My husband was 8 years old when he was diagnosed with allergies to wheat, tomatoes, and milk/dairy. That was the last time he had pizza or Italian food. The man is allergic to EVERYTHING in a pizza.
Last summer, we were in New York City and visited a gluten-free Italian restaurant. We figured, the chef could probably accommodate and make a special pizza for Jason without the cheese or the tomato sauce. And he did. He made a pizza with just bread and slices of sausage on top. It was lame. How can you even call that a pizza?! But Jason was happy eating “pizza” for the first time since 8.
So finally, after four years of being married to a man with allergies to everything about Italian food, I’ve finally figured out my way around the gluten-free kitchen (and in Shanghai too!). I’ve acquired most of the ingredients necessary to make decent gluten-free meals and breads.
My latest discovery and obsession is making gluten-free, dairy-free, and tomato-free pizza! You’re probably wondering, how can you even call that a pizza? Well, believe it or not, it’s so good that even our neighbors liked it. Jason has been very happy eating his gluten-free, dairy-free, and tomato-free pizza. And I’d tell him, “Yes, you’re eating a pizza!”
Here’s the recipe for the pizza crust from The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Foods:
1 3/4 cups rice flour
1 1/4 cups tapioca starch
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup sugar*
1 tablespoon Egg Replacer*
3 tablespoons nondairy substitute*
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning/herb
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast
4 egg whites
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vinegar or dough enhancer
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 2 cookies sheets or pizza pans.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Place the wet ingredients in another bowl and mix together. Turn the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients. Beat on high for 3 1/2 minutes.
- Divide the dough in half onto the prepared sheets and spread in circles about 12” in diameter, making raised edges to contain the sauce.
- Let the dough rise for about 10 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes while preparing the toppings.
- Add the toppings to the pizza, then bake again for about 22-25 minutes.
A few notes about making the pizza crust:
- I didn’t use any of the ingredients marked with asterisk (*) because I can’t find them in China. The pizza tastes fine without.
- The dough consistency is quite gooey unlike normal wheat-based pizza dough that you can pick up, knead, twirl, or toss around. Spreading the dough on a pan is a messy job, but with experience, it’s manageable.
- I bought pizza pans from Metro and tried baking the crust in the pans a few times, but no matter how much I grease the pan, the pizza crust would stick to the pan. Now, I use Silpat instead and it’s awesome! I don’t need to grease the Silpat and the crust slides right off!
- I find that if I spread the pizza crust thin and bake (with the toppings) for just 5-10 minutes longer, the pizza turns out a lot like New York-style pizza—thin and crunchy!
Pizza Sauces and Toppings
I don’t have any recipes for pizza sauces, but it’s quite easy being creative and experimenting with different ingredients. There are plenty of options for pizza sauces that are not tomato-based. I’ve tried using Amy’s organic medium chili (got from Costco in the U.S.) as pizza sauce. I’ve made my own BBQ sauce using Worcestershire sauce, gluten-free soy sauce, and honey. I’ve even tried using curry sauce as pizza sauce. Basically, any sauce that is thick and flavorful will do as the base for the pizza toppings.
As for the actual toppings, here are a few suggestions: