I love pizza!
We eat it once a week here at mamaguru’s house, and I always look forward to that meal just as much as my boys do. I almost always make it from scratch, which sounds arduous, but it only takes about 10 minutes of prep time. Homemade pizza is not junk food if you make right. In fact my newest crust, actually turns pizza into a health food. I added two special ingredients that boost the nutrition and improve the texture:
lentil flour and chia seeds.
Stay with me.
Lentil flour is simply lentils ground into a powder. It has the same nutritional content of beans, but it can be used in place of regular wheat flour, which loads the crust with healthy protein. As a side benefit, it crispens the crust just a touch, which is my family’s preference. It also makes the dough so easy to work with. It rolls out smoothly and never tears. I buy mine at an Indian grocery store, but you can also find it at healthy grocery stores.
Chia seeds are the same seeds as the infamously camp chia pets. The seed is packed with omega 3 fatty acids and protein. I’ve taken to adding a tablespoon to my morning smoothie and a dash to my crust. It registers a bit like a poppy seed, but adds nutritional value. Health food stores have it, but I buy mine at my regular grocery store, so it’s getting pretty mainstream.
Lentil Pizza Crust
This makes 2 medium-sized pizzas.
1 package rapid rise yeast
1 t honey
1/4 c warm water
2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 c lentil flour
1 T herbs de Provence
1 T chia seeds
1 t sea salt
1 T olive oil
3/4 c water
1. Proof the yeast by placing it in the warm water with the honey. Stir, and then leave it alone for about 5 minutes as it bubbles and doubles in size.
2. Meanwhile, add the flours, herbs, seeds and salt to a food processor. Pulse a few times to mix. Once the yeast is proofed, add it, the extra water, and the olive oil to the food processor. Pulse a few times, then let it whir away. It will form a ball that gets pummeled around in circles. Keep at it for a couple of minutes, so you won’t need to knead much. Of course, you can use a mixer or a spoon if you don’t have a food processor.
3. On a lightly floured surface turn out the dough. Knead it until it feels smooth and elastic. Form a ball and drizzle olive oil over the dough. Place dough in a bowl and cover with a wet towel. Let it rest in a warm place for 45 minutes, but longer is OK too. Dough won’t rise as much as a traditional wheat dough, but don’t worry, it’s just fine.
1. Preheat oven with a pizza stone in it to 500º. Allow it to stay at temperature for at least a half an hour for the best crust. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can place a baking sheet in the oven to preheat. In that case, you don’t need the extra 30 minutes.
2. Divide your dough into 2 balls. Roll each ball out on a lightly floured surface to prevent sticking. Put whatever toppings you like on the pizzas. Spread cornmeal on the pizza stone or the hot pan to prevent sticking. Transfer pizza to the cooking surface, and bake for 8-10 minutes until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown or veggies look done. Serve immediately.