Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gluten Free Quinoa Veggie Pizza

This winter I finally caved and purchased the King of all blenders - Vitamix. If you know anything about this blender, you probably know that it can do anything! It is a bit of an investment but worth every penny. Just one of the many things this blender can do is turn oats and quinoa into flour!

What I created with this nutty combination is no secret (since I gave it away in the title) – pizza crust! I mean, who doesn’t like pizza?! What makes this pizza even better is the fact that it is gluten free, loaded with fresh veggies, and has only a dusting of feta cheese (optional of course J).  While traditional pizza may leave you, feeling bloated, heavy and sluggish, this healthy alternative is light, fresh, and good for you! Pizza? Good for you? Seems like an oxymoron right? Not in this case, it is truly good for you!

Quinoa is a great source of protein and in fact contains all nine essential amino acids, including Lysine. Lysine is a specific amino acid that is famous for tissue growth and repair. This ancient grain is also high in magnesium a nutrient shown to help with migraine headaches. Magnesium relaxes the blood vessels preventing the constriction and dilation characteristics associated with migraines. Quinoa is also a good source of Riboflavin (B2) a vitamin shown to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks by improving and enhancing the energy metabolism in the brain. Now add in the Oats, known to reduce the risk of heart disease and an abundance of fresh veggies loaded with vitamins and minerals and you have yourself a power packed pizza!

Last, but not least, I want to acknowledge a friend and fellow Health Coach, Natalie Collier, from Bloom Body Soul for the inspiration. 

** Please Note **
If you have a blender at home, you may be able to get this same flour consistency; however, it may require some time. If you do not have a blender, these flours can be found at a natural foods store.

2 cups of quinoa flour
1 cup of oat flour (use gluten free oats)
2 tablespoons of flax meal
1 cup of warm water
3 tablespoons of EVOO
1 teaspoon of honey
1 tablespoon of fresh basil (chopped finely)
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary (chopped finely)
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme (chopped finely)
½ teaspoon of sea salt
Pesto sauce (or tomato – your preference)
Veggies of your choice (I used kale, carrots, butternut squash, and mushrooms)
Feta cheese (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, add the quinoa and oats to a blender and process on high until you have a nice fine powder that resembles flour. Transfer the flour to a large bowl and add in all remaining ingredients except sauce, veggies, and feta. Mix well using your hands until the dough begins to pull slightly away from the bowl. Add more oil or water if necessary.

Place the dough onto an oiled baking sheet or pizza stone. Begin to press the dough onto the pan working to create an even circular shape (or whatever shape your heart desires). Pre-bake the crust for 15 minutes, until it turns a nice shade of golden brown.

Left: before pre-bake; Right: after pre-bake
Remove the crust from the oven. Spread the sauce evenly across the crust, top with your favorite veggies, sprinkle with feta and bake for about 20 minutes or until veggies are just tender and the edges of the crust begin to curl off the pan.

Left: before baking; Right: after baking
Let the pizza cool for a few minutes before serving. Dish up and enjoy!!

* Just a tip, slice and dice your veggies using a similar thickness for even cooking.

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