April 21, 2011

Simple Quinoa Pizza Crust

This pizza crust recipe has changed my life. No more frozen pizza crusts. No more “going without” pizza. No more complicated recipes, complete with yeast and rise times and multiple gluten-free flours. As long as I remember to soak my quinoa ahead of time, I can have fresh pizza crust in a manner of minutes. And not “so-so” pizza. Good pizza. Chewy and slightly crispy on the edges, but soft in the center. It reminds me of a good New York style crust. Which, you can assume by my opening sentence in this post, is a good thing indeed.

I can’t take credit for the idea or the recipe, however. That credit goes to Charity Dasenbrock of For Life Personal Chef. She posted this recipe. Iris of The Daily Dietribe mentioned it a while back, and that’s where it caught my eye. It is supposed to be akin to socca, a chickpea flatbread that is also simple to make. (There’s a recipe in Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free by Amy Green – I happen to be giving away four copies of her book here – hurry! The giveaway ends April 23.) I’ve discovered I have a lot of trouble digesting chickpeas, so I have never had the opportunity to enjoy socca. This crust recipe, however, gave me hope. It was so easy, I just had to try it.

So the following morning, I soaked what quinoa I had left in the house (which turned out to be about a cup).  I came home, drained and rinsed it, and threw it in the blender along with a bit of water, salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. I blended, and heated up my cast iron skillet in the oven with a bit of oil. When the oven came to temperature, I poured my batter, spread it out, put it back in the oven, and hoped for the best.

In a little over 10 minutes, I checked it. It was ready to flip, and was a lovely color of brown and crisp on the bottom. It flipped easily. I baked it for about 10 more minutes, and then placed some toppings on top and baked for another 5. The house filled with the aroma of pizza parlor. When it was ready, I was so ready to cut and sink my teeth into that slice. When I did, I just about swooned. Another bite, and another, and I’m suddenly blabbing and carrying on to my husband about how absolutely wonderful this pizza was. I declared that we would now have pizza every week. That’s probably not going to happen in actuality, but I did make more the following week. It was just as delicious as the first time. And the leftovers? They make a pretty great breakfast.

Another bonus about this pizza crust, versus so many other gluten-free recipes, is that it is 100% whole grain. No starches, no gums. It’s vegan, and it’s allergy-friendly. You can top it with whatever you like. You could even leave it plain and enjoy it as a delicious flatbread, perfect for tearing and dipping into curries, soups, or hummus. The possibilities are endless. But whatever you do, make it.

Quinoa Pizza Crust, adapted from For Life Personal Chef

1 c quinoa plus enough water to cover for soaking

1/4 c grapeseed oil or olive oil

about 1/2 c filtered water

1/2 t kosher salt

1/2 t garlic powder

1/2 t Italian seasoning

Place the quinoa in a bowl and pour in enough water to cover the quinoa. Let it sit for about 8 hours to soak (I do this in the morning before I head to work, and then it’s ready when I get home).

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Use a large, 12-inch cast iron skillet, and brush with oil. Place in oven to preheat.

Drain the quinoa, rinse thoroughly, and place the quinoa in a blender. Add most of the water and the seasonings and blend. Add more water as needed, until the batter resembles a thick pancake-style batter.

Once the oven is heated to temperature, pour the batter into the skillet and quickly spread it out evenly across the bottom. Place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the underside is well-browned and starting to crisp. Use a large spatula and carefully flip the crust. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, and top with desired toppings. (In the picture above, I used a homemade tomato-based pizza sauce, a bit of nacho cheese sauce from Go Dairy Free, sauteed crimini mushrooms, onions, a bit of organic pork sausage, and radish greens.) As with any pizza, be careful not to overload on toppings or the crust will get a bit soggy. Return to oven for 5-7 minutes, or until the crust is well-browned on the bottom and crisp. Remove from the skillet and transfer to a cutting board or plate. Slice and serve!

Makes one pizza – 2-4 servings, depending on how hungry your crowd is and whether a salad or other dish is served with the pizza.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Make It Gluten-Free Tuesdays.

100 Responses to “Simple Quinoa Pizza Crust”

  1. Now THAT looks fabulous! Quinoa in a pizza – who knew?

  2. i think you just changed my life. i was missing pizza so…

  3. this reminds me of a risotto pizza I make…but better!

  4. I am beyond excited! I will have to give this a go.

  5. This right here might be a total game changer! BOOKMARKED! Definitely can’t wait to try it — I can never get enough quinoa *or* enough pizza.

