Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Low-carb Soy Flour Vegetarian Pizza
with Greek Inspired Toppings
Meat Free Week – Day Two


It's day two of Meat Free Week and Tony has been particularly excited about tonight's meal. Since going on his virtually carb-free diet he's been missing his pizzas badly. He became quite a master at creating the perfect thin, crispy wheat flour pizza base, but when he began his new regime of cutting out almost all carbs from his diet at the start of this year, pizza was to be had no more.

Until now.

The discovery of a low-carb flour when doing his research for foods to prepare for Meat Free Week elated Tony to quite a height. "This means I can make pizza!" he came into lounge room squealing like a little kid.

Soy flour contains almost one third of the amount of carbohydrates that wheat flour contains. In addition to this it has almost three times the amount of protein and is gluten free, so you can imagine Tony's delight that this is a flour that would fit right into his low-carb diet.

After reading about many failed soy flour pizza-base attempts on the internet I got a bit worried about how well this flour might fulfill Tony's dream of eating pizza again. It seemed that most people were disappointed with the cardboardy texture and strong soy flavour of the results. Contributing to their disappointment was possibly the expectation that their pizza base would come out bready and fluffy.

But after presenting my strong-willed and enthusiastically experimental better half with the evidence, he immediately pieced together in his head a recipe that he was confident would work for the dough. He has, after all, spent the last ten years trying all sorts of combinations of ingredients to produce the kind of pizza base that he loves – crispy and thin, like a big cracker – and this soy flour just might do the trick.

A bit of sharp cheese, some eggs, some olive oil, a sprinkling of oregano and a handful of ground sunflower seeds, almonds and pepitas would form the accompaniment the soy flour needed to produce the dough Tony was after.


Tony's dough rolling technique

Tony has a very special technique for rolling the dough out to be super thin and to transfer it to the baking tray. He first lays out a sheet of aluminium foil on the bench top, sprays it with oil, then with his hands, roughly flattens the ball of dough onto the foil. Using a marble rolling pin, he then rolls out the dough to the desired thinness, then covers the dough with a sheet of cling film. He then places a solid chopping board over the top of the cling film and flips the entire pizza base upside down onto the chopping board, foil facing upwards. He then places a baking tray over the foil, flips the whole thing again and peels off the cling wrap, leaving the foil side down on the baking tray.

The pizza base is then blind baked and when done, the toppings are added and the pizza goes back in the oven. The foil is removed before cutting and serving.

Our Greek inspired toppings included olives, feta, grilled red peppers and zucchinis, marinated artichokes, tofu, spinach and a lovely dill tzatziki. We were both really impressed with the way this turned out. Perhaps it was just the winning combination of toppings (you really can't go wrong with these types of Greek flavours) and our preference for a crispy pizza base that made this so appealing to us, but it was great to find another meal that we could enjoy together!


Soy Flour Vegetarian Pizza with Greek inspired toppings


Serves 2

Ingredients

For the pizza base
  • 1 cup organic soy flour
  • 1/4 cup mixed sunflower seeds, slivered almonds and pepitas, ground in a mortar and pestle
  • 1/4 cup grated sharp cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the toppings
  • 1 red capsicum/pepper, sliced length ways into 3cm wide strips
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced length ways into 1cm thick strips
  • 200g tofu, sliced into 1cm thick strips
  • 5 marinated artichokes, roughly sliced
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 50g mixed, pitted olives
  • Handful of baby spinach leaves
For the dill tzatziki
  • 100g thick Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons grated cucumber, with liquid squeezed out
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees celsius. Grill the capsicum strips, skin side up, for 5 to 10 minutes, until starting to blacken. Remove from grill and place in plastic bag for 10 minutes to sweat. When cool enough to touch, take capsicum strips out of plastic bag and remove peel. Set aside.
  2. Grill or fry zucchini on both sides until golden. Set aside.
  3. Grill or fry tofu on both sides until lightly browned. Set aside.
  4. To make the dough, combine dry ingredients first, then add beaten eggs and olive oil. Using hands, mix to form a ball of dough and use Tony's dough rolling technique above to prepare the pizza base for blind baking.
  5. Blind bake the pizza base for ten minutes, or until lightly golden, then remove from oven.
  6. While pizza base is blind baking, prepare tzatziki. Mix yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and dill together in a small bowl and set aside.
  7. Arrange toppings on pizza base in any order you like. We started with the ugliest ingredients first, finishing with the prettiest (i.e. tofu, artichoke, zucchini, capsicum, feta and olives).
  8. Place pizza back in the oven for around 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and top with fresh spinach leaves and dollops of tzatziki.

The base will be hard and crunchy like a cracker, but the tzatziki works really well with the crunch, providing a lovely cool and creamy contrast.

13 comments:

  1. Yay, Pizza at last!
    Tony

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    Replies
    1. Hello,

      Do you happen to know what the nutritions of the pizza base are ?

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    2. Hi Jacek. The soy flour we used (1 cup/100g) contains 34.5g protein, 20.7g fat, 22.4g carbohydrate, 12.7g dietary fibre, and 13mg sodium. You can find out the nutritional values of the other ingredients that make up the pizza base by using a nutrient data site like http://nutritiondata.self.com/ Just enter the ingredient in the search field at the top of the home page and the results are instantly generated.

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  2. WOW! i love how impossibly thin that pizza is! it looks so fabulous and delicious, and i love how the two of you worked together so diligently to create this recipe! bravo!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Caitlin! It tasted great and was a lot of fun to make! We're really looking forward to playing more with soy flour - Tony wants to see how it might work as a pie crust.

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  3. That looks amazing Lisa! Love the choice of toppings too. I am also trying to reduce the amount of carbs in my diet and I haven't made pizza in so long for that reason. I have never worked with soy flour before so it's great to see a recipe that works with it. I'm definitely keen to give this pizza dough a go some time soon :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Deb! Soy flour works really well for a thin, crispy crust and I really think the addition of sunflower seeds, almonds and pepitas played a big role in improving the texture and flavour as well... As an afterthought, I wonder how nutritional yeast might work with this? Just for flavour. Perhaps instead of the cheese in the dough?

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  4. Wow! I had no idea there were so many carb restrictions in a diabetic diet! So glad to see you found a substitute that works - I see a lot of pizzas in your future :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well Tony is on a fairly obscure diet that's not very widely recognised in diabetic spheres, but he swears by it and says he feels better than he has since he was first diagnosed 15 years ago. I'm not sure I can say the same though!! I'm really missing my carbs this week!!!!

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  5. So much fetta! your pizza looks superb. I've never used soy flour but it sounds like a very suitable alternaitve for those trying to cut down on carbs. I love your pictures!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Jenny! I love feta - and I love how in Greece they serve a Greek salad with a whole slab of cheese on top. Oh it's good stuff isn't it?

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  6. Just wow! We've gone keto this past month and being huge homemade pizza fans, I've been trying every pizza crust recipe I could find. THIS one is the definite keeper!! Thanks so much, made it yesterday and it was the most pleasant surprise, so filling, thin and tasty! And finally, some crunchinesssss!! Thanks so much for this genius recipe :)

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