Recipe | Thin Crust, Gluten Free and Wholewheat Pizzas Base with A Crunchy Cilantro Pesto
“Mom, today is the last day of practice session, make some good Pizzas, all my friends have been asking for long, and please don’t add too many veggies...keep it simple and crisp” informed my son taking out his cycle from the garage. I knew it was going to be a long & hectic day. For I need to drop my daughter in school for the last drama practice session in morning, bring her again, dress her up and then leave her back in school auditorium for the evening annual day function.
And making Pizzas in between…Hmm.
I prepared three different kinds of Pizza bases, two easy spreads to complete our dinner and the treat for son’s school friends. Me and hubby like lots of veggies and slightly chewy pizza baked with wholegrain, son likes thin crust little veggies and the daughter eats only the crispy base baked with just cheese.
Chickpea flour is a favorite addition in my cooking, be it Indian flat beads, cookies or Pizza base, am hooked to the nutty flavor of it. The recent visit to my health store surprised me with Tapioca flour, I remember browsing many recipes of bloggers using the same to make gluten free goodies. May be the presence of starch in Tapioca (cassava) helps in gluten free baking and it did give a good shape to the gluten free Pizza base.
During the D day I managed to bake 4 small thin crust Pizzas for the friends of my son, dressed up my Gretel and could also reach early to catch a seat in the auditorium.
1. Thin Crust Pizza Base
(makes two small Pizzas)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 4 tsp. oil/olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
Method; Warm 2 tbsp of water slightly add sugar and yeast in it. Leave it for 5 5-7 minutes for the yeast to bubble.
Take a large vessel, add flour and salt in it. Mix thoroughly.
Make a well in the flour and pour in the active yeast mixture and rest of water in it. Mix slowly with hands to form soft dough.
Smear your hands with the oil and rub it around the dough and slightly knead it. Repeat the same process using the 4 tsp. of oil in the recipe. Knead the dough several times on a large board. The dough will be sticky, smear oil on your hands or use extra flour on board and keep kneading for 10 minutes.
Place the dough in another vessel brushed with oil and cover with a cling foil or a wet cloth. Let it rise for one hour or till it doubles in size.
Divide the dough into two and shape in a large circular disc. Keep it thin or thick as you desire. I like thin crust and roll the dough using my rolling pin to make it almost paper thin. It rises a little again when baked.
Use Pizza stone if you have or a baking tray to bake the pizza. Baking stone get evenly heated and provides perfect heat for the base to cook. If you are using a large baking tray sprinkle a little cornmeal flour before placing the pizza base.
Bake the crust for 5 minutes in a preheated oven at 200°C. Take out from the oven and let it cool slightly and use for making assorted Pizza.
2. Gluten Free Pizza Base
(makes 2 small Pizzas)
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour or Besan
- 1/4 cup Tapioca flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tsp. dry active yeast
- 2 tbsp. Olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
Method; Make the pizza base as explained in the first recipe. You can replace Tapicoa flour with all purpose flour if its not available. Tapioca flour helps in binding the gluten free dough which is hard to roll.
The dough will not rise as much as it does in the other two recipes. But the base comes out crispy and tastes good.
3. Whole wheat Pizza Base
(makes 4 small Pizza base)
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup All purpose flour
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 2 tbsp. Olive oil/oil
- 1 tsp. sugar/honey
- 1 tsp. salt
Method; Use the same method as explained for the above base recipe.
1. Cilantro pesto with Peanuts
- 2 cups of cilantro/fresh coriander with stem
- 1/2 cup of peanuts/almonds
- 1/4 cup of oil/Olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 green chilies
- 1 tsp of lemon juice
- Salt as desired
Method; Wash coriander leaves and roughly chop them. Dry roast the groundnuts or use roasted and salted groundnuts.
Add all the ingredients except the oil in a blender. Blend to make into a fine paste. I left it slightly coarse to give a brighter green color and texture of the Pesto. Pour oil in the blender while it is still running to combine all the ingredients together.
I like chunky textured spreads and kept this Pesto slightly coarse, you can grind it more and make it smooth and paste like Pesto.
Store in an air tight container and refrigerate till used.
2. Quick Homemade Tomato Sauce
- 1 cup chopped tomato
- 2 tsp. oil
- 1 tsp dry herbs
- Salt and pepper as desired
Method; Heat oil and add tomatoes cook for 2-3 minutes on high heat. Add salt, pepper and herb of your choice. Mash the cooked tomatoes with a spoon.
To assemble the Pizza;
Take a Pizza base and brush it with Olive oil and spread the Cilantro pesto or tomato sauce generously over it. Add veggies of your choice. Colored bell peppers (capsicum or Shimla mirch), fresh corn kernels, olives, mushrooms, peas go well with vegetarian pizza recipes.
I stretched the base in my rectangular baking tin (above picture) to make a single serving Pizza for the whole family and also to reduce time by baking multiple Pizzas.
Sprinkle dry herbs of your choice and 2-3 tbsp. of Olive oil over the Pizza. Bake it at 200°C for 15 minutes.
Add grated Pizza cheese which melts well such as Mozzarella cheese and bake again for 3-4 minutes till the cheese starts to melt. Sever hot.
Thin crust Pizza is perfect choice when you wish to parcel it or eat it after a while.
The children enjoyed their crispy treat.
I was the early bird, reached two hours before and got a perfect place to sit. The school auditorium is spacious, well maintained and equipped with state of the art technology in video shooting and film production.
School children sit in the gallery above while the parents watch the function from ground floor. The auditorium was packed to its full capacity one hour before the function started. The huge bouncers and reflectors used to adjust the lighting inside were quite exciting to watch.
I sliced the Pizzas into small wedges and packed them in layers of parchment papers.
A fusion song with folk dances from many states of India, they look cute with the makeover and the colorful dresses. We are not supposed to take pictures of the show..Shh…my small PnS did the job well in zooming to its maximum limit.
Less cheese and few veggies keep the Pizza crisp. Pizza loaded with cheese tend to become rubbery after a while.
My little Gretel delivering her dialogues in the drama. This must be her 4th consecutive year of stage performance, but each year I watch her act with bated breath.
Homemade Pizza is lot more fun, economical and healthier option than the store bought one. You could add veggies of your choice, reduce cheese or can make it more crisp.
The next day I received a small paper from my son with a note “You make the best Pizza, thanks for the wonderful treat, Aunty“‘ signed by all his friends. A precious moment of highest appreciation and recognition I live for!
- Add more oil to store the Cilantro spread for longer period.
- Freeze the pesto for about a month.
- Use half mint leaves and half coriander leaves for a different flavor and taste.
- A pinch of sugar in the Pesto recipe would enhance the flavors.
- Use fresh cottage cheese, mushrooms or any other veggie as topping.
- Baking the crust before adding sauces and veggies make sure that it remains crisp.
- A layer of oil added before spreading the sauces will make sure that the base stays crisp as it will not soak the liquid from the sauces and become soggy.
- Stir fry the veggies in a pan to reduce the baking time, just add stir fried veggies, cheese and grill for a few minutes till cheese melts.
- Thin crust Pizza with wholewheat flour/rice four/chickpea flour pizza base is a good option if you want to avoid the carbs of white flour in your diet.