Wow, mention pizza and the level of excitement in a room goes through the roof! What is it about this round crust, topped with melty cheese and various meats, vegetables, and even fruits, that makes us salivate and turn to mush?
I was teasing on the facebook page that my readers were pizza-holics, but the reality is that the number one thing that people ask me for is a way to make Pizza paleo. I hate to break this to you, but it’s not going to ever really replace the gluten and dairy carnival that traditional pizza is. For a few reasons, the gluten in the wheat flour is what makes pizza dough so pliable, crispy on the outside, yet foldable. That’ s right, that very protein that we loathe is the reason your pizza is, well, pizza. Also, technically, it’s not paleo – dairy is such a questionable thing. Dairy is kind of a controversy, and will be covered in a subsequent post. For now… we’ll call our pizza options paleo-ish.
When we went paleo, my husband said that the one thing he’d NEVER give up was his pizza. After 30 days paleo, he had a slice and became violently ill. It was obvious even the occasional pizza slice wasn’t in the cards for him. I often have people who give themselves pizza as their only “cheat” because emotionally pizza represents something to us. Even my kids will turn down any other treat offered to them in exchange for one slice of greasy gooey pizza, and they will gladly endure the hours of stomach cramps and “potty time” for just that slice!
Personally, I don’t think I get it. I have never been a pizza fan. I ate it, but it was never a favorite food of mine. I detest tomato sauce unless I make it, so pizza sauces have always failed me miserably. But, I do love cheese and that was far harder for me to give up when going paleo than any amount of bread ever was. So for me, the indulgence is in the cheese.
I’m going to post some pics of the pizza recipe I prefer and that my family likes most – but i”m going to share 4 pizza options (all from other bloggers), that I’ve tried and they all have their own pros and cons. Today I’m just going to lay them out for you with my personal opinion and that of my “taste testers” the pizza connoisseurs.
Before I even get to the pizza, I want to talk about the pizza sauce for just a second… after all, the sicilian in me cannot stand a crummy tomato sauce. It’s a pet peeve. This is my recipe for the perfect pizza sauce. It has only 3 ingredients and doesn’t require cooking.
LC’s Pizza Sauce:
1 box of POMI brand strained or crushed tomatoes (750 g)
3-4 cloves of garlic
a handful of fresh basil leaves
combine in blender, food processor or Ninja, etc.
Yep, that’s it!
Pomi brand is the only brand of tomato anything I buy, they are imported italian non-gmo tomatoes sold in boxes and with BPA free packaging without preservatives. There is no citric acid added, no water added, no flavoring added… just freaking real tomatoes! And tomato sauce does NOT need sugar… OMG, that’s just disgusting.
Ok, I’m off my tomato sauce soap box! We may now carry on with the pizza’s…
The four options in their most generic form are (and make no mistake there will be variations of these a plenty):
1. meatza – a meat crust pie
2. cauliflower crust
3. nut flour crust
4. alternative flour crust
1. The Meatza
For me, a meat lover, while this is a fantastic idea – it’s not my idea of pizza. Not saying that it isn’t a great meal and tasty, it just doesn’t fulfill that “pizza” feeling. They all look and taste fabulous, but remind me of a meatloaf with toppings and I just don’t like meatloaf, never have.
That said, here are a number of samples of the meatza pizza available in the paleo/primal circle:
Then I found this one, from Mark Sisson’s blog: Mark’s Daily Apple. First I love that it has very few ingredients – that’s right up my alley! Take a moment to check out his Greek Meatza with Creamy Feta.
A search of “Meatza” on my favorite compilation of recipes at FastPaleo.com resulted in these 5 options.
2. Cauliflower crust
This is a great idea to me, just because I LOVE cauliflower. My kids had this version at their grandparent’s house and it wasn’t until I told them that they realized the crust was made of cauliflower and cheese. Not that my kids care, my kids love cauliflower too. According to my daughter (who is 8) you could pick it up, didn’t require a fork for eating, and it was good.
I have not personally attempted to make one of these, so I cannot comment on the prep. I pulverize cauliflower though for lots of things including rice, faux potatoes, and a myriad of other ideas, as outlined in my former post Paleo Paella and other Cauliflower Surprises. You can even make tortilla type wraps.
3. Nut Crusts
The most common crusts are a combination of arrowroot and almond flour. This is the pizza crust I’ve used in the past. The pros… yes it was tasty and it had a pizza crust “feel” to it when you pick it up. Up until recently, this was my favorite go to pizza crust. However, I have to be honest. I limited making pizza to twice a year, it was expensive. Almond flour, arrowroot, almond milk are items that are costly even if you are making your own almond products. They are also calorie dense. In addition, I normally do not make my own almond milk and don’t like the gums and carageenan stabilizers and thickeners in commercial versions. Almonds themselves are expensive and are a lot of calories for a few almonds, so when you think about the number of almonds that go into making a cup of flour, to me it doesn’t make sense to eat that very often. For all of these reasons combined – I think I’ve only made this pizza crust 4 times in 2 years.
4. Alternative crusts and pizza
Bringing me to the pizza I posted on facebook that you all asked about. This, Perfect Paleo Pizza Crust was not my creation either. It was the post of an online friend, Will Gregory. I saw his pictures of it and that it was “foldable”. He mentioned that he used tapioca starch, which is one of my favorite flour replacements. I use it for my chicken “nuggets”, which I”ll have to post another time. I’ve heard that tapioca starch isn’t paleo, and like other things, we do the best we can. Tapioca is the result of dried and ground cassava root. There is some cross-reactivity betweenTapioca or Cassava with some gluten intolerant people. However, from the standpoint of a definition – it’s a root, not unlike arrowroot powder/starch. If it doesn’t make you feel good afterward – don’t eat it!
We gave this pizza a try last week and we truly enjoyed it. The first time around I made them too thick and they didn’t cook evenly – you need to really spread the crust out to paper thin. We made them again a few days later and were much ha
ppier with the result after a little tweaking. Again, it’s paleo-ish in my opinion, but it’s a much better alternative than a traditional pizza without any of the tummy troubles for my kids.
The final pizza I want to post is for those dairy intolerant followers, I hear your pleas. I cannot honestly say I’ve tried this, although I do want to. It replaces the dairy cheese with a home made cheese alternative from cashews. I thought this was the greatest thing, but I just haven’t gotten around to attempting to create my own cheese. Someone out there try this “That’s not Cheese” Pizza by PaleoCupboard and let me know!
some more alternatives:
This was a dairy, soy, nut, gluten free alternative pizza that I found online as well.
and a Coconut flour pizza crust here.
The end result should be an enjoyable special meal… not a daily occurrence. A paleo treat is still a treat, enjoy them occasionally!