While we do not have a gluten free family diet, we do enjoy trying out and using a variety of different grains in our diet. Polenta (we almost invariably use the instant kind) is a quick and easy alternative to conventional grains that contain gluten and a handy way to ensure that our recipe repertoire has options suitable for different diets and preferences. In this instance we treat polenta as a substitute for wheat or spelt flour that we would typically use in the pizza base. Baked polenta also has a nice constancy – it is crunchy, chewy and all-round comforting. We have taken the basic components of a traditional pizza and simplified and adapted them in order to make a quick and delicious alternative.
If you have previously had a read of other recipes posted here, you will know that we like to include as many vegetables as possible. For the baked polenta “pizza” base used in this recipe we snuck in 125 g of spinach, which works a treat, goes completely unnoticed flavour-wise, and will earn the silent gratitude of your body. I add passata because even a pizza in quotation marks needs a (tomato) sauce, and I add courgette ribbons as the topping for the “pizza”. Slicing the courgette into ribbons allows it to cook faster and means there is no need to add any oil. Once the pizza is cooked we add chilli oil and nutritional yeast which adds a nice cheesy flavour. We did not find the “pizza” to need the addition of cashew or other alternative “cheese”. If you cannot fathom a pizza without cheese or are otherwise inclined to include it, then please visit our recipe for Cream Cheese or for the recipe in our Pizza for a more mozzarella like texture, keeping in mind that this will add another stage to preparation and increase the cooking time.
Total time: +/-1 hour of which 10 minutes are active preparation.
Ingredients: (For two adults and a toddler)
- 1 X cup instant polenta
- 3 X cups water + 1/2 cup
- 2 tbsp bouillon
- 125 g spinach (we used frozen spinach)
- 1 X small leek or onion
Method: (see video below)
- Preheat oven to 200 C.
- Place chopped leek, bouillon, spinach and 1/2 cup of water into a large pot, cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the spinach has thawed.
- While the spinach and leek are cooking, boil 3 cups of water (go for an electric kettle if you have one).
- Remove the spinach mixture from heat and add the boiled water. Gently pour the polenta into the pot stirring continuously to mix it well with the spinach mixture and the water. I use a whisk, but a large spoon works well. Continue mixing thoroughly until all of the polenta has been added and is a smooth paste.
- Cover the pot and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Line a large baking tray with baking paper and pour the polenta mixture onto it. Spread the polenta mixture evenly to cover the baking paper, leaving an edge. The polenta mixture should be spread to roughly 1 cm thickness for best results. Don't worry if it isn’t as the polenta is already cooked at this point.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes to firm and crisp up the “pizza” base.
- Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before adding the passata and other toppings.
- 1 X cup tomato passata
- 1 X large courgette
- Chilli oil
- Nutritional yeast
- Top and tail the courgette and cut in half. Using a vegetable peeler slice the courgette on four sides into thin ribbons avoiding the seeded centre (see video below).
- Spread the passata evenly over the polenta base leaving a generous “crust” around the perimeter.
- Roll the courgette ribbons and top the pizza.
- Bake in preheated oven for further 10-15 minutes.
- Garnish with chilli oil and nutritional yeast.
- Serve up, sit back and enjoy!