Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Musings on making a gluten-free, raw food, vegan, ayurvedic pizza slice.

So a pizza with no cheese, onions, preserved olives of artichokes, hot peppers or a flour based crust. Tough ask - yes! But a worthwhile challenge to take on I think as my tastebuds will thank me if I get it right.

Did my research, looking at raw food, vegan and gluten-free info on the web. My problem is most sites only deal with one thing. Gluten-free vegan is becoming more common but even there people design recipes with things like mushrooms (big allergen for me), hot peppers that inflame and preserves that are liable to have molds, fungis and yeast (which my body treats like mushrooms and snarls at me). The Veggieboards forum has a lot of good ideas but no one solution. Breaking down the problem into its three component parts we have a need for:
  • a flourless base
  • pizza toppings
  • a cheese-less melt.
The base

You can buy gluten-free pizza bases but they may contain salt, sugar, spices, yeast and a type of flour you can't digest. I've opted to make my own. I have a dehydrater, a wood stove and a convection oven that will do low temperatures so dehydrating is easy enough. Tip: on a cool night do your dehydrating in the evening to warm the room, they choof out a fair bit of warm air. My first attempt at a base used quinoa sprouts which I blended with linseed and chia (my usual egg-replacement glue). I poured this into a flan base and dehydrated it.  I'd have to say the taste was strong on the palate but not unpleasant. I have two other ideas to try: an almond and herb base and a zucchini, walnut and linseed base. I'm tempted to try sunflowers as well. You can add asafoetida to the base mix if you want a slightly garlicy flavor. If you want salt use himalayan or sea salt or a dash of tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) or dulse flakes.

The toppings

This is the easy bit. There is actually quite a bit you can use. Raid your garden for what's in season. I made a bed of spinach, beetroot leaves and mizuna. Arranged some bell peppers, fresh pineapple (okay, not out of my garden but the rest was), Vietnamese mint, oregano and thyme on top.  I've yet to try nasturtium flowers but I think they might add a bite. Calendula petals would add colour. Water chestnuts might add a crunch factor.

The cheese-less melt

For my first attempt I used my tried and tested cashew, basil pesto. Just add Cashews, fresh basil, pine nuts, a dash of asafoetida to a blender then pour over your pizza. Dehydrate for a while to draw out the flavors of the veggies underneath.One alternative I'd like to try to this is the idea of thing slices of avocado added to the top of warmed pizza. Sounded nice.

Slice and enjoy.

I'll add to this post as I refine things.