This recipe is a lot of fun. I think it's fun for anyone, but if you don't eat gluten, it may be extra fun. I saw it on Tasty Eats at Home, and the description of a chewy pizza crust with olive oil-crisped edges made with little more than quinoa and water sounded too interesting not to try.
You don't even have to steam the quinoa! Just soak it for at least 8 hours, then puree in a food processor or blender with enough water to make a batter. Then you pour it into a hot skillet with a slick of olive oil, listen to it sizzle and bake until golden brown. Add your toppings (I really loaded it up as you can see--maybe a bit too much!), heat 'em up and enjoy.
This reminds me of socca, the chickpea flour flatbread that I absolutely love, yet the flavor and texture are very different. Both are great (gluten-free!) alternatives to traditional pizza crust. Socca is usually eaten as a mostly unadorned flatbread, but I make a slightly thick version and use it as a base for all manner of pizza toppings. When it comes to this quinoa crust, I like the texture so much, I'd happily eat it plain.
Before I get to the recipe, I need to back track. The lovely quinoa pizza you see above was not my first attempt at the recipe. I had some red quinoa that had been languishing forever in my cupboard, so I used that. I always thought the red variety cooked in an identical manner to the more common light brown (blond?) variety, but in the case of this recipe, it didn't work.
Actually, it sort of worked. After soaking overnight, it baked up into a cohesive base for my pizza, but the individual grains remained largely intact--more like a quinoa cake than a batter. There was no soft chewy center, like I was hoping for. I pureed the heck out of it, so that wasn't the problem. Maybe the red quinoa is naturally firmer, or maybe mine was way to old and dried out. Anyway, I was so curious to see if the light quinoa would be different, and it was! Happy ending:)
Here is the red quinoa version, half cheesy, half dairy-free.
You can see the individual grains--not ideal!
Quinoa-Crust Pizza, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
Adapted from Tasty Eats at Home
The quinoa must soak for 8 hours or overnight, so plan accordingly! You need a heavy, oven-proof skillet--cast iron is ideal. The quinoa batter should be the consistency of a slightly thin pancake batter. It will not be perfectly smooth, but the individual grains should not remain intact. You can season this with any dried or fresh herbs or spices you want. As far as toppings go, have fun!
Serves 3 to 4
1 1/4 cups light brown (not red) quinoa
7 to 8 tablespoons water
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs (such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, herbs de Provence)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve. Add to a large bowl, cover with cold water and soak at least 8 hours or overnight.
Place a 10-inch (measured across the base) cast iron skillet or heavy, oven-proof skillet on a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450 F. Rinse and drain quinoa. Add to food processor or blender. Add 7 tablespoons water, and salt, herbs and pepper to taste. Puree until individual grains are no longer intact and mixture is the consistency of slightly runny pancake batter, 2 to 3 minutes. Add additional tablespoon of water to thin if necessary.
Take the hot skillet out of the oven and add the oil. Return to oven until oil is hot and shimmering, 1 to 2 minutes. Swirl the oil around the pan to coat and add the quinoa batter, spreading the batter and shaking the pan to form an even layer. Return to oven and cook until bottom side is golden, 10 minutes. Flip with a large spatula (crust should flip easily) and cook until opposite side is golden brown, 10 minutes more.
Switch oven to broil. Flip again and add your toppings. Still in the center of the oven, broil until toppings are hot and cheese is melted, if you are using cheese, 1 to 3 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning. If you'd rather not broil, just return to the oven and bake until toppings are heated through. Slide pizza out of the skillet, cut into wedges and serve.