November 14, 2013 1 Comment
I haven’t eaten a slice of pizza in over a year and a half.
I know what your reaction is.
I am proof that yes, a teenager can survive without an IV drip of greasy, cheesy goodness. It’s not that I don’t like pizza–I LOVE a good slice–but more often than not, I feel tired and a little sick after I down a few pieces. I’d rather eat some meat, chicken, or fish with vegetables, because that way, I know I’m being nourished and can feel it in my body and mind.
Let me tell you something about real-food and “paleo” eating: a lion cannot be a tiger, even if he shaves his mane and paints himself orange with black stripes. “Paleo” pizza and “paleo” cake and “paleo” pasta will NEVER be the real thing, and that’s that. Sure, they might come close, but there is no feasible way to recreate an exact version of the dishes you miss so much. My attitude (which my mom taught me) is eat the real thing, but only have a little bit, and don’t have it too often. Really savor whatever it is because it’s good, and treat it like what it is: a treat. (Now, if you have allergies or food sensitivities, this is of course a different story. Don’t ever eat anything that will actually make you sick.)
This Zucchini Crusted Pizza is NOT just like real pizza. It tastes amazing and has a good texture, but it’s not a perfect replica: I’m merely calling it a pizza because that’s what it best resembles. It passed the picky eater test: my mom absolutely LOVED it and claimed the leftovers for herself. My dad and I really liked it, too: it was hard to stop eating! The ingredients are so simple–zucchini, cheese, onions–but each one is treated perfectly to have an incredible outcome. I will definitely be making this again…it was memorable.
Ready to make some “pizza” for yourself? Good. Let’s get started.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line two pie pans with parchment paper. Dust each with a little arrowroot powder so the crust won’t stick.
In a food processor or with a hand-grater, grate 2 zucchinis (mine were teeny tiny) until you yield two heaping cups of zucchini shreds. Toss them with about a teaspoon of salt and let sit in a colander over the sink for half an hour so the salt can help the zucchini release some of its water.
Once the half an hour has elapsed, wrap the zucchini shreds up in a cheesecloth or thin dish towel, twist the top, and squeeze out as much water as you possibly can. Your goal is to have the zucchini as dry as possible!
Add the zucchini into a big bowl and mix with 2 eggs, beaten, 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder, 2 tablespoons of coconut flour, 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon of dried basil, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. No, I don’t know if you could sub out the cheese for anything: I’ve seen it done with almond flour, but I haven’t tried it myself. And you definitely can’t skip the eggs: it’ll fall apart!
Divide the dough in two and put each half in its own pie pan. Squish it down with your hands and spread to all of the corners, making sure there are no bumps or holes.
Bake until golden brown and bubbly on top, about 15 minutes…
…then flip over and let brown on the other side for another 10-15 minutes.
Remove the pizza crust from the oven and turn it up to broil.
Top your crust with your favorite toppings before finishing it off under broil; I wouldn’t recommend a tomato sauce, though: it’ll make the crust soggy and icky. Your best bet is to slice tomatoes and put them on top or use a really thick tomato sauce–one made with mostly tomato paste, which has the least amount of water in the universe of tomato products. This time, I used caramelized onions (just a sliced onion sauteed with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt for ten minutes), a little extra cheese, and some more oregano and basil. You could also use…
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Sauteed or roasted bell peppers
- Jalapeno peppers
- Broccoli florets
- A drizzle of olive oil
- Sausage (preferably sweet Italian)
- Pineapple (because hey, why not)
- A handful of toasted nuts (I’d recommend hazelnuts, pistachios, or pine nuts)
- Pieces of pre-cooked chicken
- Leaves of fresh basil
- Chocolate (no, sorry, just a joke…)
Broil the pizza in the pan until the cheese has melted and is beginning to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 or so minutes, and then slice and serve with a simple green salad. Eat with a fork and a knife, or just go for it with your hands!
What are your favorite pizza toppings? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!