`Why post a recipe for a pizza crust? Is that paleo? I thought this was about totally changing the way we eat.’
Well, it is paleo…and paleo is about changing the way we eat. We sometimes post things that are a paleo version of what has become an everyday food for many people. One of the reasons is that this makes a paleo lifestyle more do-able for people who are transitioning over to it, particularly if it is a whole family moving over from a SAD (standard Australian/American diet).
We are though, quite picky about what we choose. This pizza crust is a typical example of how we make the choices.
There’s a lot of recipes available for pizza crusts that are grain/gluten free. This doesn’t automatically make them a good, healthy alternative. Some of them meet the health requirements, but are just plain horrible – they don’t even seem related to pizza. In looking for something we have probably tried most of them, including a cauliflower base and a chicken & cheese mix.
Most of the recipes that actually resemble a regular pizza base have a lot of tapioca or arrowroot in them. Or some have rice flour, or potato flour. They’re an easy, grain free, gluten free alternatives to wheat flour, and are fairly predictable in how they will cook. A little different to wheat flour, but gives a similar finished product.
What’s the problem with that? It’s that tapioca (aka arrowroot) is really just highly processed carbohydrates with very little in the way of other nutrients. And remember that all carbs turn to sugar in our bloodstream. Tapioca is one carb that turns to sugar really quickly and is highly likely to give a blood sugar spike. Best not to go there.
So when looking for a substitute for the wheat flour, we are not just looking for what we leave out (gluten), we are looking for what we put into the food.
We always ask what is the overall nutritional value of the thing we are going to use?
We could use a mixture that is 3 parts tapioca and one part almond flour or coconut flour. That would bake really nicely, but it’s still predominantly empty carbs.
Or we could flip that and do 3 parts almond flour and 1 part tapioca – just enough to have the pizza base cook nicely, and not compromise the nutritional content very much.
When looking for ways to do the old food the paleo way, it’s important that you learn to look at the ingredients and consider what the nutritional content is. Weigh up the positives and the negatives before making a decision.
In some cases there will not be a good alternative, and the best decision would be to leave that food out of your diet.
There are plenty of great new things to experience as you choose to live this paleo lifestyle. And this is a change after all. It’s not just about making things fit into the paleo ‘rules’. It’s about making sure you get the best nutritional meals into your system….to promote good health….to build your immune system up to fight off disease.
With this in mind, let’s look at the recipe we have created here…
- Eggs – that’s good protein and fat
- Almonds – more protein and fat
- Coconut oil – fat – good medium chain fatty acids
- Tapioca – carbs – thus this is in a relatively small amount
- Salt and some herbs – a small amount for taste
That all looks OK – but it’s not a meal. If this is going to be a meal, then you need to make sure that you include plenty of vegetables. You could put some in the topping ….and then a big salad on the side. This recipe is so easy that you can whip it up and get it into the oven, then prepare a simple salad while it’s cooking.
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 Tabsp coconut oil (30g) – soft or melted
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour (100g)
- ¼ cup tapioca/arrowroot flour (25g)
- 1 teasp Himalayan pink salt
- ½ teasp dried oregano
- ½ teasp dried basil
- Combine all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix.
- Add the eggs and mix thoroughly until well combined (Note: the mixture will be moist and somewhat mushy – not firm like a wheat bread/pizza dough)
- Spread onto a baking tray lined with baking paper (or a silicone baking sheet) – making sure that it is even thickness. The mixture makes a 23-25 cm (9-10 inch) pizza base.
- Cook in 180°C oven for 15 minutes
- Allow to cool a little before putting toppings on
- Make almond flour from whole almonds
- Put 100g of almonds into bowl – Speed 8 / 6-10 seconds
- Using spatula, loosen flour from sides of bowl before continuing
- Add all other ingredients and mix till well combined – Speed 5 – 20 seconds
- Spread on tray and bake as above.
- Add toppings of choice and return to the oven to cook for approx. 15 minutes – or until topping is cooked.
I make a simple tomato sauce using a tablespoon of tomato paste, a tablespoon on homemade tomato sauce, and a clove of garlic chopped. Mix these all together and spread on the pizza base.
For toppings we like:
Chopped bacon, fresh basil, and mixed cheeses (mozzarella & parmesan is a nice mix)
Chopped bacon, baby spinach, fresh basil, olives, and bocconcini (baby mozzarella)
Chopped bacon, baby spinach, spring onion, capsicum, fresh basil, olives, anchovies, and mixed cheeses.
Yes, we do some dairy, so strictly speaking this could be called `primal’, not paleo.
We use fresh herbs in the base – about a tablespoon of oregano and basil. If doing this in the Thermomix, just put them in whole. For regular method, chop them first.
This pizza base is firm, nicely chewy, and easy to pick up in your hands to eat. (Part of the reason for doing pizza is so you don’t have to do dishes isn’t it?)
It’s fine cold the next day. It can easily be packed in a lunchbox with a salad. Though perhaps not a school lunchbox, if your school is a nut free zone.
More good news – this one is easy enough for the kids to make it up themselves…depending on the degree of mess you are prepared to have in the kitchen. Have fun and enjoy.