It’s pizza time! Making tasty pizza at home does not always require preparing yeast-risen dough. This delectable “pizza with a twist,” recipe is a gluten-free version that is sure to satisfy your family’s craving for a pizza dinner. Polenta as a pizza crust? Yep, it’s fabulous! This pizza develops nice crispy edges as it bakes, and the polenta provides a great base for the fresh tomatoes, artichokes and fragrant basil leaves. You can use any additional or optional toppings you like to make this versatile version your own.
Makes 4 servings
• 3 cups, plus 2 tablespoons filtered or spring water
• 1 cup polenta (corn grits)
• 1 teaspoon dried basil
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 2 cloves minced garlic
• 1/4 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
• 3 medium-large tomatoes, sliced
• 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• Freshly ground sea salt
• Freshly ground pepper
• 5 to 10 marinated artichoke hearts, cut in half
1. Make the polenta by bringing the water to a boil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low or low. Pour the polenta steadily into the water, while stirring constantly. Stir in the basil and salt. Stir the polenta frequently for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is thickened. (The polenta is ready when it easily comes away from the side of the pan and supports a wooden spoon.)
2. Pour the polenta onto a 12-inch pizza pan and carefully spread into an even layer using a rubber spatula. (The edges of the crust should be slightly raised to hold the toppings in place.)
3. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or until firm to the touch. (The polenta crust may be made the day before, covered, and refrigerated overnight.)
4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the crust for 12 minutes. Put the pan on a wire rack and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
5. Put the garlic and olive oil (if using) in a small bowl and stir to combine. Arrange the tomato slices on top of the crust by overlapping them in a spiral fashion, leaving 1/4 inch of the crust exposed on the outer perimeter. Sprinkle the garlic over the tomato slices. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil over the tomatoes and garlic. Top with the Italian seasoning and red pepper. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Arrange the artichokes on top of the pizza. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil over the pizza. Bake for 15 minutes. Increase the heat to 425 degrees F and bake for 15 to 25 minutes more, or until the crust is crisp and the tomatoes are bubbling hot. Put the pan on a wire rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice and serve hot.
Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.
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