Alternative pizza crusts are trending — the most famous example is low-carb cauliflower crust made by mixing riced cauliflower with egg and cheese. You can also make pizza “crust” out of things like portobello mushroom caps or sweet potatoes by adding tomato sauce and cheese on top. But the alternative that’s gaining traction now is chickpea pizza crust: a high-fiber, high-protein, gluten-free crust.
WHY TRY CHICKPEA PIZZA CRUST?
Nearly 1% of the U.S. population has celiac disease, a serious autoimmune condition in which gluten damages the small intestine meaning a strict gluten-free diet is necessary. It’s estimated another 5–6% of the population suffers from gluten sensitivity and gluten causes uncomfortable symptoms, including fatigue and stomach pain. If you’re following a gluten-free diet to manage celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, chickpea crust is the perfect way to indulge your pizza craving.
For those who don’t follow a gluten-free diet, the chickpea pizza crust is a great way to sneak in extra protein and fiber. A 1/4-cup (32g) serving of all-purpose flour contains 110 calories, less than 1 gram of fiber and 4 grams of protein, compared to the same serving of chickpea flour, which contains 120 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams protein.
While it might not seem like a big deal, the extra fiber in chickpea pizza crust is great for your overall health. Getting adequate fiber — 25 grams per day for women and 31 grams per day for men, according to theDietary Guidelines for Americans — promotes regular bowel movements, digestive health, healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer.
CHICKPEA VERSUS CAULIFLOWER CRUST
While cauliflower crust can be a little floppy, the higher-starch content of chickpea flour helps hold the crust together better, especially under the weight of your favorite toppings. It also tends to be higher in fiber and protein. While cauliflower crust is rich in potassium and vitamins A and C, chickpea crust is high in B vitamins, iron and magnesium.
READ MORE > YOUR GUIDE TO COOKING AND EATING CHICKPEAS
HOW TO MAKE CHICKPEA-CRUST PIZZA
The ingredient list is relatively short:
- Chickpea flour
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Tomato sauce
- Your desired toppings
Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C) and heat a cast-iron pan for 10 minutes. To create the batter, mix 1 cup (128g) chickpea flour with 1 cup (120ml) water and a little salt and pepper. Brush the pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and pour the batter into the preheated pan. Bake in the oven until the crust is crispy and golden, about 15 minutes. Top the crust with tomato sauce, cheese (like mozzarella) and your favorite toppings. Put everything back in the oven until the cheese melts, about 10 minutes.
If you’re eager to try chickpea pizza crust, but don’t feel like making it from scratch, Banza recently released a frozen chickpea pizza crust, which can be found at Target, Whole Foods and several other grocery stores.
Discover hundreds of healthy recipes — from high protein to low carb — via “Recipe Discovery” in the MyFitnessPal app.