Imagining a warm summer night on the patio with friends but not feeling the grill-master vibes? We’ve got you. This lightened-up-for-summer gluten-free pizza recipe delivers all the comfort you love about pizza with some impressive nutrient benefits to boot. Read on for why this Shrimp Pesto Pizza is dinner tonight!
Gut-Healthy & Gluten-Free: Ingredient Stand-Outs
We love pizza crust. It is literally all the carb-y love that conveniently holds all those satisfying toppings in our little hand-held triangle of joy. Ok, we may have gotten carried away there. The point is, pizza crust is not to be overlooked. And while traditional is awesome, this recipe boasts a homemade, EASY (don’t be scared, even you can do it!) crust featuring cassava flour. Haven’t heard of it or not sure what the difference is? We’ve got you.
Following a gluten-free or grain-free diet? Get acquainted with cassava flour. It comes from the root of the cassava plant and is most similar in texture to wheat flour of all alternative flours, with a fine, powdery finish.
Cassava flour is also high in resistant starch, which acts similarly to fiber in the digestive tract, bulking stool and helping prevent constipation. In addition, the fermentation of the starches in cassava flour feed healthy bacteria and produces butyrate. Butyrate is a gut-health hero, being the main fuel source for colon cells that in turn maintain the perfect environment for your gut microbes. But wait…there’s more! Butyrate also helps prevent colon cancer by promoting apoptosis (cell suicide) of cancer cells in the colon. All that in a pizza crust?! Bring on the cassava flour.
We’ve fawned over our new friend cassava flour and it’s pizza crust assets, but what about the cheese? It’s the salty, indulgent yin to our pizza crust yang. While this recipe skips the cheese, (awesome for those dairy- and lactose-free pizza lovers!) it does have a savory alternative ingredient in the pesto: nutritional yeast. You may have heard of it, as it has been popular in vegetarian and vegan cooking for decades now, but what’s the hype?
Nutritional yeast is made from the strain saccharomyces cerevisiae, but not to be confused with traditional, bread-baking yeast. This yeast has no active yeast cells (they’re killed during manufacturing). It has a salty, cheesy flavor making it a diverse and flavorful alternative to dairy cheese.
Besides being a fab cheese alternative, it is literally called nutritional yeast, containing several dietary benefits. It contains all nine essential amino acids required by the human diet, making it a complete protein. Nutritional yeast, also known as “nooch” also boasts B vitamins, especially in fortified varieties. These B vitamins contribute to a healthy nervous system, energy metabolism, and production of red blood cells. Notably, B12 is found naturally only in animal products, so for those choosing to be plant-based or reduce animal protein meals, it helps bridge the gap.
Once you’ve made your crust and vibrant, aromatic pesto, top this pizza with the protein of your choice. We suggest shrimp, or if you’re meat-free, crumbled tofu. Then uncork the pinot, call your friends, and prepare to be the hostess with the mostess (or settle in on the couch!) Buon Apitito!
Gluten-Free Shrimp Pesto Pizza
1 cup cassava flour
1/8 cup of avocado oil
2/3 cup water
1.5 cups greens (arugula + spinach), or other greens of choice
1 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup oil (I used garlic infused olive oil)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
- Combine crust ingredients in a medium bowl
- Stir until the dough forms into a ball
- By hand, form into the shape of a crust
- Cook for 20-30mins in a glass pie pan, pizza stone, or cookie sheet
- While the crust is cooking, prepare pesto.
- In a food processor, combine all ingredients and blend for a total of ~2 minutes. Scrape down the sides as needed.
- When the crust is finished, spread pesto evenly on top of the crust and top with desired protein: shrimp, grilled chicken, crumbled tofu!