Gluten-free mini pizzas with eggplant and cashew cheese

by Katie on September 20, 2011

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I’ve been trying to be better about using up all the produce in my fridge before it goes bad. Advance menu planning really helps with that. But sometimes I pick up a vegetable at the market that doesn’t fit into my plan. Usually, that vegetable is large and purple. I don’t know what it is about eggplant, but as I’ve written before, I just can’t resist them.

After sitting in my fridge for about a week, upstaged by cabbage, broccoli, and carrots, my lonely eggplant found its purpose on mini-pizzas. I was a bit nervous to cut it open after having neglected it for so long, but it was still good – phew!

My preferred method for preparing a “pizza” at home is to make a pancake-type crust using chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour. This is also known as “socca.” Basically it entails mixing up some chickpea flour with some water and a little salt and herbs into a pancake-batter-like consistency, and then preparing them – you guessed it – like pancakes. Then I throw on some toppings and put the pizzas under the broiler for about 8 minutes or until browned. Voila!

I just find it easier not to have to deal with dough. Also, I’ve been experimenting with cutting gluten from my diet, so this crust is a great alternative, as long as you don’t mind eating your pizza with a knife and fork.

And what would pizza be without cheese? There are plenty of vegan cheeses out there (Daiya is a good brand), though I tend to favor whipping up a quick batch of cashew cheese.

I’ve always loved pizza, and it’s funny to think of how my perception of an appetizing pizza has shifted since I’ve started to eat healthier more consistently and embarked on a plant-based diet. What I love about this pizza is that there is absolutely no guilt involved!

Have you any experience experimenting with non-traditional pizza crusts or “cheeses”? I’d love to hear!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jess January 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Hi Katie, love this recipe, I am making it for lunch today, by the way I saw an blog that makes the crust in the oven and then puts the topping on and bakes it again- http://yourvegangirlfriend.com/2011/10/02/socca-pizza/
It came out super good and crisp. Yum! I love the simplicty. Thank you.

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Katie January 13, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Hi Jess – I have heard of baking it in the oven – perhaps I will try it some time. Thanks for your feedback! I love these pizzas too and enjoy experimenting with the toppings.

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Jessica January 16, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Hi Katie,
I loved the cashew cheese! btw I was thinking about taking the e-cornell course on plant based nutrition and saw that you had taken it, thoughts? Do you think it is beneficial, for a possible side career as cook or possible nutritionist?

Thanks!
-Jessica

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Katie January 17, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Hi Jessica – I really enjoyed the e-cornell course and would definitely recommend it. It gives a ton of great info on the health benefits of a plant-based diet (including the science behind it). It also delves into other nutrition-related topics like why it’s so easy to get addicted to sugary processed foods. I’m glad I took the course. If you liked the China Study, you will probably like the course.

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