If you’re a pizza purist this “pizza” will probably offend you. I love it. It used to be a weekend staple for years and I prefer it to its fake pizza cousin, cauliflower pizza, because the texture is superior and there’s less prep. You do have to soak the quinoa for at least 5 hours though; there’s no getting around it. I’ve tried pizza recipes using unsoaked quinoa and had no success.
The quinoa is blended so it’s almost like a batter. You pour it onto a tray, bake it, top it and bake it again. Be prepared for it to smell a bit weird while it cooks but the finished pizza doesn’t taste overwhelmingly of quinoa. If you're sensitive to the taste then strong-flavoured toppings like pepperoni, caramelised onion or pesto will help.
I think I stopped making this recipe because a nearby Farmfoods sells three Chicago Town Tiger Crust Pizzas for £5, which is a ludicrously good deal for excellent pizza. However, if you can’t eat gluten or you just want to try something different with quinoa then this is a great pizza alternative.
I make the sauce using garlic, tinned tomatoes and basil, reducing it until very thick. The sauce is important and will make or break the pizza but thankfully it doesn’t take much effort and you can get on with it while the base cooks.
Top the pizza with whatever you like but you can’t go wrong with simple tomato and mozzarella.
It’s important to use good quality greaseproof paper. When I used the cheaper kind the quinoa fused to it and had to be thrown away. The same thing happened with tin foil. Lakeland’s Baking Parchment Paper or Vogue’s Baking Parchment Paper are both good.
Makes one large, rectangular pizza (my tin measures approximately 43cm x 28cm) or two 25cm (10”-ish) round pizzas.
Recipe adapted from Simply Quinoa. I use a rectangular tin regardless of whether I'm making a round or rectangular pizza and I don’t flip the base halfway through cooking.
- 200g dried quinoa (just under 1½ cups)
- 100ml water (just under ½ a cup)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp fine salt (I use kosher)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil (for greasing)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)
- a large handful of fresh basil, leaves and stalks sliced
- salt and black pepper (to taste)
- 200g mozzarella, torn
- 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
You will need
- a powerful blender (e.g. Nutribullet or Vitamix)
- good quality greaseproof paper
- Soak: Pour 200g of dried quinoa into a bowl and add enough water to cover the quinoa by at least 5cm. Soak for 5 hours minimum.
- Pizza base: Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan).
- Drain the quinoa into a fine sieve and rinse well. Add the quinoa to a blender along with 100ml of water, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of fine salt, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano and some freshly ground black pepper. Blitz until the quinoa resembles a smooth batter.
- Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper and drizzle a little olive oil over them. Pour half of the quinoa batter onto the middle of one tray and smooth it out into a rough circle until it’s approximately ½cm thick all over. Repeat with the remaining batter and bake for 15-20 minutes until the bases have just started to colour.
- Tomato sauce: Place a medium saucepan over a low heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 4 chopped cloves of garlic. Fry for a few minutes until the garlic starts to colour then add 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g) and a large handful of fresh, sliced basil leaves and stalks. Cook on a medium to high heat for around 15 minutes until the sauce reduces and becomes thick and concentrated. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Pizza: Once the pizza bases are ready, remove them from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 220°C (200°C fan). Spread the tomato sauce over the bases, top with 200g of torn mozzarella and 50g of grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for another 12-15 minutes until the cheese has turned golden brown.