Let's just get it out there: pizza crust replacements are never as good as the real thing. When comparing something like cauliflower crust to actual real deal gluten-filled pizza crust, the latter will always win. However, since gluten simply doesn’t work for everyone, sometimes finding a replacement that can come as close to the real thing is the next best thing. And while I consider pizza to be in my list of top three favorite foods, it’s also not something I eat every day (even if I crave it everyday.)
When pizza cravings hit and I have to work with what I've got, I turn to one of my favorite flour alternatives to create a totally customizable pizza-type crispy flatbread that is almost as good as the real thing.
If you haven’t experimented with chickpea flour yet, let me introduce you to my favorite flour replacement. Chickpea flour (or besan as I grew up calling it) is a staple in South Asian kitchens that is higher in protein than other flours, and is also gluten free. It’s a bit denser than an all-purpose flour and is the perfect binding flour for baked goods, but is super light and becomes really crispy when fried as a batter.
My go-to use for chickpea flour has been these pancake-like flatbreads that are nice and soft, the perfect base for topping with veggies for a quick and easy dinner. Having gotten the knack for making soft breads with chickpea flour, I’ve been in the process of creating a crisper, crusty flatbread option from the flour. The process of creating the dough for these flatbreads is so incredibly easy, and the whole process takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish.
To make the dough, you add the chickpea flour, spices, olive oil, and milk into a bowl and mix. Add the water little by little until you have a sticky bowl of dough, then using clean hands, bring the dough together into a ball and knead in your hands a couple times, and then roll the dough out super thin! Bake it up and then top with your favorites. I made one “pizza” with classic toppings like sweet roasted cherry tomatoes and melty mozzarella, and a salad pizza with some leftover pesto I had and some spring time veggies which is my favorite way to sneak in some extra greens. Eat it hot with melty cheese or cooled off with some hummus swirls and marinated veggies, the options are endless!