Pizza is a staple in my home. My husband and I have been making pizzas together since we started dating, and in my humble opinion we’ve kind of nailed it. I know, I know, that’s a lofty claim, but whenever we eat pizza out anywhere we leave saying, “Eh, it was alright… I mean, it’s not ours, but it was kind of okay.”
My only hang up with pizza (ours included) is the crust. It’s delicious and all, but it’s nutritional value is less than impressive. By eliminating meat and cheese from our pizzas and loading them up with veggies instead, I’ve got the healthy toppings covered. But the crust…the crust… If only it could be as nutritious as say…oh, I don’t know…a cup of quinoa?
A friend and old client posted this video from Cooking Light Magazine on how to make this quinoa crust, asking that I give it a go and report back. I couldn’t wait to try it out. The crust is basically just quinoa magically transformed without a binder like egg or cheese that you typically see in these flourless crust recipes.
Since the quinoa has to soak for a long time, I put it in a bowl of water in the morning while I was preparing breakfast so that it would be ready come dinnertime. For my mom-brain, that’s the trickiest part of the whole damn recipe — remembering to soak the quinoa ahead of time.
The crust came out perfectly on the first try, which by the way is a testament to the simplicity of the recipe, and not my cooking skills. Since having my son I can barely boil a pot of water without burning it. I swear I used to be really good at multitasking, and things like speaking in full, coherent sentences, and remembering to text people back…sorry neglected friends and family. This is called “mom brain” right?
The crust is dense, a little chewy, and crispy around the edges. You could easily jazz it up by adding herbs and seasonings to the “dough” for a little more distinctive flavoring. I think next time I’ll add basil and garlic powder, or maybe even freshly chopped rosemary.
I topped the quinoa crust with Basil Hemp Seed Pesto and my favorite combination of pizza toppings. It was a total hit — even with my bread-lovin’ husband! The pizza is small (the size of a pie tin), but it’s pretty filling. I served it alongside an arugula salad for an added dose of veggies.
To say I’m excited about this flour-less, vegan, super nutrient-dense pizza crust would be an understatement. I was giddy eating it, knowing it was actually good for me! (Dork, I know.) And once our little bugaboo is old enough for things like pizza, I’ll feel great about feeding it to him.
I haven’t tried freezing one of these quinoa crusts yet, but I bet they freeze well. Wouldn’t that be great to have a few on hand in the freezer to pull out on a weeknight, cover in toppings, and bake?! Genius, I tell ya, genius! 😉
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
- Soak quinoa in water for 8 hours, and then drain and rinse.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Place quinoa in food processor along with remaining crust ingredients.
- Pulse for two minutes until a paste-like substance forms. (It will still be a little grainy.)
- Line pie tin with parchment paper, and pour the quinoa mixture into the tin.
- Smooth with a spatula, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, you can prep the toppings. Sauté the mushrooms in 1 tablespoon olive oil and half of the minced garlic. Caramelize the onions in a pan by constantly stirring them over low heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. When they begin to become translucent, add the remaining minced garlic, and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Take the crust out of the oven, and carefully remove both the crust and the parchment paper from the tin.
- Flip the crust, replace it back into the tin, and bake for another 10 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, make the pesto by putting all the ingredients in a food processor and pulsing until combined.
- Remove the crust from the oven. Leave it in the tin, and cover with pesto and toppings.
- Replace in the oven, and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Remove the pizza from the oven one final time. Allow to cool slightly before removing it from the tin, slicing, and serving.
- Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
- This is my favorite pizza topping combo, but you can top this quinoa crust with anything you'd like.
- You can play with adding herbs like basil or rosemary to the quinoa crust "dough."
- 1 tsp olive oil
- handful of tomatoes peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 Tablespoon caramelized onions reserved from "grown-up" recipe
- 2 Tablespoons sauteed mushrooms reserved from "grown-up" recipe
- 3 basil leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup purified water
- 1/2 teaspoon hemp seeds
- In a small saucepan, heat olive oil and saute tomatoes over medium-low heat for a couple of minutes. Add the quinoa, onions, mushrooms, basil, and water as needed for more moisture. Cook until all the ingredients are tender. Optional: Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse. Stir in the hemp seeds, allow to cool, and serve.