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.
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
IngredientsFor 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
- 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
- 100g thick Greek yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons grated cucumber, with liquid squeezed out
- 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped
- 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.
- Grill or fry zucchini on both sides until golden. Set aside.
- Grill or fry tofu on both sides until lightly browned. Set aside.
- 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.
- Blind bake the pizza base for ten minutes, or until lightly golden, then remove from oven.
- While pizza base is blind baking, prepare tzatziki. Mix yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and dill together in a small bowl and set aside.
- 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).
- Place pizza back in the oven for around 10 minutes.
- 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.