Summer Pesto Quinoa Crust Pizza
If this title wasn’t enough of a mouthful already, I think you should know I was going to call it: Gluten Free, Vegan, Quinoa Crust Pizza with Summer Basil Pesto, Zucchini, and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes. Alas, it didn’t have quite the ring I wanted it to…
Anyways – gigantically long name or not, it’s about time that VK had a gluten free pizza crust recipe – especially one made of quinoa; my favorite little seed. Even better, with just 3 ingredients plus dried spices and salt, this pizza crust can be yours in no time at all.
This quinoa crust is:
Thin and crispy
Versatile to a variety of dried herbs
…and so delicious!
Topping your pizza with bright and seasonal summer pesto along with sweet and juicy cherry tomatoes is hands-down the best way to take advantage of quinoa crust pizza, although it would taste just as amazing with regular red sauce and other pizza fixins.’
Except you just cannot skip the roasted cherry tomatoes in this recipe. Oh my goodness, they are absolutely non-negotiable in making a sweet and seasonal summer pizza pie. As tomatoes are at their prime right now, they have the most amazing flavor that brings out the best of what they’re paired with. It’s incredibly important to find some local, organic cherry tomatoes, as these just taste the most amazing. Where can you find these magical tomatoes that don’t taste like old shoes? At your local farmer’s market of course! (Read here for my tips on navigating that localvore-centric place) As you know, tomatoes are bursting with plant-powered lycopene, an antioxidant that helps protect your gorgeous cells from damage. Here’s the coolest part – cooking your tomatoes with high heat (helloooo roasted summer goodness) restructures the lycopene molecules (from straight to bent) within the tomatoes and makes them easier to transport into the bloodstream and tissue. This means that cooked tomatoes are more delicious, more bioavailable, and more beneficial to your body.
Easy and crispy quinoa crust + super summery basil pesto + summer fresh zucchini + juicy and sweet roasted tomatoes = the perfect pizza, summer style.
Summer Pesto Quinoa Crust Pizza
1 ½ cups quinoa, uncooked and soaked overnight or at least 8 hours
½ cup filtered water (plus more for soaking)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon avocado oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cups tightly packed basil
¼ cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup olive oil or avocado oil
Squeeze of fresh lemon
2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
Sea salt and pepper
Other Pizza Ingredients:
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional to garnish)
Handful of basil leaves (to garnish)
Other toppings: sautéed mushrooms, eggplant, or peppers, sautéed spinach or other greens, garlic, mozzarella cheese.
Quinoa crust: Place uncooked quinoa in a bowl and cover with water. Allow to soak at room temperature overnight, or for at least 8 hours. Quinoa will have absorbed all water by this time and fluffed up a bit. Place soaked quinoa in a mesh strainer and give a good rinse.
Preheat oven to 425° F.
In a blender or food processor add in soaked and rinsed quinoa, ½ cup filtered water, salt, baking powder, oregano, and garlic powder. Blend on medium-high until quinoa begins to form a smooth and thick (pancake-like) batter – about a minute.
Line a large baking tray or round pizza pan with parchment paper. You can drizzle pan with a bit of oil before placing the parchment paper on top so it doesn’t move around. Drizzle parchment paper in pan with olive oil and pour in quinoa crust batter in a thin layer. Use a spatula to thin out and make sure crust is even.
Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, until it begins to turn golden. (During this time you can also place your tomatoes in the oven to roast!) Remove pizza from oven, gently flip over, and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until edges begin to turn golden and crisp. During this time, prepare the pesto and slice your zucchini or other toppings.
Remove pizza from oven, cover with pesto sauce, layers of zucchini, and roasted tomatoes. Sprinkle pizza with sea salt and pepper. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes, or until zucchini starts to gently brown. Remove from oven, slice up, and devour! You can also sprinkle the pizza with some nutritional yeast, torn basil leaves, or a drizzle of olive oil.
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes: Preheat oven to 425° F – or simply use same oven as pizza- and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Add sliced cherry tomatoes, sea salt, and avocado oil to baking tray and use your hands to move around thoroughly coat tomatoes with oil. Roast for 20 minutes, until tomatoes skin is gently peeling off and they smell divine. Remove from oven and top on pizza!
Basil Pesto: Add basil, pine nuts, garlic cloves, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and nutritional yeast to a food processor. Process for a few seconds to gently break down basil leaves. Pour in olive oil with the food processor running to combine. Process pesto for 1-2 minutes, until a beautiful green paste emerges and all ingredients are combined.
*If you’re not a pesto person, simply use red sauce instead
*You can use any color quinoa – but I used white quinoa. Tri-color quinoa may make an interesting looking crust!
*This crust recipe is inspired by a quinoa crust from my fabulous Nutrition professor, Chef Kimi Reid.