Oh my god gluten-free pizza
I wasn’t going to write about this, because it’s just pizza, and it’s not really that innovative, and I wasn’t even making my own crust, I was just using a gluten-free crust mix. And then this pizza crust literally changed my life and it’s 9:30am on Saturday morning and I’ve already devoured the leftovers for breakfast.
I do not strictly eat gluten-free, nor do I eat strictly vegan, which you’ll definitely see here. I believe in consuming whole foods, so just as I would never eat something that is low-fat (taking out the fat requires adding in tons of extra toxic preservatives to retain the flavor), I do not prefer to substitute a food item with a processed version of itself created to taste like the original. So if I want cheese, I eat cheese. If I want bread, I eat bread. I just make sure I know where it’s coming from and how it has been made, and especially with dairy, to always make sure it is organic.
I concentrate on eating a primarily plant-based diet, enjoying things like gluten and cheese every once in a while. Last week I went a bit gluten-crazy and after that monster quesadilla on Wednesday, my system was completely overwhelmed. A day of juicing and smoothies only (until some popcorn at about 10:30pm) restored me, but it was a huge reminder not to overload my body with these extra things it’s not used to processing anymore. I learned that lesson the hard way: by feeling extremely sick for a day.
This is all to say that Friday it was cold, rainy and disgusting, and we were staying in to watch a movie and I wanted to make some comfort food. I had some of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free pizza crust mix in the cupboard I wanted to try, and I was going to make up a salad from all our CSA goodies. The pizza crust required the addition of 2 eggs (or a flax + water mix to keep it vegan) and some olive oil, and I added some extra garlic and Herbamare for flavor. The eggs we got from the CSA this week were surprisingly small, so instead of using 2 eggs, I decided to use 4. After everything is mixed together, you let the dough rise for 20 minutes, then spread it onto a baking sheet and bake for 9 minutes before adding toppings. When I went to spread it onto the pizza pan, it did not seem right. It was airy, it didn’t stick together, it was lumpy and I was sure it was going to be an utter disaster. I called Matt over, which I always do whenever I’m freaking out in the kitchen, because where I have no patience, his is magically free-flowing. He reminded me that this was an experiment, to which I said, “I didn’t want this to be an experiment.” And then he helped me spread the mess around the pan, put it in the oven and started thinking of all the fun things we could make if the pizza crust failed. He is the sweetest.
After 9 minutes, I pulled it out and it actually looked good! It had risen to a pretty thick crust, and it tasted like foccacia. So I layered on the toppings and put it back in the oven until the cheese was nice and brown, and then pulled out quite possibly one of the best-looking pizzas I had ever made. Which then turned out to be one of the best pizzas I had ever tasted. And then I skipped around the house shouting about how I excited I was, and we reflected on my dramatic vacillations between overwhelming excitement and declarations of failure, and that, substituting the pizza crust drama with any other kitchen drama, is a pretty typical Friday night around here.
Recipe: Oh My God Gluten-Free Pizza with Broccoli Rabe and Olives, and Mesclun Salad with Hemp Hearts, Strawberries, Rhubarb and Peanuts
Serves: 2. But one person may eat significantly more of it than the other.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20-30 minutes
1 package Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Pizza Crust
2 eggs (or 1-2 more if you are using very small CSA eggs)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
salt (or any other spices) to taste
1 cup broccoli rabe, chopped
10-15 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup pizza sauce (homemade or jarred)
6 ounces shredded cheese (we used raw Jack cheese, but you can use any kind you’d prefer)
4 cups mesclun greens
12 small strawberries, halved
1/4 peanuts (seeds or other nuts work well, too)
1 heaping tablespoon hemp hearts
2 stalks of rhubarb, roasted
olive oil and balsamic vinagrette, to dress the salad
Begin by chopping the rhubarb and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. This way you can throw it in with the pizza crust to roast when it’s time. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and set aside.
Mix together the pizza mix, eggs, olive oil, garlic and salt with your hands or hand mixer until thoroughly mixed together. Cover with plastic wrap, or a towel for reduced waste, for 20 minutes and set aside. Pre-heat the oven to 425.
Chop strawberries and mix in with hemp hearts, peanuts and greens. Set aside or refrigerate.
After 20 minutes, spread the dough onto a greased pizza pan (I do not use any sort of spray butter or oil because it contains propellant. Olive oil, butter or Earth Balance works just as well.) I only used half the dough and froze the rest. You could use all of it for an extremely thick crust, or make two separate pizzas. Put the rhubarb and pizza dough in at the same time, and remove the pizza dough after 9 minutes. Layer on your toppings and put back in the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until cheese is browned and bubbling. Remove the rhubarb after about 15 minutes, put aside to cool and then mix into the salad. Remove the pizza, toss the salad with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette (fig-infused balsamic is especially delicious here) and enjoy!