If the plain ole’ title “Quinoa Pizza Crust” doesn’t entice you, maybe this will: Quinoa Pizza Crust Topped Four Ways. And for my roommates, the title was: Quinoa Pizza Crust Topped Four Ways Ready When They Got Home From The Gym. It just gets better and better. To sit around the table with two of my best friends and a piping hot pizza suitable to all of our eating habits was the best. They scarfed down the pizza because they were hungry from their workout and I scarfed it down well, because it was delicious. And I guess I worked up an appetite from cooking for more than three hours. I really need to hire a sous chef or something…
We also need to hire someone to come over to our apartment and eat the following ingredients in vast quantities: peanut butter, quinoa, popcorn, oatmeal, red cabbage, and pasta. See, this whole quinoa pizza crust thing didn’t just pop out of thin air-we are searching for ways to use up the ingredients listed above in creative ways (in other words, we can’t stand to look at the 12 cups of red cabbage just sitting in the fridge, or the boxes of quinoa lined up in the pantry, or eat yet another bowl of pasta with sauce for dinner). Knowing I had excessive amounts of quinoa in the apartment (I think around 5 boxes plus maybe some more) I decided that I’d be brave, start early, and try to tackle this quinoa pizza crust. I found these two recipes online, one from Tasty Eats at Home and one from For Life Personal Chef. I am greatly indebted to these two for helping me find a starting place in learning how to make quinoa pizza crust.
That being said, I did what I usually do and skipped parts of the recipes and added my own flavor to the crusts. The recipe below is one that I’ve tried three times now and it’s come out successfully on each trial run. The crust takes on a really nutty flavor, so much so that in the midst of some bites my roommates and I held up our hands (with pizza still in them, of course) and blurted out (with mouths full, obviously) “This tastes like peanut butter!” The texture of the crust is somewhat like a chewy cracker. I made the crust very thin and in the shape of a rectangle so that I could cut the crust into four flatbread-like creations. Yum. Writing about this makes me wish it were an appropriate time to bust out the food processor and some quinoa and get cookin’!
But then again, who am I kidding? Any time is an appropriate time to make this crust. Here’s the recipe:
Quinoa Pizza Crust
(Makes enough crust to feed two people)
1 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2-1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1. In a medium sized skillet, toast the quinoa over a tablespoon or two of olive oil (just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and prevent burning from happening). Toast the quinoa over medium heat until they begin to turn golden brown (probably about seven to ten minutes). You want to make sure that you stir them occasionally to ensure that they aren’t burning.
2. If your oven is extremely slow like mine, you’ll want to preheat it at this point because we’re cranking the heat all the way up to 450 degrees! When you turn the dial to preheat the oven, stick a cookie sheet in there so that it heats with the oven. We’ll use that later to bake the crust.
3. While the oven is preheating, pull out a food processor. Pour the toasted quinoa into the processor and blend the quinoa until it reaches an almost flour like consistency (mine was a little more coarse than flour and still worked perfectly so don’t stress if it’s not extremely fine). While you’re doing this, I found it helpful to use a spatula to scrape down the quinoa that got stuck on the sides of the food processor to make sure you get all of the quinoa that you toasted.
4. After you blend the quinoa, dump half a cup of water into the mixture. At this point you can also add the nutritional yeast and garlic powder. Blend these ingredients together. Open the lid of the processor after blending for a few minutes to check the consistency. The desired consistency of the crust batter will be similar to a cake batter or a thick salad dressing. Essentially, you should be able to pour it but it shouldn’t be runny. At this point, check the batter and you will probably need to add more water. Add water slowly to the batter (mixing between each addition) and continue checking the consistency.
5. Once the batter has reached the perfect consistency, pull the cookie sheet out of the oven and get ready to work fast-this is the hardest part. Spray the cookie sheet with cooking spray and then pour the batter onto the cookie sheet. Have a spatula ready so that you can spread the batter around QUICKLY! Because the cookie sheet is so hot, the batter will start cooking upon contact. Your goal is to have the batter formed into a thin, rectangular crust before the whole thing cooks through. Once you spread the crust onto the cookie sheet, put the crust immediately back into the oven.
6. Cook the crust for 15 minutes on one side and then be prepared for another tricky step: flipping the crust. I pulled the crust out, grabbed two spatulas and flipped the whole crust like one giant omelette. It was difficult but ultimately successful. Another idea for flipping the crust is to use another cookie sheet as a landing pad and just flip the cookie sheet with the crust onto it. I’m open to suggestions on this one!
7. Once you’ve flipped the crust, kick back for about 10-15 minutes and let it finish cooking. Pull it out of the oven once the crust is golden brown and begging to be sampled (go ahead-do it! no one will notice if a corner of the crust is gone…).
8. At this point, congratulations! You’re done making the actual crust!! What’s great about this is that you can either top the crust immediately and pop it back in the oven for a few minutes (at a lower temperature of course) or you can do what I did: leave the crust sitting out for a few hours until dinnertime and then top it then.
Like I said before, I cut this first crust attempt of mine into four flatbread-like creations and topped each of them in a different way.
1. Buttery brown sugar sauce topped with baked sweet potato slivers and walnuts.
2. “Cheese” sauce (nutritional yeast, veg broth, flour, mustard, and garlic) topped with roasted broccoli and garlic.
3. Red-sauce base garnished with sliced mushrooms, caramelized onions and Italian seasoning.
4. Half red-sauce, half “cheese” sauce base topped with a red cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, onion and red pepper flake mixture.