Stick with me here.
I need to say that while I lovelovelove to eat healthy and am always open to trying a new food or trend, healthy or otherwise--I am not a vegan nor am I gluten-intolerant (necessarily). I understand that veganism makes the most sense for some people, but it does not for me. I am, before anything else, a person who loves to eat and try new things and when going to a new place I will always ALWAYS participate in and embrace the culture/food first. My preferences come second. But that's just me.
That said--we kinda eat vegan at home. I'll go days before I realize I haven't had any dairy or meat. I think we both prefer vegetables for one, have gotten used to feeling healthy and lighter, plus beans are my favorite food :) And if you're not clear why lots of people who are not necessarily intolerant of wheat products are going gluten-free, you can start here. It's a good thing to avoid when you can, and plus new experiments can always provide kitchen fun!
So the night before last I had seen this recipe for a kind of 'flat bread' made out of garbanzo bean flour. So we gave it a whirl as an experiment with our dinner that night and loved it. It's a great recipe because its simple and seemed really versatile. Being round and flat, it had a pizza-like appearance, so I figured I could do some riffing and a couple of adjustments and make it even more pizza-like.
So that was my goal last night. I saw this recipe over on The Queen of Quinoa and it looked yummy beyond yummy. I didn't have quinoa flour and wanted to use what I had on hand so I riffed on her recipe and came up with my own with a mix of both millet flour, garbanzo bean flour and brown rice flour and a couple of other additions and it was--no kidding--ridiculous.
In fact, it went exactly like this:
Mr. Wood: (about to sit down with his plate) I mean, let's face it, nothing will ever be as good as a real dough, margerita pizza with red sauce and cheese.
Me: True. But let's just think about this as something different than pizza--maybe just a kind of healthy salad-type thing to eat during the week.
Mr. Wood: Totally. I'm excited about it I'm just saying...
We dig in and eat in silence for a few minutes.
Mr. Wood: (a bit wild-eyed) I mean I might never have to have real pizza ever again!
I made two crusts so we would have left-overs for lunch today and he basically polished it off!
So, yes. Obviously we will be having real pizza many more times in our lives and this is different than your 'normal' pizza, but--its a total hit with both of us. Not to mention you get an energy burst after you eat and no heavy leadbelly feeling.
I will say it was a lot of trouble. We used every saute pan in the house, plus a cast-iron skillet, a glass pie pan and a bunch of mixing bowls. But you could eliminate some of the toppings to simplify. I do think that one of the keys to this is flavoring every level, so that even the arugula is loaded with wonderful, bright flavor.
And if the avocado substitution is a new thing for you, a more traditional pesto would also be delicious but--as The Queen of Quinoa says--the decadent creaminess of the avocado is unbeatable and gives a textural reminder of the cheese. And its flavored with Italian flavors so it actually made perfect sense. It really was even better than I expected it to be. Part of it had to be the golden brown crispiness that is the crust--I mean, look at this...
I like a browned, crispy crust on a regular pizza and this seems somehow fool-proof so far.
We topped ours with grilled chicken (which was left over from the night before), caramelized onions, fresh garlic, sauteed mushrooms and zucchini (sauteed with garlic and red pepper flakes), sliced fresh jalapeno, Italian avocado pesto/spread (which you can find here), arugula salad tossed with homemade Italian dressing, more red pepper flakes and a pink Himilayan salt just for fun.
Recipes for the two types of crust and homemade Italian dressing below with many indebted thanks (once again) to the original pizza crust recipe from The Queen of Quinoa :)
ROSEMARY BROWN RICE GARBANZO BEAN PIZZA CRUST
1/2c Garbanzo Bean Flour
1/2c Brown Rice Flour
1-1 1/4c filtered water
1tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2tsp-1tsp agave nectar
1 tsp dried or fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
2 TBS olive oil
Preheat the oven to 450. In a mixing bowl, combine the flours and the salt and whisk in the water 1/4 cup at a time until you have a batter not unlike the consistency of pancake batter. Add the vinegar and agave and whisk in to combine well.
Pour the olive oil and rosemary into a cast iron skillet (my first choice) or a glass pie pan or any other oven-safe skillet or pan and swirl around to coat the bottom. Put in the oven to heat a few minutes, then remove, pour the batter into the hot oil and rosemary and then put back in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the sides are browned and pulled away from the sides somewhat.
Top with the avocado pesto and the rest of your toppings, slice and enjoy!
BLACK PEPPER, MILLET FLOUR AND GARBANZO BEAN FLOUR PIZZA CRUST
2/3c Garbanzo Bean Flour
1/3c Millet Flour
1 tsp (or more) fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 TBS (or so) olive oil
(Recipe the same as above, adding the pepper with salt. Rosemary optional.)
Homemade Italian Dressing
1/2c olive oil
1 TBS red wine vinegar
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 healthy pinch Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 TBS chopped fresh parsley
squeeze of 1/4 lemon (optional)
Whisk all the ingredients except the parsley together, then stir in the parsley.
- I used a TBS or two of this Italian dressing to flavor the avocado spread, by the way.
- Other ingredients and toppings I intend to try is a sundried tomato pesto or some type of artichoke pesto?? Need to research some ideas but that could be really yummy.
- Eggplant? Some type of capponata? Black olives? Obviously tons of possibilites :) Let me know if you have some other brilliant ideas! We'll be needing them since we decided this is a definite easy week-night go-to.