  6. Fantastic, Alta! You are the bomb, dearie! :-) I will definitely try this soon. I like quinoa and quinoa flakes, but not quinoa flour, so this is a perfect dairy-free recipe for me. I think I’ll try a variation of Lexie’s nacho cheese sauce on it. Excited!

    Hugs,
    Shirley

  7. This sounds really easy and healthy. I’m intrigued!

  8. Alta, you have just inspired me to try making pizza. This is SO right up my alley, easy, uncomplicated, healthy, etc. And I have quinoa in my cupboard :) I may have to experiment this weekend.
    Thank you very much!

  9. I am definitely trying this, it sounds incredible. Gonna soak my quinoa tomorrow morning. Thanks for sharing Alta.

  10. I have never seen this crust recipe! I am intrigued and can’t wait to try it. :)

  11. Wow Alta, this looks and sounds too good to be true! Hmm, I have loads of quinoa, looks like I will need to try this.

  12. I actually have a quinoa mix that has these spices mixed in already – I think I have pizza crust in a bottle!!! Can’t wait to try this.

  13. Ummmm! I’ll give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

  14. This sounds so good. I am very excited to try it. I am also trying to cut unhealthy sugars out of my diet. I have gained weight since finding out I have celiac disease last May. and now I found out last week my 12 yr old son has it too. He was just devistated. I really would like to see what recipes she has so I can make good desserts that my son will like.

  15. This was a great find, wasn’t it? I actually dreamed about pizza last night, with tomato sauce and real cheese. This quinoa pizza is definitely the closest thing to the real deal I’ve had in a while.

  16. I saw this on Iris’s blog and knew I was going to have to try it! Looks fantastic. Can’t wait to dig in–hopefully over the weekend! :)

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  19. This looks amazing! {bookmarked} :)

  20. I am really excited to try this! It has been a loooong time since I have had pizza worth eating!

  21. This is an absolutely BRILLIANT BRILLIANT idea. I cannot even believe how easy this is and yet I have never thought of it! LOL I will be making this tomorrow, without a doubt. My kiddos will love this! Great one, Alta! ;)

  22. I love this crust!! We have enjoyed it weekly at least! I have been following an elimination diet and discovered this crust is excellent as a flat bread and used it with sunflower seed burgers. I did vary the recipe some (use less salt and less oil) and my batch of 1.5 cups quinoa makes three 12″ pizzas.
    We also used it as pizza crust and topped with tomato sauce, fresh basil leaves and broken up sunflower seed burger. YUM!! Costco has a great price on Organic Quinoa.

  23. Wow. Since I don’t like paying an arm and a leg for a pizza crust I’ve been trying to make my own yeast based ones with varying success (plus I don’t like how much work they are). This looks super simple and is ready very quickly (minus the soaking time), so I’ve definitely bookmarked it for next time we have pizza! :)

  24. Mmmmm I’ve SO been missing delicious pizza. I’m new at this, so it might be a silly question…but would using quinoa flour work?? That is all I currently have in the cabinet. Thanks for sharing!

    • Katie, I honestly have no idea. I have some as well – I might try blending it with water to see! If you try it, let me know.

  25. I can’t wait to try this! I’ve been missing pizza and found most crusts I’ve tried don’t cut it.

  26. I’m gonna have to try this!

  27. Any way to make this without a cast-iron skillet?

    • Susan,

      You totally can! The recipe I based mine off of called for a cake pan – I bet a 9-inch would work. You’d probably want to lessen the batter – you might even be able to split it between 2 pans. Just don’t heat them for so long in the oven like you would a cast iron skillet. A few minutes is all you’d need.

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  30. I’ve been making pizza crust with leftover cooked rice…for a few years now. I do use eggs and grated parmesan, though…I have some quinoa in the cupboard…maybe will try this in the coming week…

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  32. Wow! That’s all I can say: Quinoa is one of our favorite grains and now will be our pizza crust main ingredient? Would have never thought of it until reading your post. Thank you for sharing.

  33. Thanks for sharing, I’ve made this pizza crust today and it is amazing. I was so excited to try this as quinoa is my favorite grain, I use it almost every day, and now making pizza, who would have thought?;)

  34. Soooooo good! Made this crust this afternoon, cut in half for one pizza and made it in a 6 in pan, crispy on outsides but still soft in the middle — can you say yum?!? Topped it off with grilled chicken, sauteed onions and mushrooms, Parmesan and homemade pizza sauce. Think I’m going to make a variation tomorrow – goat cheese, olive oil, wilted spinach and roasted butternut squash! Can’t wait! Thanks forcing wonderful recipe!!!!

