Quinoa Pizza Crust with Butternut Squash, Chickpeas, and Tahini Sauce
Taylor loves a good slice of pizza. His ideal pizza is thin crust, kind of greasy with lots of cheese, and usually involves chicken. This particular creation has nothing in common with what my husband considers “a good slice of pie.”
One of the things that I love most about Taylor is that he is a simple and honest man. He loves what he loves, dislikes what he dislikes, and somehow he still has this amazing capacity to surprise me at any given time. My meat eating husband is my recipe tester for all of my Dishing up the Dirt recipes (which just so happen to be vegetarian and vegan most of the time.) If he gives a thumbs up to a recipe it automatically makes the blog. As long as I don’t over emphasize the “V” word he doesn’t even blink an eye. This pizza is a great example of my husband surprising me.
Me: Hey babe, I’m making a pizza crust out of quinoa and topping it with butternut squash puree, chickpeas, and a creamy tahini sauce. What do you think?
Taylor: Doesn’t sound like pizza to me. But I think I’d be down as long as we can go out for “real” pizza tomorrow.
Will you believe me when I tell you that instead of going out for “real” pizza the next night we made this again instead? The only difference the second time around is that we had a growler of local IPA beer from Solera Brewery. Pizza and beer go together like peanut butter and jelly. According to Taylor, beer was the only thing missing from the first night of this meal. Easy fix.
This quinoa pizza crust is delicious. It only requires 3 ingredients (quinoa, water, and a pinch of salt.) It involves a little bit of planning ahead since you need to soak the quinoa for about 8 hours. I find it works best to soak the quinoa in the morning before you go to work. Once you come home all you need to do is drain it, throw it in the food processor with a tiny bit of water and salt and whirl away until it reaches a constancy of pancake batter. Once that’s done bake it in the oven for 20 minutes and voila! Anyone can do this!!
I’m going to go ahead and state the obvious here. This is not a New York City style kind of pizza. It’s healthy. It’s made of quinoa. There’s no cheese and butternut squash is involved. But here is the kicker…. it’s super delicious. If Taylor decides he wants a second night in a row of this “pizza” then you know it’s a keeper. If you are open to being a little adventurous give this quinoa crust a go. It’s crispy on the outside and slightly “doughy” on the inside. The Butternut squash puree was a great “sauce” and the addition of creamy tahini, chickpeas, and cilantro brought this pie to a whole new level. I can honestly say this is my new favorite pizza. However, if you are a marinara sauce and cheese person go ahead and try that with this curst. I think you will be surprised with the outcome!!! Pour some beer and have a fantastic and healthy pizza night at home! Enjoy.
Quinoa Pizza Crust with Butternut Squash, Chickpeas & Tahini Sauce
Prep Time: 8 hours (for quinoa to soak) Cook Time: 25 minutes Serves: Two 8-inch pizzas.For the Quinoa Dough:
- 2 cups quinoa (thoroughly washed to eliminate any bitterness and soaked in water for 8 hours)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2-3/4 cup water
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch chunks
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 3 TBS nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp hot sauce (we like organic sriracha sauce)
- 1 TBS white wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Prepare the butternut squash sauce by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Add squash cubes and cook until fork tender. About 10 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle add to a food processor with the oil and salt. Process until smooth. Set aside.
- Prepare the Tahini sauce by combing all the ingredients together and whisking until smooth. This works well with an emersion blender (a hand whisk is fine too)
- Once quinoa has soaked for 8 hours rinse and drain it. Add the quinoa, 1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt to a food processor. Process until the quinoa reaches a consistency of pancake batter. Adjust water as necessary.
- Layer two 8 inch pie pans with parchment paper (this will insure the pizza doesn't stick!!) You can also use two 8-inch cast iron skillets too but I'd still recommend the parchment paper even with these. Spread quinoa evenly and bake in the oven for 20 minutes (check around 15 minutes). Once the crust is cooked remove from the oven. Spread a thin layer of butternut squash "sauce" and top with chickpeas. Place back in the oven for about 3 more minutes until everything is warmed through.
- Evenly distribute the chopped cilantro and chickpeas between the two pies and drizzle with tahini sauce and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Enjoy!
Notes*Use this recipe as a guide. Adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary. * The inspiration for the quinoa crust comes from the blog Almonds & Avocados.