Friday, November 8, 2013

Polenta Pizza

Happy Friday! Today I decided that I'd share my go to gluten free pizza recipe with you, rather than a baked good. Growing up in my house (and in most of my hometown) Friday night was always pizza night! We've found an amazing gluten free pizza option at Stone Hearth, but ordering out every Friday gets expensive pretty quickly. Thus, I've developed an easy gluten free option. We've made standard pizza crusts using gluten free flour, but unless you buy the perfect flour, these can get really frustrating to roll out. So instead, I developed a recipe that omitted the rolling step because after a stressful, busy week, the last thing I want on a Friday night is to be frustrated by a pizza crust.

As an added bonus, I'll be profiling polenta as a Great Grain! Polenta is a corn-based gluten free grain. Polenta, cornmeal, grits... these are all the same grain, just ground slightly differently and marketed under a different name! I've found that "polenta" is the most expensive, followed by "grits," with "cornmeal" being the cheapest option. So this is what I've started using almost exclusively. Cornmeal can be found at most grocery stores, whereas polenta can be a bit trickier to find. For every 100 calories, this grain contains 2g of protein and 2g of fiber, providing the lowest amounts of these nutrients of any grain that's been profiled thus far. It offers modest amounts of iron, thiamin, and niacin. Cornmeal is lacking in the essential amino acid lysine. (Which is curious, because corn is supposedly rich in lysine. I'll have to look into this further.) To combat this inadequacy, I add nutritional yeast, which is a complete protein, to my polenta. Additionally, if you make your polenta pizza with real cheese, most cheese is rich in lysine so you'll be getting your essential amino acids anyways!

Polenta Pizza

For the Polenta 

3/4c cornmeal, polenta or grits
2 or 3T nutritional yeast
1t garlic
1T dried basil
2c water 

(These are suggestions, you can put whatever you'd like on your pizza!)

3 large tomatoes, sliced
2 sprigs of basil, leaves only
1 ball of fresh mozarella (or if you do not eat dairy, Daiya is the tastiest vegan cheese & is found at Whole Foods)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2.  Combine all polenta ingredients in a saucepan on the stove. Heat over high, stirring constantly. Once the mixture starts to stick together, turn off the heat. 
3. Spread the polenta mixture evenly in the bottom of a greased 9" pie pan.
4. Add your toppings, the above is a suggestion for a margherita pizza, but you can go crazy!
5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
6. Let cool for 30 minutes to let the polenta crust set. (I am usually impatient so I cut it right away and it comes out more like a lasagne... if you want a slice that you can lift, you have to wait!)

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