Sunday, July 20, 2014

Gluten Free Zucchini Crust Pizza

I'm not truly on board with the whole gluten-free movement. I have a co-worker who actually has Celiac's and we accommodate her to the best of our ability when planning snacks and treats for work. But recently I've been running into SO many people who've hopped on the band wagon without the faintest idea about what gluten actually is.

Many such folk rave about their health and weight loss a few weeks into the diet. But inevitably, they slide. Oh, they stay gluten free. But where in those first few weeks bread, pasta, pretzels and the like were either ignored or replaced with low carb and less-processed foods (hummus is gluten-free! And salsa! Who knew! Give me a break...) the weeks that follow see a slow influx of the pre-packaged over processed products that replace the gluten for what? Hopefully nut or alternative grain based flours, but more likely than not an onslaught of chemicals, fat and sugar. Processed food is processed food. Everything moderation...

I digress...

So why this gluten free pizza crust? Quite frankly, I have far too much zucchini on my hands at the moment and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Plus this glorified zucchini pancake comes together much more quickly than waiting for pizza dough to rise.

What do you put on these lovely little crusts? Whatever strikes your fancy! I pressed out three crusts, which was a hearty meal for two people, but could easily sate three with a salad or side. Our pizzas included a cheese, a cheese and pepperoni, and a spinach, kalamata olive and cheese version. All with red sauce.

Keep the toppings light. The crusts sadly do not crisp up the way flour based crust does. The zucchini pizza, while incredibly tasty, is more of a knife and fork sort of meal. You can blame the gluten for the durability of your traditional pizza.

adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

yields three 7-8 inch pizzas

The Ingredients:
2 medium zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup finely shredded Mozzarella
1/3 cup almond flour/meal
2 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten

pizza toppings, as desired

The Process
Pulse the shredded zucchini in a food processor until a coarse mixture forms. Do not over process...the mixture should be crumbly, not a purée. Transfer the zucchini to a cheesecloth lined sieve and allow to drain for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450

Generously oil a baking stone.

After 30 minutes, gather up the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid from the zucchini as you can. You should have a scant 2 cups.

In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, mozzarella, almond flour, Paremesan, garlic, oregano and egg. Divide the mixture into 3 balls. On the baking stone, gently press each ball into a disc of uniform thickness, about 7 inches across.

Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes. The crusts should be beginning to brown on top and crisp around the edges.

Top with toppings of your choice and bake an additional 3-4 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Allow to cool slightly before serving

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