As the parent of a daughter with T1 Diabetes, I am constantly in search of new ways to cook healthy, tasty, low glycemic recipes. Omitting gluten, particularly processed wheat is one great way to curb blood sugar spikes. As a family of pizza lovers, this is particularly challenging, the crust and sauce are high in carbs and gluten (tomato is naturally high in sugar and often sauce has added sugar). With the restriction of limiting meals to approximately 20 carbs (for my diabetic 2.5 yr old daughter), this is especially difficult, it means she can just about have half a slice, leaving her hungry and cranky for more!
I also have a pizza loving friend with rheumatoid arthritis who has certain other dietary restrictions. This planted a seed in my brain, why can’t I create a tasty pizza like meal that leaves you feeling satisfied and your hunger satiated, without blowing your dietary limitations simply by smelling the air in which the dish was made (a pizza parlor :P)!
Dietary restrictions for this recipe, no: gluten, dairy, egg, soy, corn, solanaceae botanicals (aka nightshades linked to being inflammatory for those with a solanaceae intolerance).
A note on night shades – plants belonging to this family produce an alkaloid compound called solanine that acts as a nerve poison on insects that try to eat them. It is believed to have inflammatory properties, possibly even toxic if eaten in large quantities. Solanaceae includes tomatoes, potatoes (but not sweet), peppers, chili peppers, pimentos, paprika, goji berries and eggplant (as well as tobacco). Fear not, nightshades are only a problem for a small number of people. Those who suffer from arthritis are sometimes advised to avoid nightshades. However, clinical studies suggest that this advice really only applies to people who have a sensitivity to solanine. For these folks, eating nightshades causes an inflammatory reaction—including joint pain. Most people are not sensitive to solanine. Many medical professionals refute (a) the characterization that nightshades are “inflammatory” and (b) the advice that everyone with arthritis should avoid them. In fact, nightshade plants are high in antioxidants which actually help reduce inflammation. Chili peppers also contain capsaicin, a strongly anti-inflammatory compound.
Now back to the PIZZA
The dough is yeast based using whole grain un-processed brown rice flour and sweat potatoes. It has a crunchy flat bread meets savory tart like texture, with a sweet nutty taste. It would lend itself well to any number of savory toppings, not just the one listed in this recipe. Special tools: perforated pizza tin, pizza cutter, potato ricer
Ingredients for the crust
2 large sweet potatoes (about 14 ounces) (roasted in skins, then pealed and riced using potato ricer)
1/3 cup warm water (110*F)
2 tsp coconut nectar
One ¼ oz pack of active dry yeast
1.5 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp Kosher salt
3 tbps EVOO
Directions for the crust
Once potatoes are cool enough to handle after roasting, peal and rice them in potato ricer, you should have about 2 cups.
Whisk together warm water, coconut nectar and yeast in small bowl. Let sit until a small layer of foam develops at the top and the yeast is activated (3-5 minutes). If this does not happen, discard and try again.
Place potatoes, rice flour and salt in mixing bowl with paddle attachment (if using mixer), this can be done by hand but the dough is quite sticky so just be prepared. Mix on medium speed until just combined and produces a fine crumbly meal. Continue to mix on medium speed, slowly add EVOO until combined, then drizzle yeast mixture and continue mixing just until dough comes together (again it will be slightly sticky and tacky), you will need a spatula to help give a final stir to ensure everything is all combined. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until the dough rises by at least half (approximately 1.5-2 hours).
Remove dough on (rice) floured surface and work into a ball, you will need to add about 1/3 cup extra rice flour at this point to incorporate it into a workable dough by hand, but it will still remain sticky and tacky compared to gluten based doughs. Roll out to approximately 1 cm thick and place on perforated pizza tin (pre sprayed w oil and sprinkled with rice flour to ensure it doesn’t stick).
Place desired toppings on pizza dough, bake at approximately 500* F in pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes until it is crisp and lightly golden brown, remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes before serving (burning the roof of your mouth is the worst!)
Ingredients for the topping
3 cups kale
½ large zucchini
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
3 medium shallots sliced into fine rings (or 1 red onion)
¾ cup toasted pine nuts
1 tsp coconut nectar
1/3 cup EVOO
S&P to taste
Dairy option (I made one with, one without): 1 cup mozzarella or grated pecorino, ½ low fat ricotta
Directions for the topping
*Tip – prep the toppings while dough is proofing
Sauté kale and zucchini until wilted (about 5 minutes), remove from heat. Place in food processor along with coconut nectar, EVOO and 1/4 cup of water, process until green pesto like sauce texture. Return to heat and add dash of S&P to taste. The coconut nectar ensures the greens are not bitter.
Separately sauté shallots on low until they are very soft and caramelized (about 15 minutes). Remove from pan and briefly fry chopped garlic in olive oil until the aroma is sweet and nutty but color still pale this only takes about 2 minutes. Otherwise, it will burn and result in a sharp bitter taste. Remove garlic from heat.
To assemble the pizza: Place green sauce on dough, then sprinkle caramelized shallots, toasted garlic and toasted pine nuts, lastly sprinkle with cheese if using.
Serve with mixed leaves salad in a lemon & EVOO dressing.