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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Quinoa-Crusted Pizza with Squash and Tahini for One

I don’t know about you, but when the price of asparagus drops, I go a little nuts with it. Today’s offering combines the filling crunchiness of quinoa with the unctuous smoothness of a tahini drizzle and a tangy pesto sauce. You won’t miss the gluten or the cheese. Both the pesto and the tahini drizzle make extra, which will make you happy at another meal, too.

For the Crust:
½ cup quinoa, thoroughly washed and soaked in water for 8 hours, and drained
A pinch of salt
¼ - 1/3 cup water
For the Sauce:
I bunch fresh basil
½ bunch fresh cilantro or parsley
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and baked in the oven for 20 minutes (more garlic is good too)
1 ½ TBLSP olive oil
Zest of ½ lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
2 TBLSP rice vinegar (or other white/clear vinegar)
2 TBLSP sunflower seeds (raw, unsalted, and hulled) or other seed or nut
Salt to taste
For the Drizzle:
4 teaspoons tahini
1 TBLSP nutritional yeast
Several shakes of onion powder
Several shakes of garlic powder
1 TBLSP freshly grated horseradish (optional—you could use hot sauce, if you wanted)
2 ½ teaspoons white wine vinegar (or rice vinegar)
A pinch of fine sea salt
4 TBLSP water (more, If needed to make it thin enough to drizzle)
For Toppings:
1/3 cup cooked chickpeas or other bean, rinsed and drained well
6 stalks asparagus, steamed and chopped bite-sized
2 green onions, diced
6 black olives, sliced or diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet, pie tin, or baking dish with parchment paper.

Make the Crust:
  1. Put the soaked quinoa, salt, and ¼ cup of water into a food processor. Whirl away. The result should be about the consistency of pancake batter. If it’s too thick, add more water. If it’s too thin, let it drip from a strainer for a few minutes.
  2. Spread the mixture evenly on the cookie sheet (I like to make a rectangle, but you could make a more traditional circle) and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is firm.
Make the Sauce:
  1. Meanwhile, place all the ingredients for the sauce (basil, cilantro, etc.) in a food processor or blender and whirl until it’s not chunky. It doesn’t have to be super smooth, unless you like it that way.

Make the Drizzle:
  1. Put the tahini, yeast, onion and garlic powders, grated horseradish, vinegar, salt, and water into a small bowl and whisk until it’s smooth. Or you can use a food processor or blender. It’s your decision.

Assemble the Pizza:
  1. When the crust is out of the oven, spread a thick layer of the pesto sauce over the top of it and fling chickpeas all over it.
  2. Put the crust back into the oven for 3-5 more minutes, until everything is warmed through.
  3. Pull the warmed pizza out of the oven and top with asparagus, green onions, and olives. Salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle with the tahini sauce.
  4. Bake again for 3-5 more minutes. Be careful not to burn the crust.


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