GF pizza crust mix review and super fast pizza sauce

I used to make pizza at home about once a week.   Little Sis’ family has homemade pizza once a week as well – I know you’re stunned that we do something alike .  However, Mr. Little Sis is a gluten genius and makes heavenly crust from scratch.  My husband is funny and plays a mean guitar lick but does not make pizza crust and for some reason I don’t either.  I used to use whole grain flat breads from the store and add my quick sauce, lots of fresh veggies and cheese and bake.  Still a great fast option if you do gluten!

Since we can’t do gluten or dairy anymore we do not eat pizza.  This makes it much harder to deny my son crappy restaurant or school pizza.  I mean the kid LOVES pizza, he ought to be able to eat it sometimes, don’t you think?

I have tried a few GF crusts including using soccacia (garbanzo based crepe type thing), but although a nice meal, it doesn’t feel like pizza.  I should say the crust doesn’t feel like pizza.  It’s too flat – no spring.  I am SO spoiled.  Some people don’t have enough calories and I’m worried about spring in my dough, but there you have it.  If one CAN have spring in one’s dough – and yes I feel a song coming on – then why not?

Enter Namaste Foods GF pizza crust mix.  While it does include tapioca flour and arrowroot flour (pretty starchy, no fiber), the first ingredient is brown rice flour – and I’m sure it’s still better than what one gets in the school cafeteria pizza crust!

P1000676This was very easy to prepare – add water and oil, beat up for a few minutes and spread out on an oiled pizza pan (or cookie sheet in my case).  The crusts baked for 20 minutes and came out looking crispy on the edges and still a bit doughy in the middle:

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I topped them with my super fast tomato sauce:
1 28 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes (by all means use fresh if you have them)
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 large clove garlic
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp of basil, thyme and/or rosemary if you like.  I was using flavorful toppings so I just did oregano
Whiz it up in your blender.
If you don’t have a power blender like a Vita Mix, you could mince your garlic and then mix it by hand.

Spread the tomato sauce out on your crust….

P1000677  Let everyone have a little input on what goes on top (making sure that the reluctant vegetable eaters are only given choices you approve of 😉 )  and put back in the oven until the ‘cheese’ melts.  I used cashew cheese on half of the pizza for me and my husband and cheddar (my son’s fave – even on pizza) on the other half.  Olives  and bell peppers for everyone – zucchini on the other pie.

P1000678I have to say that the crust was crispy in spots and chewy in spots.  It was strong enough to pick up and eat the pizza with my hands, yet there was some chew.  Now the chew did not rival wheat crust, but it was at least chewy.

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We ALL enjoyed it, so I’m thinking if the gluten-eating pizza lover enjoyed it, that’s a good endorsement!  I may experiment to come up with my own mix from scratch, but until then, a bag of this in the pantry means I can get GF pizza on the table in about 35 minutes.   That makes me feel springy all over!

Soccacia / Gluten Free Pizza crust

Going gluten free to treat my husband’s colitis has introduced us to lots of new foods!  As of yet, nothing that feels quite like wheat bread, but I find that if I think of the gluten-free foods as something new and exciting rather than as a meager substitute for bread, I am often more than pleasantly surprised.  I know, it is not earth shattering news, the impact of positive attitude, but I am indeed trying to take some of the advice I freely give my 11 year old regarding trying new foods.

Back to the GF adventure… We have made a doubly pleasant discovery in the easy and flexible form of dosas and now Soccas.  Socca is a mediterranean snack that is basically a baked or broiled chickpea crepe/tortilla/crust/dough type thing.  It is really similar to a dosa except that instead of cooking the chickpea batter like a pancake, you bake it.   A gluten free dough-type thing I can bake in the oven is begging for topping.  “Please Ma’am,” it says in a nasal chickpea tone, “slather me with veggies and perhaps tomato sauce and vegan cheese!!”

I love it when my food speaks to me.  I also love combining elements of a meal so that I don’t have to serve a bunch of different items.   Throw it all together Baby, it all ends up the same place anyway, right?

I did not venture for pizza tonight as I didn’t have the ingredients or time for vegan cheese, (hubby is not eating dairy either) but a socca pizza is definitely in our future.  Tonight, I figured I’d experiment with this Socca thang and just plop some sauteed whatever-needs-to-be-picked-from-the-garden on top.

Swiss chard wins!  And Swiss chard rules by the way, so I was delighted to have a big armful.

Here is the recipe for socca that I used (borrowed from The Vegan Chickpea):

1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup cold, filtered water
1-2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 375.  Prepare a 9″ round cake pan by cutting out a round piece of parchment to fit the bottom of the pan and then lightly greasing the sides of the pan and parchment. (Don’t go all crazy cutting this out perfectly, but pour carefully so it doesn’t go under and know that whatever hits the pan will stick a little.)

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine garbanzo flour, water, garlic, and sea salt and whisk until completely combined and no lumps remain.  Pour into prepared cake pan.  (It is quite wet and I was sure I wouldn’t be able to post this because it wouldn’t work… but it did!!)

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  (You can see below that it dries and firms up.)

Add your sauteed toppings and pop back if needed to synchronize warmth.  I sauteed onion with the swiss chard in a little olive oil and salt and pepper, but really the possibilities are endless.

Much more filling than wheat dough crust with some leftovers to take to work.  Easy dinner and easy lunch… That’s the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I like it!  Hubby is getting better as well, making all of the GF adventure very rewarding indeed!