Chia Crust Pizza With Spinach Pesto

Who doesn’t want pizza on a Friday night? Pizza was on my mind, and having a nutrient-dense, gluten-free base became my mission. I’ve made versions of this before, some with black beans, some with nuts…it’s always fun to experiment (with varying degrees of successful outcomes).

A quick Google search revealed this recipe, which of course I had to then alter to suit what we had on hand and what I thought would work. We were really happy with the results; so happy in fact that I made a double batch to use as crackers the next day! It’s quick and easy, and I hope you give it a try – would love your feedback.

Why chia? Chia is simply remarkable. It is rich in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids (the good guys), protein, minerals and fibre. Because it has a neutral taste, it can be enjoyed in both sweet and savoury dishes. Chia also has unique gelling properties that make it a great binding agent (as in this recipe). And the gelling effect is also soothing and restorative for our digestive tract – a win-win for sure!

Wishing to use up some magnificent organic spinach, I thought I’d make a spinach-based pesto. It’s perhaps not quite as flavourful as using fresh basil, but it sure is tasty and quite economical, too. Again, I hope you enjoy; and, as always, I encourage feedback!

Chia-crust Spinach Pesto Pizza

Chia Crust
1/4 cup chia seeds
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons rice flour
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds – lightly toasted

Combine chia and water and let sit for 20 minutes. In food processor, combine flour, seasonings and pumpkin seeds. Pulse until seeds are well blended, forming a crumb-like texture. Add chia gel and continue blending. Pour mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread with spatula to even thickness. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes – edges will be lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside until ready to add toppings.

Spinach Pesto
6 cups loosely packed baby spinach
1/4 cup lightly toasted pumpkin seeds
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Combine above ingredients in food processor. Adjust amount of nutritional yeast and apple cider vinegar according to taste.

Additional Toppings – what we used (but get creative; clean out your fridge)
red pepper
roasted asparagus
1 cup cheese – vegan or dairy

Spread pesto on pizza crust. Add desired toppings. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Cook for 10 minutes – until cheese (if using) is bubbly and has just started to lightly brown. Enjoy!