Pizza is one of those universal truths, like death, taxes, and needing to pee as soon as the previews are over. I didn’t have much pizza growing up because my dad “didn’t like it.”
It wasn’t until college that I discovered American youth considered pizza to be an unalienable right. Not only that but it is seen as a perfectly acceptable edible for all three meals and any possible snacks in between (hence the rise of the pizza bagel).
In the outcropping of the foodie movement that has swept the world in the past decade, pizza has experienced a Renaissance. No longer dependent on the strictly Sicilian, Neapolitan, New York or Chicago manner of creation, the definition of pizza (like gender) is more fluid than ever.
For one, it doesn’t have to use flour. It doesn’t have to boast mozzarella. It doesn’t even have to get delivered by a stoned college kid. Here are seven innovative ways to reinvent your crust.
1. Cauliflower Pizza
You can try to wipe the gluten out of your eyes all you want, but yeah, you can make pizza crust made out of cauliflowers. Brussels sprouts reigned supreme on menus across America for the past several years, but now it’s cauliflower’s turn, and not just because you can make a pizza crust out of it.
Throw cauliflower florets into a food processor and steam in water until tender. Remove all water via a towel (a soggy cauliflower base will make for a soggy crust, and as we all know, a crispy crust is one of the insuppressible tenets of pizza) then arrange the cauliflower “rice” into a pizza pie shape before baking. Voila! Paleo pizza!
Your trainer that you took one session with at the gym because it was complimentary and then never called again would be so, so proud of you.
2. Bacon Pizza
For those of you who have no family history of heart disease and the metabolism of a sparrow, this dish is a surefire winner! Braid interlocking pieces of bacon into a rich, literal fat tapestry.
Once you have this square crust base, build your pizza from there: ooze some mozzarella and goat cheese on top and add some basil. Don’t worry about it soaking through the bacon: bacon baskets can hold all manner of toppings. Maybe even consider adding some vegetables. Maybe.
3. Almond Flour Pizza
This dish goes out to all the celiacs out there, my gluten-free tummy babies! Almond flour pizza is an easy substitution, one that your guests, if drunk enough, won’t notice has no wheat.
Combine almond meal, seasonings, olive oil, and an egg to make a tasty thin-crust and celiac-friendly pizza. Bonus points for nut protein! Who’s awarding those points? I am, that’s who!
4. Polenta Pizza
Polenta is the most delicious and hearty way to replace wheat, in my humble yet wholly necessary opinion. Made from cornmeal, it’s a nice alternative to boring bread, pasta, or rice-based dishes. Polenta has a chewy, moist heartiness to it that is emblematic of something your mom would have made you if she cared.
You can use yellow or white cornmeal to make polenta, though yellow is preferred. Combine vegetable stock, polenta flour, olive oil, and seasoning to render a sturdy, crusty-yet-soft pizza base.
5. Plantain Pizza
Using plantain, tapioca starch, coconut flour, coconut oil, and a couple eggs, you can make a delicious tropical-inspired pizza that will trick your taste buds into thinking you happened upon a pizza joint in Bermuda.
Or you can use just two ingredients: plantains and salt. Boil plantains with skin on in water, peel and throw in a food processor, and form your dough! Orange you glad I didn’t say banana? (*Ducks from flying tomatoes.)
6. Portobello Mushroom Pizza
100% the easiest, laziest pizza of all these options is the Portobello Mushroom Pizza. Just buy some dang big portobellos, remove the stems, scrape off the inner gills (ew…) and fill with whatever topping you want on this pizza.
Marinara, pesto, or both – why not? Layer on the shredded cheese and throw in the oven. I foresee making these for dinner for the next seven nights straight and not even getting sick of it.
7. Cornmeal Pizza
Cornmeal crust pizza is quite delightfully crispy. You already know it works with polenta, so this should be a no-brainer. Combine yellow cornmeal with rice flour, millet flour, corn flour, and buckwheat flour, and throw in some spices, olive oil, and baking soda.
Get ready for a pizza that’s a sure-fire party pleaser as it’s not messy or gooey, but crispy and fine, perfect for a palate-pleasing crunch with a soft cheesy topping.