Cilantro-Hemp Pesto Pizza
by Ali Seiter
Obsessed with implementing my newly purchased “power” hemp and chia seeds, I’ve scoured the vegan blogosphere for some knockout recipes. Most often, the seeds have found a stable home blended into my morning smoothies. Currently out of commisson, however, my glass blender sits broken, chipped, and sad inside my cupboard, unable to provide me with delicious morning beverages. Sigh.
Luckily, I happened upon the Navitas Naturals website—a “superfood” company selling alleged miracle foods such as maca, raw cacao, acai berries, and the like—from which I purchased my hemp seeds, and scrolled through their recipe database for some seedy concoctions. Their Mexican-inspired pesto pizza jumped at me, positively begging me to follow its recipe instructions for a South-of-the-border dinner that night. Oh boy, am I glad I did.
Cilantro-Hemp Pesto Pizza (Gluten Free)
- 3 tbsp chia seeds, divided
- 1/3 cup soy milk (substitute any nut milk for a soy free pizza.)
- 1 cup whole grain GF flour of choice (I used 1/2 cup each of oat flour and amaranth flour.)
- 1/4 cup mashed black beans
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup cilantro, tightly packed
- 2 large kale leaves (can substitute spinach.)
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1/2-3/4 cup mixed sliced tomatoes (preferably heirloom or sungold.)
- 1/4 cup cilantro
For the crust: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine all crust ingredients in a large mixing bowl, reserving 2 tbsp chia seeds for a later use. Gather dough into a ball and knead for a minute. Let stand 10 minutes.
Sprinkle a cookie sheet or pizza pan with remaining 2 tbsp chia seeds. Place the dough on top of the seeds and roll out the dough into a 1/8-inch thick layer—circular, square, heart, whatever suits your fancy. A rolling pin would suffice as the most orthodox crust-forming method. As for me, I implemented my glass olive oil bottle. Get creative. Place the crust in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
For the pesto: While the dough cooks, combine all pesto ingredients except the oil in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, scraping down the sides as needed. Slowly drizzle in the oil and process until fully blended.
Assembly: When the crust has finished baking, spread on the pesto in an even layer. Top with tomato slices and bake for 15 more minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cilantro, and allow the pizza to cool for 2 minutes before cutting and devouring.
Crunchy near the edges, moist and chewy near the center, the beany crust held up well to the pesto but did not overwhelm the pizza with breadiness.
The juicy roasted sungold tomatoes offered a sweet, succulent pop of flavor against the nutty pesto, brightened by the fresh cilantro sprinkled on top.
You can tell I got a tad carried away with the photos.
To me, homemade pizza always feels like a special occasion and I’d surely serve this one at any party. Or on a Thursday night for my family. Or all for myself.
Meal Checklist: Protein–black beans, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds. Whole Grain–amaranth and oat flour. Vegetables–tomatoes, maybe jalapeno might count? Leafy Green–kale.
Comment Provoking Questions: Are you a cilantro hater or lover? What are some of your favorite pizza toppings? Thick crust or thin? Do you eat your pizza with a knife and fork like the Europeans?
Until next time, Ali.
Recipe submitted to Wellness Weekend.