Pizza is a really fun dinner, and now everywhere you turn there a new, trendy vegetable that you can turn into a crust.  Rather than go the vegetable route, I found a recipe that uses polenta, which is essentially cornmeal, to form a surprisingly sturdy crust. I have cooked polenta a few times, however each time I used it as a grits-like base for a stew. I followed this recipe closely to make sure I got the right consistency for the crust.  

Polenta Pizza Crust

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups Ground polenta
  • 3 1/2 cups Vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Basil
  • 1/2 tsp Parsley
  • 1/4 tsp Black pepper

Toppings

  • Turkey pepperoni
  • Orange bell pepper
  • Red onion
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions
 

  • Bring the broth to a boil. Mix the spices together in a bowl and add to broth once it is boiling.
  • Carefully pour the polenta into the boiling broth. Let boil for 7-10 minutes until thickened, stirring constantly. Once you can drag the spoon across the bottom of the pan without the polenta immediately filling the hole, it is ready to take off the heat.
  • Place parchment paper on a baking pan. Once cool, scoop polenta onto the paper and form into 2 circles for your pizza crust. Put in refrigerator.
  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Prepare your pizza toppings.
  • Place crusts into preheated ovens for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10 minutes or until baked all the way through.
  • Take crusts out of the oven and add your toppings. Return to the oven to broil for 5 minutes, keeping a close eye so not to burn your pizzas.
  • Let cool before enjoying.

Notes

Adapted from: http://www.wholelivinglauren.com/new-blog/2015/9/1/polenta-pizza-crust

My method

I had heard from a few friends that polenta was a pain to make because you had to stir it constantly for a long time. While I did stir mine pretty continuously, it took around 7-10 minutes to make, which didn’t seem too long to me. I waited until the stock had reached a full boil before adding the spices (which I assembled in a small bowl). I then started pouring the polenta into the pot, and I made sure to stir the stock while adding the polenta so that it didn’t all immediately sink to the bottom. As stated in the recipe, the polenta thickened pretty quickly, and I decided it was done when I could drag the wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan and the polenta didn’t immediately fill in the hole.

Once the polenta reached sufficient thickness, I prepared my pans with the parchment paper.  The polenta was obviously very hot, so I started chopping the orange bell pepper and the onion for my pizza 2 toppings.  By the time I had finished the vegetable chopping the polenta was cool enough to spread. I tried to use only the wooden spoon to spread the polenta, however it did stick some to the spoon and I ended up using my hands to finish the circles.

When the circles were complete, I put both trays in the fridge and preheated the oven to 450F. Once the oven was fully heated, I transferred the crusts from the fridge to the oven and set a timer for 15 minutes.  After the 15 minutes, I flipped the crusts with the help of a clean baking tray, and they returned them to the oven for the remaining 10 minutes.  

Since one of my pizzas had vegetable toppings, I used the second 10 minutes to lightly saute my peppers and onions in some olive oil.  

After the full 25 minutes, the crust was baked all the way through and the pizzas were ready for toppings. I made a pepperoni pizza and a pepper/onion pizza, however the toppings are really limitless. I broiled my pizzas for about 5 minutes, but kept a close eye on them to make sure nothing burned.

Notes from family:

First of all, everyone was impressed with how well the crust held together. Unlike other “alternative” pizza crusts which require a knife and fork, my brother proudly picked up his pieces and was happy they did not fall apart. Both toppings were well received, and while the crust had a different taste and texture compared to normal wheat-crust pizza, my mom thought the polenta was a lighter alternative which was surprisingly tasty.

We did not finish all of the pizza in one night, and the leftover slices were just as good the next day. I have already made plans to make this again with a barbecue chicken topping!

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