Protein Packed Pizzas – GF, Dairy Free, Vegan

I finally ate a gluten free pizza that actually tasted like pizza! OMG!!!!!!!!

Inspired by this recipe for quinoa pizza crusts and by this recipe for cheesy cauliflower cream, I set out this morning to experiment. I just bought a new non-stick baking tray and it was, I don’t know, useless. I greased it just to be safe but the batter kept getting stuck to the pan and we had to scrape it off. Eventually, I ended up cooking it on the stove in a frying pan with a lid on top. Long ago, when I was making pancakes for the first time in my non-stick pan, I had greased it lightly and the pancake batter got stuck to it. The second time, I skipped greasing the pan and my pancakes turned out beautifully. Maybe I should try just placing the batter on the baking tray without greasing it first? Will experiment next time!

The pizza crust was a bit on the soft side but it was quite pleasant. It’s rather floppy so you would have to eat it with a knife and fork. I’m not complaining about that though. I usually avoid eating with my bare hands anyway! While it was cooking, I was just amazed at how “pizza-like” it smelled! This is so fantastic. It’s like junk food that’s not really junk! It’s clean and it’s fresh and it’s healthy! Extra protein too!

Protein Packed Pizzas - GF, Dairy Free, Vegan

Protein Packed Pizzas – GF, Dairy Free, Vegan

 

The following recipe makes 2 small sized pizzas.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • A quarter of a cauliflower for preparing something I like to call Caulicheese
  • Salt
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 flax egg. See directions below
  • Your herbs: Oregano, basil, parsley, etc. according to preference
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Pizza sauce. See directions below
  • Olives
  • Onions/green onions
  • Capsicum
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • Rice flour (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  • Make the Caulicheese: Cut up the cauliflower into smaller florets and place in a pot. Add water, salt and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then simmer for around 15-20 minutes until cauliflower is soft and tender. When the cauliflower is done, drain the water and put it in a blender, or in a bowl if using a hand mixer. The cauliflower should turn into a creamy puree. Add a pinch of salt to this. If you can still smell that cauliflowery smell, add some more lemon juice. Add 1 tbsp coriander powder for flavour. Add any other flavours you like – onion powder, garlic powder, etc.
  • Make the pizza sauce: To make your own pizza/pasta sauce, heat up some oil in a saucepan and add onions, herbs, coriander leaves, and coriander powder and saute until fragrant. Then add a little tomato paste and cook for a minute or so until the flavours have all combined.
  • Make the flax egg: While the cauliflower is being cooked, prepare flax egg by mixing 3 tbsp of water with 1 tbsp of ground flax seeds. Set aside for 15 minutes at least to gel.
  • Make the batter: To the quinoa, add a pinch of salt and your herbs – I used only oregano. Blend using a hand mixer or blender until the quinoa forms a doughy like texture. It’s rather sticky. I added 1-2 tbsp of rice flour. If you skip the rice flour, the crust will be very difficult to flip. You will need two pans then and will have to slide it off one pan and into the other. Adding rice flour holds it together.
    Once your batter is ready, add the flax egg and mix in using the blender or a spoon.
  • Scoop an amount of the batter and with wet/oily fingers, flatten the batter in a non-stick frying pan.
  • On medium heat and with a lid on, let the pizza crust cook for about 7-8 minutes. Check for doneness. If you feel like you want it crispier, cook it for a little longer. When it’s done, flip it over using a spatula and add your toppings.
  • First top your pizza crust with tomato sauce. Then add the caulicheese on top. Sprinkle any herbs or flavours you might want. Top with tomatoes, onions/green onions, capsicum, olives, etc.
  • Put the lid on again and cook for another 8 minutes. Check for doneness. Again, cook for a little longer if you want it to be crispier.
  • Sink your teeth in and enjoy! 😀
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Protein Packed Pancakes – GF, Dairy Free, Low FODMAP, Vegan

These pancakes are AMAZING!

Usually, in the middle of the night, I get hungry and start brainstorming for new recipe ideas. I google for recipes late into the night and try to mix some up to create one suitable for me. This recipe was inspired by these recipes here and here, which resulted in the BEST gluten free pancakes I have ever tried! I have tried making pancakes with:

  • Soaked quinoa seeds and banana. It wasn’t that great. Turned out to be rather dry.
  • Sorghum + white rice flour. It was gummy and musty. Probably because I didn’t add any starch but this was my most preferred combination of flours for pancakes.
  • Amaranth + white rice flour. It was gummy and musty. Again, probably because I didn’t add any starch.
  • White rice flour + almond flour. Very nice and toasty but burned rather quickly, and ever since I found out heating up almonds isn’t really all that great for health, I’ve quit baking with almond flour.

