Over the past few years I have watched friend after friend turn gluten-free. Some have tested positive for Celiac Disease. Others simply feel better without gluten (a protein) in their system and likely have some degree of sensitivity or intolerance. I too have ventured down the less-bloated road devoid of bread, pasta and pancakes a time or two. Somehow I always find my way back to the (good) stuff–usually when they bring out the bread basket at a mussel bar.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a big believer in moderation. Many health experts, including Dr. Alessio Fasano, Director of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland Medical Center, have concluded that gluten sensitivity exists on a spectrum. More anecdotally, I have experienced first-hand that by completely eliminating the protein from my diet I feel less sluggish, but the moment I slip the inflammatory and energy-zapping effects rebound with a vengeance.
My suggestion? Eat everything in moderation (unless you have Celiac). Don’t eat pasta every night. Do eat quinoa–maybe even a few times a week. Be brave and try new grains–think amaranth, millet, buckwheat, etc. And, by all means, treat yourself to pizza every now and again–whether its the regular variety, or my homemade, gluten-free version below.
Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
Adapted from: www.glutenfreegirl.com
What You’ll Need:
- 1 tbs ground flaxseed
- 2 tbs boiling water
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 tsp active-dry yeast
- 1/4 cup olive oil (plus extra for brushing on top of the crust)
- 3/4 cup warm water
How to Make It:
- Mix flaxseed in a bowl with 2 tbs boiling water. Whisk vigorously until it’s a thick paste. Set “slurry” aside to cool.
- Combine gluten-free flours, salt and turmeric (for color mainly) into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix together.
- Pour yeast into a separate, small bowl with olive oil and 1/2 cup warm water. Stir and let stand a couple minutes to activate the yeast.
- Add slurry to dry ingredients in mixer and mix until combined. Pour yeast/oil/water into dry ingredients. Mix on medium for a minute, or until your dough starts to come together. If your dough is too dry, add remaining 1/4 cup of warm water in small amounts (or more if needed) until the dough feels workable. Remove from mixer, form into a ball and set aside to rise for 1 hour–covering gently with a damp kitchen towel.
- Time to bake! Preheat oven to 450°. If you have a pizza stone or cast iron griddle pan (the smooth side), place it in the oven. If not, sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal.
- Generously dust a clean surface with cornmeal or gluten-free flour of choice. Roll out dough using a rollin pin dusted with gluten-free flour to your desired thickness (I went with super thin).
- To make individual size crusts and speed up the cooking process, use a large canister lid (approx. 6″ in diameter) to cut dough rounds. You may have to clump the scraps together into a ball and roll the dough out a few times to use it all up.
- Transfer dough rounds to pizza stone, smooth griddle or prepared tray. Brush the tops with olive oil. Bake until dough has started to crisp and brown around edges, about 4-6 min. Remove from oven. This is your pre-baked pizza crust.
- Top with tomato sauce or (my preference) mashed sweet potatoes and your favorite toppings (see suggestions below) and return to oven for another 4-5 min or until the cheese (if it’s on there) is melted.
Suggested Toppings to Please Any Crowd:
- Sauteed red onions
- Sauteed wild mushrooms
- Sauteed asparagus, zucchini or squash
- Super-thinly sliced eggplant rounds
- Roasted garlic
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Goat cheese (or your cheese of choice)
- Sweet potato puree (literally just mashed, pre-cooked sweet potatoes) – great alternative to sauce!
- Prosciutto or small bits of pancetta
- Fresh basil
- Salt, pepper and a drizzle of good olive oil!