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  36. Love that you used quinoa for pizza crust. Sounds like a light alternative to the heavy ones that I do not eat anymore.

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  43. I can’t wait to try this recipe! I’m setting my quinoa to soak as we speak. I LOVE all things involving quinoa (I eat it almost every day) and never thought to make a crust with the grains, I would have just used flour. This recipe is genius and I’m really looking forward to tonight’s dinner! Being gluten and dairy free, I’m always looking for new ideas and recipes. This one will sure to be a hit. Thanks for sharing!

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  45. Could you use leftover cooked quinoa instead of soaking?

  46. Hmmmm tried it with cooked quinoa but it doesn’t stick together to flip….maybe if I added an egg

    • Sarah – Love your creative thought process. Thanks for letting me know that you tried it. You might be correct – adding an egg would help it stick together. I don’t think it would be pizza crust-like at all with cooked quinoa, but it still could be delicious, like a patty of sorts. Maybe an egg and some sort of GF flour to help bind? I’m just throwing out ideas here – I haven’t tried it myself!

  47. So, FYI great idea and turned out great, but make sure you let the quinoa absorb enough water before you use it. I don’t think we put enough water in the bowl before we went to work. We came home and all of the water was absorbed…..I would reccomend using the 1/2C quinoa to 1C water ratio. The crust turned out good but we were both bloated and uncomfortable all night after dinner! Maybe it’s like with beans, if they don’t get enough water, you will be bloated… definetly using again….

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  51. I am Italian, making pizza forever. Had my doubts about this recipe. I loved it! I topped it with spinach, garlic & artichokes! Awesome! I added some milled flax seed to mine too-in the dough! ;) thanks for sharing this!

    • Danielle – It’s so wonderful to hear that, thank you! Love the idea of adding flaxseed meal. I’ll have to try that.

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  53. This has become one of my favorite recipes, I’m pretty sure people get annoyed that I talk about it so much at this point. I was going to see how long you thought the “batter” would last in the fridge, or would that even be worth it? My family just goes through one pizza so quickly it would be nice to just pull out some leftover batter to make another crust the next day rather than going through the long soak & food processor cleanup process all over again. Just an idea.

    • Kevin – I think that’s a great idea. I don’t know how long it would last in the fridge, but I’m sure a few days would be just fine!

  54. What about using regular quiona flour? I hate using a bunch of appliances (yes, because I hate to clean them!)

    Does the flour need to be soaked?

    • Courtney – I am not sure on using regular quinoa flour. I’m sure the ratios would be different, and I doubt it would need to be soaked. (the soaking of the whole grain serves to soften it) If you experiment, let me know how it turns out for you!

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  56. After I tried this, I just HAD to come back here and write something: this crust is PHENOMENAL! I’ve been working on losing weight for a while now so regular pizza was pretty much forbidden, and it has been very hard for me as I’m a hardcore pizza lover, but with this crust I can finally enjoy pizza again, and as you said, GOOD PIZZA. It’s tasty, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, dare I say I almost prefer it over regular pizza. Me and my wife just finished eating a whole pizza and we can’t wait to do it again. Thanks for the recipe and cheers from Brazil :)

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  60. This just revolutionized my world! I have never responded to a recipe before, but this is too amazing to not to! I made a small pizza with batter that had just the salt added. YUMMY! Tomorrow with leftover batter will try “pancakes,” as well as a crust schmeared with something sweet like nutella or ricotta and fruit. Thank you SO much!

  61. Tried this tonight – turned out very well! Was trying to think how to use all of the chard, onion, garlic, basil, etc from our weekly CSA box. This made 2 wonderful pizzas (I used the cake pans) topped with the above items & cheese. My kids weren’t fans (they’re 1 & 3), but hubby liked it as well. Will make again (and we are not gluten intolerant!).

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  63. Made this tonight and it was really good and made enough for two personal sized pizzas. On one I used a sun dried tomato paste as the base and added fresh spinach, sliced tomatoes, grilled bell peppers, onions, zucchini, and topped it with feta cheese. It was a work of art! On the other I used hummus for the sauce and topped it with sliced tomatoes, chicken apple sausage and parmesan cheese. Surprisingly good! Will definitely make this again!

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  65. yum, this crust was fantastic! I’m doing an elimination diet where I can’t eat wheat, corn, etc, and I made an oat crust that was terrible. So I was pleasantly surprised at the taste and texture of this recipe. Even if I find I can eat wheat again, I will still use this crust recipe as it’s so healthy and easy.

