Gluten-Free Mediterranean Pizza Crust
with Asparagus, Onions, White Beans and Basil
This gluten-free pizza crust is an adaptation of the traditional Italian dish called faina (fah-ee-na). Faina is an Italian flatbread made from chickpea flour (aka garbanzo bean flour). Over the years I’ve adapted the traditional recipe slightly to meet my tastes and needs.
You can omit the egg if you are vegan and it will still work. The texture will be a bit different. The creamy white beans already serve as a nice substitute for cheese on top. I don' think anyone will miss the dairy on this pizza.
I add a little rice flour to the mix which I think makes the flavor more mild. I wouldn’t say chickpea flour has an overly strong taste, but it is distinctive. You can use a full cup of chickpea flour instead and see which you prefer.
Make it a circular pizza if you’ve got the pan, or feel free make it in a rectangular pan and cut into squares.
We particularly enjoyed the combination of toppings on this pizza. In general I choose toppings for this base that are along the lines of Italian or Mediterranean flavors. But, of course, you can start with the crust and put whatever you like on top.
Recipe for Gluten-Free Pizza Crust with Caramelized Onions, Asparagus, White Beans and Basil
Makes one pizza pan size crust. You can easily double the recipe for a thicker, more filling crust. It works great. (I have tripled the recipe before and used a larger pan, but I found that the crust then overwhelmed the toppings instead of being complementary.)
3/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup rice flour (or omit and do 1 cup chickpea flour total)
Spices (optional)- 1 tsp+ dried rosemary, oregano, basil, pepper, red pepper flakes, etc.
1 cup water (hot water makes it easier to combine with the flours, but isn't essential)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or other vinegar or lemon juice- acid for the baking soda to react with)
Coconut oil or butter and olive oil (for greasing the pan)
2 large onions (cut into quarter or half round slices)
Fresh asparagus- cut into bite sized pieces (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 - 2 cups white beans (click here for how to make the best tasting white beans)
1 small can tomato paste
Fresh lemon juice
10-15 fresh basil leaves
Oven to 400F (200C). Preheat baking sheet or pizza pan.
Mix the chickpea and rice flours into the water a little at a time until thoroughly blended and lump-free.
Add the salt, olive oil, egg, and spices of your choice. Let set 10 minutes or so to thicken a bit. Add the baking soda and acid last.
Double-grease the hot pan with a generous layer of coconut oil or butter first, followed by a light drizzle of olive oil.
Pour the batter into the pan.
Bake 15-20 minutes until the edges have pulled away from the sides, the pizza is quite firm to the touch and the top is golden brown and starting to crack.
Meanwhile, prepare the toppings:
Wash the asparagus. Snap off the hard stems and discard them. Cut the tender green tops into bite-size pieces.
Sautee the onions in olive oil with 1 teaspoon salt and some black pepper. When the onoins are glossy but not yet starting to brown, add the asparagus. If it starts to get dry at any point, add a little more olive oil.
Continue to cook until asparagus is tender and the onions are starting to brown around the edges. Turn off the heat. Add the juice of about half a lemon. Salt and pepper to taste.
Puree the white beans, covered just barely with their own juice (or water), with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I use a hand-stick blender for easy clean up.
If all of your ingredients are warm, then there’s no need to put the assembled pizza back in the oven. If the beans are cold, you can add the toppings to the pizza and put it back in the oven for 10-15 minutes until hot.
Add the toppings to the pizza crust like so:
Spread the tomato paste evenly over the crust
Add the puree beans and spread them into an even layer
Next goes the onion asparagus mixture
Top with thinly sliced basil
Cut into wedges and serve. Also good leftover, even cold straight out of the refrigerator.
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