Pizza is a touchy subject for some people. I don’t even want to touch that whole New York vs. Chicago thing. We have enough to worry about taking out all the grains and dairy.
In the paleosphere, we’ve come up with all sorts of ways around that whole dough and cheese issue. My kids absolutely love pizza. And who am I kidding, their dad and I love it too. So pizza is on our menu at least once every other week.
Through the years, we’ve tried all sorts of varieties of crust, sometimes using cheese and sometimes not.
Cauliflower Crust Pizza does contain cheese, but is a great way to sneak in some extra veggies and no one will be the wiser.
Sweet Potato Meatza (Primal, Paleo or AIP) comes out more like a casserole than a traditional pizza, but it’s super hearty and feeds a huge crowd. Keep it totally paleo by leaving off the cheese.
Pizza Popover is a pizza casserole concoction of magical proportions that my Grandma used to make and my brother and I. We absolutely begged for it. I figured out how to make it primal (with the cheese) or paleo (if you leave out the cheese). The real flavor here comes in the meat sauce so really, the cheese is just garnish and can very easily be left off.
Despite all these delicious alternatives, my kids most often want “real pizza.” Meaning, they want a crust that holds up to toppings and being picked up and eaten with fingers. I’m a weirdo and prefer to eat my pizza with a knife and fork, a habit my husband finds utterly ridiculous, but what can I say, I like to keep my hands clean. So being able to pick up the pizza isn’t a big deal for me. But I recognize that it is an issue for many folks. I aim to please.
Because of my demanding family, I’ve been working on “real” pizza crust for a couple years. I had worked out a gluten free version using my gluten free flour blend about a year ago. I guess I’m just selfish because I haven’t posted that one yet. I will, it’s coming, I promise.
My most recent pizza creation, and the best so far, in my opinion anyway, is this paleo version. It’s a really flavorful crust that holds it’s own against tons of veggie toppings, the real test!
You can put cheese on top if you want (my family almost always does – I’m about 50/50 on the cheese) or leave it off. It’s really so good without. I think I would have a harder time giving up cheese if not for the fact that I did it years ago, way before paleo, because my babies were both allergic to milk. I got used to eating pizza without cheese and I soon realized that the real flavor comes from the toppings, not the cheese. It’s just a fun extra for those days you really want to indulge. It’s not necessary. Trust me. You can have great pizza without cheese.
In addition to being delicious, this crust is super fast to put together. It doesn’t contain yeast so doesn’t require any pesky planning ahead. I am a firm believer in the toppings make the pizza. So the level of involvement with this recipe is entirely in the level of involvement of your toppings.
We usually have a meat component: pepperoni and sausage fried until crisp and to render out some of the fat. Then there’s a veggie component: caramelized onions, squash, mushrooms, bell peppers, kale or spinach and sometimes tomatoes. Because it takes some effort to prepare all the toppings, I appreciate an easy crust.
My game plan is usually thus:
- start caramelizing the onions
- get the meat cooking
- get the sauce started
- make the crust and par-bake (see instructions below)
- cook the rest of the veggies
- assemble pizza
- final bake
As for the sauce, you have tons of choices. Sometimes when I’m out of everything else, I’ll just spread on a little tomato paste. It’s full of flavor and super easy.
If I have time and the ingredients in my pantry, I make the world’s best pizza sauce as given to us by Jen Hatmaker in her book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. If you haven’t read this book, you should. It’s hilarious and poignant. And helpful. Once I made her pizza sauce recipe I’ve never made another. It’s my absolute favorite. Because I don’t have her permission to reprint it, I’ll direct you to the book if you want specifics. In general, here’s what you do:
- open one large can of crushed tomatoes (I like Muir Glen organic crushed tomatoes with basil) and set aside
- Put a heavy sauce pot on the stove, add about 1/4 cup olive oil, heat over medium low
- peel, crush, chop, whatever you prefer, 4-5 cloves of garlic and add to the oil
- let this go for a couple minutes, but watch it doesn’t burn
- toss in a few red pepper flakes, add more if you like it spicy
- add the crushed tomatoes, a sprinkle of salt and a tad bit of honey or maple syrup
- stir this around and simmer until you’re about ready to use it
- now chop finely a big handful of fresh basil and stir that in
Now your sauce is ready for your crust.
You can, of course, use a pizza sauce from a jar, but this one is way better. Way better. It’s really easy to put together.
If you’d like to see just how quick and simple it is to make this crust, I’ve put together a little video for you over on my YouTube Channel. If you haven’t subscribed yet, I’d encourage you to do so. Just click on the video below then follow the instructions on YouTube for subscribing.
However you choose to make it, make some pizza for your family. If you’ve been feeding them paleo for a while or if you’ve only been indulging in restaurant gluten free pizza, you’re in for a real treat. It’s fun to get in the kitchen as a family and let everyone make their own mini pizza with whatever toppings they like. Pizza is fun food so make it fun. Just make it!