  66. Possibly a stupid question – but where does the 1/4 cup olive oil get used in this recipe? Is it simply in the frying/cooking, i.e. not directly in the mixture? I’m a bit hesitant in making this due to calorie-counting :D

    • Ben – Yes, it gets used in the cooking – you put it in the pan before pouring in the batter. You can try using a bit less, if that helps – but the exterior of the crust might not get AS crispy. It’ll still be good though.

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  69. Yes!!! I just made this and I love it!
    It is easy to make and it’s a pretty forgiving recipe.
    I added flax meal because I thought the oil was to go into the batter
    and I substituted flax for the oil…it still turned out great.
    I’ll be making this a lot. Thanks!!

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  71. I made this pizza crust tonight and my whole family liked it!!! Even the quinoa hating member… he couldn’t even tell. This may be the most useful recipe I have found EVER. Thank you :-)

  72. Found this Wednesday, finally made it today. Really delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

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  75. This is the best, thank you for the fabulous recipe. I made it for dinner tonight, I think I need to make more for lunch tomorrow. Yummy!

  76. Umm…I tried to flip the pizza at 10 min and it completely disintegrated and fell apart. A total fail. I’m crushed :( I followed the directions exactly.

    • April – Oh no! I honestly have no idea what happened. I’ve made this time and time again without issues and have had several others report the same. Did you use raw quinoa, and soak it? I can’t think of what else it could be. So sorry it didn’t work out!!

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  78. Just made this pizza and the crust was great. A new experience for me. I have been trying to eliminate wheat from my diet and some friends of mine are Paleo. I’m sharing this with them. When flipping the crust I used a silicone trivet so I used my hand and the spatula, flipped beautifully . Love your blog.

  79. Is it possible to soak the quinoa too long? I am soaking it tonight… should I drain it in the morning? Not planning on making the batter till tomorrow night. Thanks! This looks good!

    • Katherine – I’m not sure if you can or not, truthfully! Your plan sounds like it’ll work though – just keep it soaking. Good luck!

  80. I found your recipe after I had one of the best gluten free pizza’s at a restaurant in Tucson (Zona 78). The waitress told me the crust was made from Quinoa, so when I got home I started researching Quinoa pizza crust. I was instantly attracted to your recipe because of the simplicity of the ingredients and process. I just made it, and I have eaten two slices of the crust with no toppings and it is delicious! Thank you so much for posting this!

    I did make one small adjustment, but only because I goofed. I added all the water at once, not a little at a time and the batter was too thin. I had to add 2 T of coconut flour to get it to the right consistency, but I will not add anything next time around. I can smell the bread thorughout my house as I type this, and it is heavenly!

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  83. This crust rocks. I used a baking sheet since my cast iron needs cleaning (like it’s been in storage forever). Worked very well.. the only problem I had was not letting it bake long enough before flipping. I was afraid of burning it but tried to flip it too early and some of it stuck. I had made two personal pizzas and the second one worked fine when I left it alone. :) It also held up to tomato sauce, vegan cheese sauce and sauteed onions and peppers. I also had the quinoa soaking for a day and a half and that was fine. I plan on making this again tonight! I actually want to make this into crackers, too…

  84. Just made this and it was AMAZING. I had mediocre expectations as most gluten-free dairy-free stuff doesn’t usually taste the best, but I was pleasantly surprised. I managed to stretch it out to make 3 personal sized pizza’s for my sister, brother-in-law, and I, and it worked, but I don’t think I’ll stretch it so thin next time. Very filling, very yummy. Thinking of making crepes or pancakes with this recipe sometime soon! Will definitely make this again!

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  86. FABULOUS!!! Made this last night and it was so good that I am going to make it again tonight. Involves a little bit of prep and time but so worth it. I really like finding ways to eat more quinoa because it is so good for you. Thanks for posting the recipe so we could enjoy.

  87. Thanks for this whole food pizza crust recipe. I hate all the added things in the frozen ones.
    My question is, I buy sprouted quinoa, do I still need to soak them?
    How would you adapt the water for sprouted quinoa?

    • Carrie – I have never purchased sprouted quinoa, so I’m not entirely sure. Is it dehydrated once sprouted? If so, I’d imagine you’d need to soak, just for a while. The soaking really just softens the quinoa so when you blend, you don’t end up with a gritty texture. The water amount would seem similar to me, but again, I’m just guessing. You might start with less – you can always add more if it’s too thick!

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