can use a baking tray) and lightly grease with olive oil.
In a large bowl, sift together all dry ingredients. Next, add wet ingredients and mix together with an electric mixer (I haven’t tried doing it by hand so can’t tell you if this is necessary). The batter will be like soft cookie dough and very sticky.
Spread batter on the prepared pizza pan using a wet spatula (this will help with the stickiness) to smooth the dough into a circle shape by pushing it up to, but not touching, the outer edges of pan. If you want you can make a little ridge around the edge to contain the pizza sauce and toppings, but I found it unnecessary.
Bake first for 15 minutes then remove from the oven (it will look puffed up but will fall back down once it cools a bit). Lastly, top with your favourite toppings before baking for another 10-15 minutes or until edges are nice and brown. Slice and serve!
You can make and bake the dough for the first 15 minutes in advance and then just add the toppings and bake for the second 10-15 when you’re ready.
This recipe was tweaked from this one from Bob’s Red Mill.