It wasn’t intentional, but this has turned out to be classic American food week on America’s Table; first a steak sandwich, now pizza. What’s special about pizza? Its infinite variety, for starters. Thick crust, New York-style thin crust, endless toppings, dripping cheeses: can you imagine life without out it? I asked a friend with celiac disease what food they most missed eating, and the answer was…pizza. That’s exactly why I wanted to make gluten-free pizza, because if someone told me I couldn’t have pizza anymore, I wouldn’t be able to think about eating anything else. If you have to be gluten-free, you still deserve a great pizza – and it’s not that difficult to make at home.
You can do it the long way, with a mixture of gluten-free flour, rice flour, tapioca flour, sorghum, millet, xanthum gum, and various ingredients to get that yeasty, doughy crust, or you can buy gluten-free pizza dough mix and let someone else do all the ingredient-gathering and mixing. I think a mix is ultimately less expensive, unless you cook regularly with all of these ingredients. It certainly is faster, and time is often a deciding factor in whether people cook or carry in these days.
Once you’ve got the pizza dough conundrum settled, there’s the cheese to consider. I like a nice, moist mozzarella, but if you can’t eat dairy products, there are cheese substitutes that you can use. For the sake of those who are lactose-intolerant, I used a cheese substitute on this pizza, but in all candor, I prefer real cheese. However, if you really can’t have dairy, this is a reasonable substitute. You’ll still get the pizza experience.
Now the fun part – loading up on all your favorite toppings and making this pizza your own little slice(s) of heaven! I used mushrooms, red peppers, whole black olives, and shredded basil, but obviously the only limit here is your imagination. One other little tip: if you have time to make the dough, and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight to rise, you will get a better pizza crust. (The slow-rise method tends to make the dough less yeasty.) I had doubts about how the dough would taste, but I was pleasantly surprised. It had texture, plenty of flavor, and it baked to a nice golden brown. The only thing I would add is to be sure to save some of the pizza dough mix to sprinkle on the wet dough when you’re prepping it for the pizza pan. I forgot to do this, and had to use rice flour to finish the crust because I’d used up all of the gluten-free mix in the dough. Enjoy!
Serves: 6 large slices
Prep time: 45 minutes plus time for the dough to rise – at least 20 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator
- 1 16-ounce gluten free pizza crust whole grain mix
- (I used Bob’s Red Mill but there are many gluten-free mixes available now.)
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- yeast packet
- I followed the directions on the bag: preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Combine water and yeast and allow to stand for several minutes.
- Add eggs and oil and blend, before adding gluten-free pizza crust mix.
- When combined, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 20 minutes, or wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rise overnight in the refrigerator.
- If you use the overnight method, let dough rest for 30 minutes before spreading on to pizza pan.
- When ready to use, spread pizza dough onto pan, building up the dough a bit along the edge of the pan, and prick the inside of the dough with a fork, to prevent bubbles from forming in the dough as it bakes.
- Bake without toppings for 9 minutes – crust will just be beginning to turn brown.
- Remove from oven and cover with your favorite toppings.
- 1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
- 1 12-ounce bag shredded vegetarian mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup olives, cut in two
- ½ cup red peppers, cubed into ½ inch pieces
- 1 cup of basil, shredded
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- Use a basting brush to brush the tomato paste on to the crust, putting on as much as you like for your favorite pizza. Sprinkle shredded cheese on the tomato paste and top with olives, mushrooms, red peppers and basil.
- Return to oven and bake for 18 minutes.