Surely y'all knew this was coming, right? Given my crush on quinoa and my constant pursuit to make the guiltiest of culinary pleasures a little healthier... I mean, I kinda had to.
This was my first attempt, and while there are a couple things I plan to do differently next time, this did not disappoint at all. (Both of my daughters asked if I would start making this every week, and I'm pretty sure that's teen/tween speak for "We love it!" ;-) )
One quick note: This is very easy to make, but you do have to plan ahead a bit since the quinoa needs to soak for at least 8 hours. Aside from that step, this comes together very quickly.
1-1/2 cups uncooked quinoa (I used red just because I always have it on hand, but if you want a more "normal-looking" crust, use white.)
1/2 cup water (plus enough to soak quinoa)
4 cloves garlic, finely minced (actually I just squeeze mine through a garlic press--super quick!)
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
toppings of your choice
1. Place quinoa in bowl and add enough water to make sure all grains are fully submerged. Cover with plastic wrap and let soak for at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
3. Drain and rinse quinoa (important to rinse well to remove any bitterness. Don't skip this step. It's not difficult. Cool water is all you need. Not necessary to scrub or anything like that. Just run it under the water for a minute or two.)
4. Add rinsed quinoa, 1/2 cup water, garlic, Italian seasoning, baking powder and salt to food processor. Process until mostly smooth and batter-like. (It took about 3 minutes in my processor.) It's ok if there are a few grains in there that don't quite break down, but scrape the sides of the bowl after every minute or so to get it as smooth as possible.
5. Lightly coat the bottom of a large cast iron pan or two smaller pans or even two 8 or 9 inch cake pans with olive oil. Line with parchment paper and then brush on another light layer of olive oil. (I used my new 15-inch cast iron pan. It was very exciting! ;-)
6. Add quinoa batter and smooth evenly. (Note: this cooks pretty much exactly as it looks in the pan. It won't rise or shrink much at all, so keep that in mind when determining how thick you like your crust. You can make it whatever thickness you like.) Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.
7. Remove parchment paper and flip crust back into pan. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes (depending on thickness) until edges begin to get crisp.
8. Add whatever toppings you like and bake an additional 5-7 minutes just until cheese is melted and everything is nice and hot. Enjoy!
Notes for next time in case you want to try these ideas on your first time :-): 2 things-- I used the entire recipe as listed above in my 15-inch pan. Next time I plan to divide it between both of the pans pictured above, so one 15-inch and one 10-inch. I like my crust a bit thinner and crispier, so I'm curious to see how crisp it will get if I spread it between the two. Also, I plan to add some grated Parmesan just to see if that will take it up a notch. Maybe about 1/2 cup just to see what happens to the texture and flavor. Seems worth a try!