As a part of my quest to become healthier and happier I avoid cooking with refined ingredients like white flour, all refined sweeteners and commercial salt. And in the process of eliminating white flours I have also found that I am a happier and more stable person when cutting down on not only glutenous grains – but grains in general. Whole grain or not, properly prepared or not – I simply feel better without them. I’m not eliminating them completely but have limited them considerably. And all in all I feel that I do very well on a low carb, high fat, high protein diet.
I actually don’t really find it too hard to avoid grains, but there are some dishes that are sorely missed. One of them is a good whole grain pizza with a topping of spicy tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, capers, parma ham & basil. Like I said, it’s actually not that I am eliminating any grains completely – but I do kind of get a kick out of finding good alternatives to grain based recipes, so I ventured into my hunt for a satisfying pizza alternative!
And I must say that I have found a lovely way of getting the flavours right without the traditional pizza crust. And it is very satisfying and filling but does not weigh you down the way pizza will usually do. It is very much inspired by this recipe which is just wonderful. I adapted it a bit – so here’s my take on it!
- 2 medium sized zucchini
- 1 egg – lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil (+ extra to grease the pan)
- 1 tbsp salt
Grate the zucchini finely by hand. Add the salt, mix it and let the salt do it’s job of pulling out the moisture from the zucchini (if I don’t do this I find it gets kind of soggy). Leave it for 30 minutes or longer and meanwhile grease your pizza pan, get the tomato sauce cooking (your own personal favourite – or follow the recipe further down), prepare the toppings for the pizza and turn on the oven (200 degrees C / 390 degrees F). Rinse the zucchini in a colander and using either the colander or a kitchen towel wring out the water from the grated zucchini. In a bowl mix the zucchini with the lightly beaten egg and oil and
check if it needs further seasoning. Chances are it won’t because of the salt used for pulling out the water. When it has been thoroughly blended spread the mixture evenly in the pizza pan with your hands – the layer will be quite thin. Then pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes before you spread all your lovely toppings on it and bake it for another 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it so the cheese doesn’t burn.
My Tomato Sauce:
(enough for 2 pizzas or 1 pizza and I use the leftovers in a pasta sauce or stew)
Well to be honest it does vary from time to time, and I guess everyone has their own tomato sauce preferences and when it comes to which herbs I use it strongly depends on what I have at home. But this is how it went down this time:
- bottled tomatoes (about 700 ml)
- 1 small finely chopped yellow or red onion
- 2 cloves of garlic – minced
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- fresh oregano sprigs (cause I happened to have some)
- fresh thyme sprigs (well, happened to have some of that as well…)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp honey (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil for sauteing
Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the onion on medium heat until they are soft. Add the herbs and garlic and saute for a few seconds before adding the tomatoes. Let it bubble away while you get your toppings ready and finish the pizza crust – at least 20 minutes. Take out the sprigs and the bay leaf and mix the sauce with an immersion blender. Season to taste with salt, pepper and honey.
- Tomato sauce
- Mozzarella – grated
- parmesan – grated
- fresh sliced tomato
- good quality nitrate-free parma ham
- pine nuts
- fresh basil
Obviously variations are endless and could include good quality spicy italian salami, goat’s cheese, olives, artichokes, aubergine, sundried tomatoes. Well, whatever tickles your fancy as they say.