I don’t really believe in “super foods.” Real food grown from the earth with minimal pesticides is always super, whether it is trendy or not. But I do love to discover new ingredients that make it easier to feed my family nourishing food while keeping the fast. So when I found chickpea flour at my local Whole Foods, and found that it was fairly cheap (relative to other specialty flours, anyway), I had to try some. My family is decidedly not gluten free, but I am always looking for ways to include more protein and less processed carbohydrates in our Lenten diet. And if I can put healthy fats, fiber, and protein into something that looks and tastes familiar and that my kids actually get excited about eating, so much the better. This pizza tastes as good or better than any pizza I have ever had with fake “cheese,” plus it is quick and easy enough for a weeknight dinner. Definitely a winner.
Apparently pizza-like flatbreads made with chickpea flour are traditional in some countries, including parts of France and Italy. If you want a completely gluten-free version you can try this recipe, this recipe, or try replacing the wheat flour in my recipe with more chickpea flour or another gluten-free flour of your choice. I only included wheat flour in mine because Whole Foods is kind of a trek for me and I didn’t want to use up my chickpea flour too quickly.
Quick Pizza Crust with Chickpea Flour
- 1 cup chickpea flour (also called garbanzo flour, gram flour, or besan, available at health food stores or Indian groceries)
- 1 cup flour (all purpose, white wheat, whole wheat)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder OR 1 clove crushed garlic optional
- 1/2 tsp rosemary or herbs of choice, fresh or dried optional
- 2/3 – 1 cup very hot water (optional replace 2 TBSP water with olive oil)
1. Preheat oven to 400º. Place pizza stone in oven to heat if you have one. Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl. Add hot water. More water makes a softer crust, less makes a crisper, more cracker-like crust. Stir until dough comes together, then knead for a few minutes until smooth (no need to knead for very long since this is not a yeast dough). Let rest under an overturned bowl for as long as it takes to prepare the other ingredients.
*Many people find beans easier to digest if they are soaked prior to cooking. For a soaked version of this recipe you could try adding a tsp of lemon juice to the dough and resting, tightly covered, for 12-24 hours before cooking. Or you can purchase flour made from previously soaked chickpeas online. I didn’t bother with this step because I love how quick and easy this recipe is and we don’t eat it all that often, anyway.
2. Divide dough into two equal portions. Roll each into a roughly 10 inch circle (thicker for soft crust, thinner for crisper crust). Top with your favorite pizza sauce or pesto, thinly sliced vegetables, olives, tempeh, or whatever you like on pizza. I used thinly sliced tomatoes, mushrooms, red peppers, and Greek olives. Bake on a pizza stone or cookie sheet, sprinkled with cornmeal or lined with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Bake 10-16 minutes (shorter time = softer crust, longer = crispier).
3. Drizzle with Totally Awesome, Totally Vegan “Cheese” Sauce, bake 2 more minutes, and serve with a smile! You can use fake cheese if you must have the texture, but I actually think the sauce tastes better. I did make some with real cheese for my kids, though. This is a great meal for “mixed” households, where some people are fasting and others are not.