QUINOA CRUST PIZZA – YOU HAD ME AT PIZZA! Those that have been following GMD, know that I am in constant search of great pizza recipes, especially those whose ingredients stretch conventional thinking (read not white flour). My Meyer Lemon tree outside is still loaded with lemons and I now have two pounds of freshly made goat cheese (click HERE to learn how to make goat cheese which is surprisingly easy), so when I saw this recipe from Cafe Johnsonia using quinoa instead of white flour for the crust, I knew we had a new Wheatless Wednesday contender. The quinoa crust is fantastic! I really like it and will make it again and again. Its less heavy than a cornmeal crust and has a great consistency. In fact, I experimented with thick vs thin crust and think this recipe would also make a great cracker, so you may be seeing Quinoa Crackers in a post coming soon.
You could top this pizza crust with your favorite toppings if lemon and goat cheese are not your thing. It will hold up well, even with wet toppings like tomato sauce or heavy cheeses. The combination of tangy goat cheese and tart meyer lemon, topped with fresh basil and shallots is a wonderful explosion of flavors. If you want the same flavor combination but a less intense version, substitute strips of lemon zest in place of the lemons. My favorite variation includes thinly sliced zucchini circles, garlic and lemon zest cooked with the lemon goat cheese, then topped with fresh basil, shallots (or scallions) and a handful of arugula. Delish!
Quinoa is one of the reigning superfoods, but do you know why? According to Forbes, quinoa is one of the most protein rich foods available and has twice as much fiber as other grains. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron and vitamin B2 and gluten free. Making a crust out of quinoa is not only way more nutritious than one out of white flour, it is easier as it doesn’t have to rise or be handled in any way. The quinoa does have to soak for 8 hours or overnight but other than that, it only takes about 45 minutes and the prep is easy. For those that also like alternative pizzas, check out some others I have done in the past with good results:Cauliflower Crust Pizza Margherita and Pesto Chicken Pizzas on White Whole Wheat Crust Zucchini Crust Pizza with Grilled Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper
Quinoa Crust Pizza with Goat Cheese, Meyer Lemon and Basil
1 cup quinoa
water, for soaking and blending
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons avocado oil (or another high-heat oil)
5-6 ounces fresh goat cheese (chèvre)
1 Meyer lemon, very thinly sliced (seeds removed)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, thinly sliced
small handful fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
2 Tablespoons pine nuts ( toasted)
coarse ground black pepper
coarse sea salt
olive oil, for drizzling(optional)
- Place quinoa in a medium bowl and cover with water by several inches. Let stand at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Drain the pre-soaked quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse well to remove the bitter saponins (a naturally occurring residue). Place in a food processor or blender with a little water (about ¼ cup), garlic clove, and salt. Puree until smooth. Add more water if needed. The mixture should be the consistency of thick pancake batter but still pourable.
- Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet into the hot oven. Allow to heat for 5-10 minutes. Carefully add the 2 Tablespoons of oil to the skillet and heat for another 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven carefully. Tilt the pan to evenly distribute the hot oil. Make sure pan and oil are hot or quinoa will stick.
- Pour the batter into the center of the pan and tilt it to create an even layer on the bottom. Place back into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove pan from oven, turn crust over, and place back in oven for another 10. Remove from oven and transfer the crust to a pizza pan, if desired. (At this point you can also place it on a cooling rack and let it cool completely, then prepare the pizza at a later time.)
- Mix the goat cheese with the lemon juice. If the cheese is very crumbly, add a little milk or water to make it spreadable.
- Spread the cheese evenly over the crust. Layer the Meyer lemons evenly over the cheese.
- Place in the 450 degree oven and let bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and turned golden, and the lemons are tender. (For a crispy top, place under the broiler for a few minutes.)
- Remove from oven and top with the remaining toppings. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.
- MY FAVORITE VARIATION: For a less lemon intense pizza, replace lemon slices with lemon zest, thin zucchini circles, and add a clove or two of garlic, that has been thinly sliced. After cooking add a handful of arugula on top of the other ingredients. Yum!