GF, Dairy Free, Vegan, Low FODMAP Protein Packed Pancakes with Raspberry Jam

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1 flax egg. See directions below
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp oil (I use olive oil)
  • Water or (dairy free) milk. See directions below

DIRECTIONS

  • Make your flax egg so it can set while you’re preparing the pancakes. 1 tbsp of ground flax seeds and 2-3 tbsp of water. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to gel. I usually keep mine in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
  • Put the quinoa, white rice flour, baking soda, salt and sugar in a bowl and give it a stir.
  • Add the lemon juice and oil and pour in a little milk/water, maybe a 1/4 cup to begin with. I have stopped going by recipe directions for liquids. Somehow I end up adding too much and my batter ends up very liquidy. It’s almost as if I have no control over the glass that I use for adding liquids. Weird. Anyway, a great tip I read once was to add only half the suggested amount of liquid and keep adding little by little until you reach the desired consistency. So add a quarter cup, and using a hand mixer, blend everything together. You can also do this using a regular blender. If it’s still too dry, add some more liquid.
  • Once you reach the consistency of pancake batter (I usually add enough liquid until it is like cake batter – pourable but still thick), add your flax egg. Either blend it with the blender/hand mixer or mix it in with a spoon.
  • With the flame on, using a non-stick skillet or a greased skillet, do the water droplets test to make sure the pan is hot enough. Sprinkle some drops of water on to the pan and if they dance around before evaporating, your pan is hot enough.
  • Pour batter according to how big or small you want your pancakes. Mine always turn out to be miniscule. I don’t know why.
  • It is time to flip the pancake when you see bubbles forming on the surface of the batter and popping, leaving behind pock marks or holes. The sides will also look slightly dried out. If you’re not sure, take a little peek before completely flipping it over.
  • Flip the pancake and cook the other side. Again, if you’re unsure whether the other side is done, take a peek. It usually takes about 2-3 minutes though, but don’t take my word for it. Sometimes they cook faster, sometimes they take longer.
  • Serve with either jam, maple syrup, chocolate syrup, honey, fruit… the possibilities are endless!

Also, the good thing about using quinoa for this is that it turns out nice and toasty! The pancakes can be cooked for a little longer and then the outside becomes a little crispy! While I was cooking them, I was getting a whiff of something buttery and nutty – it kind of smelled like I was toasting buttered bread! These were the best pancakes I’ve had so far. I had my brother test them, just like I’ve made him test all my disastrous cooking experiments before. He said these pancakes were better than the other flour combinations. Hurray! Bonus: PROTEIN PACKED PANCAKES! OH YEAH!

Quinoa

Quin-wha?

Quinoa

Quinoa

Glorious, wonderful quinoa! I had never heard of it. I never would have either, if gluten hadn’t decided to forsake me. I’m so glad I now know what quinoa is. And it is amazing.

Quinoa is a seed that behaves like a grain. It was the food of the Incan warriors, known for replenishing strength and building stamina. 1 cup of cooked quinoa has about 8g of protein, 3g of fat, and 5g of fibre. Wonderfood? I think so!

Also, since it swells up when it’s cooked, 1/4 cup of uncooked quinoa is equal to about a 1 whole cup when cooked!

I was at first terrified of having quinoa. Because I have lots of food sensitivities, I was worried it would make me ill. Quite a few people reported feeling sick after quinoa. I finally mustered up the courage to try it out. I felt fine. Hooray!

Then I tried eating soaked and uncooked quinoa by baking/frying it into tortillas and pancakes. I also kind of overdosed on it and had about 1-1.5 cups of soaked quinoa in less than 24 hours. Tummy no happy!

(To make things easier for reference, cooked quinoa is quinoa that has been rinsed, soaked and cooked. Soaked quinoa is uncooked yet, just soaked.)

So my advice to those of you who want to try quinoa is:

  • RINSE IT! There is no way I would ever eat it without rinsing and soaking it first. Quinoa is coated in saponins that appear soapy when rinsed. It can cause stomach aches. Most packaged quinoa comes pre-rinsed but you should always rinse it again to be on the safe side. Rinse it well for a couple of minutes in a mesh sieve and scrub with your fingers, moving the seeds around.
  • Soak it. I’m a little paranoid that I’ll get sick so I always like to take extra precautions. Some websites suggest soaking it for a few hours, but I soak it overnight in a bowl full of water and 1 tbsp lemon juice in it.
  • Then drain the water and rinse it thoroughly again till the water runs clear.
  • There are many ways to cook quinoa. I usually just cook it like rice. Put it in a pot of water, bring it to boil, cover the pot, and simmer until the water dries up. There are other ways of preparing quinoa but I haven’t tried them.
  • I would suggest not overdosing on it like I did. In my defense, I couldn’t help it – it’s so good! Like I mentioned above, a cup of quinoa contains about 5g of fiber. Also, I don’t know if this is crazy, but when I was cooking with only soaked quinoa (I added water and blended it to make a batter to cook with), the batter kind of reminded me of tahini which is made with sesame seeds. Too much of that upsets my tummy as well. I couldn’t help but wonder if too much soaked quinoa leads to an upset tummy. I remember I made tortillas out of them. After the second tortilla, I started feeling stomach cramps. I made quinoa pancakes the next morning and felt the cramps again. I felt ill for a few days after that, similar to how I react when I have too much tahini. Has that happened to any of you? Cooked quinoa suits just fine though. Maybe I just had too much. So yeah, I’d suggest start off with small servings and see how much your body can handle.

Mmm, delicious quinoa. Can’t wait to prepare it again in all it’s gluten free glory! It is also so versatile. You can have it like porridge, in pancakes, with potatoes, add it to your burger patties, BAKE CAKES with it, in smoothies, as a substitute for rice or pasta, as a dosa, as a tortilla… Sacre bleu, Quinoa, I think I love you.

P.S. Saw this AMAZING offer on Amazon for quinoa! Great if you’re like me and prefer to shop in bulk, especially quinoa which tends to be expensive. 12 packs for $38.05. That’s only $3.17 per pack! WOW! Click on the image below to purchase.

Click on image: 12 packs for $38.05 on Amazon