This post was written from the New Jersey turnpike at 11 pm last night. If I had a dollar for every second of my life I’ve spent on Boltbus or Megabus, friends, I would be a wealthy woman. Hope you all had good Fridays, and that you’re welcoming the weekend in!
The recipe I’m about to share makes me happy for a number of reasons. First, it’s delicious, and I’ve enjoyed it for dinner two nights in a row this week. Second, it’s a raw and vegan spin on everyone’s favorite comfort food, pizza. Third, it’s the first time in over four years of high raw eating that I’ve actually attempted a raw pizza, which is a little shocking, but true. And finally, this recipe embodies the “choosing raw” ethos: you can sprout and dehydrate the quinoa and buckwheat, which will make for an entirely raw crust, or you can simply cook the quinoa and use store-bought buckwheat flour. Neither method is wrong, and both will yield a nutrient-dense crust: it’s simply a question of how much you feel like challenging yourself with raw foods prep.
What’s the point of sprouting grains and grinding them into flours yourself? Between the sprouting, dehydrating, and subsequent grinding, it feels like a lot of work. It is a lot of work, and it’s not necessarily work you need to do: the point of sprouting is to render grains more digestible and to preserve more of their nutrients, but I actually find that sprouted grain is much harder on my stomach than cooked, and there are many recent studies which suggest that cooking releases many of the nutrients in whole grains.
So if t’s not a question of preferable nutrition, why bother? First, to satisfy the tastes of my strict raw foods readers, many of whom do find a 100% diet preferable. Second, to enjoy varied textures and taste—raw grains taste and feel different from regular ones! Finally, it’s sort of the same reason a person might want to make homemade pie crust or puff pastry or slow-simmered tomato sauce when it would be very easy to find a high-quality, pre-made version: sometimes it feels good to just DIY. Part of the fun of a raw diet, for me, is occasionally challenging myself to make something complex with virtually no heat and nothing that comes from a bag, box, or bottle. It tests my ingenuity as a home cook, and when things go right, it feels incredible.
So, dear CR readers, join me as we make raw pizzas. From scratch. And if at any point you start to think “as if!” simply follow my instructions for easy, store-bought swaps!
Choosing Raw Pizza with Quinoa Buckwheat Crust and Guacamole (raw, vegan, gluten free, soy free)
Makes 4 mini pizzas
For the crust:
1 cup quinoa, dry
1 cup buckwheat, dry
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3 tbsp ground flax meal
8 sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
Black pepper to taste
For the marinara sauce:
1 batch raw red pepper marinara
For the guacamole
1 batch classic CR guacamole
If you’re working from scratch:
Day 1: Submerge both the buckwheat and the quinoa in water and soak overnight.
Day 2: Rinse the grains off. Submerge the buckwheat again in fresh water. Meanwhile, place drained quinoa in a glass container, and cover the mouth with a paper towel or cheesecloth affixed with a rubber band. Lay container on its side and let sit.
Day 3: Rinse and drain buckwheat. Remove quinoa from glass jar–at this point, it should have sprouted little tails! Place both grains on Teflex-lined sheets in a dehydrator set to 115 degrees and dehydrate for the next 10-12 hours.
Day 4: Grind sunflower seeds and 1/2 cup dried buckwheat into a fine meal in a food processor. (Leftover buckwheat can be saved for something else!) To the ground seeds and buckwheat, add salt, pepper, spices, flax, and 1 cup sprouted quinoa. Process with 1 cup water till you have a sticky dough. If your dough is too dry, add more water until it’s still thick, but pliable. Pulse in the sundried tomatoes. Shape into 4 small disks, and dehydrate for 5 hours at 115 degrees. Flip, and dehydrate for another 4-5.
If you’re not in the mood to work from scratch:
Follow steps for Day 4, using the buckwheat flour and cooked quinoa. You can then dehydrate, or you can bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, or until toasted.
Make marinara and guac.
Assemble pizzas! Pile your crusts high with marinara and guacamole, garnish with basil, if you wish, and enjoy!
Questions I know you’ll all be wondering:
Why sprout the quinoa, but simply soak the buckwheat?
Technically, you could either sprout both, or soak both, and then dehydrate. I like the texture of sprouted quinoa here, and it’s very easy to sprout fast. Sprouted buckwheat, on the other hand, takes quite a while, and since its texture isn’t my favorite, I prefer soaking, dehydrating, and grinding it into a “flour.”
Can I use cashew cheese instead of guac?
Can I use quinoa flour instead of whole quinoa?
Sure. Try using 3/4 cup if you do that—let me know if it’s a success.
I hope this recipe demonstrates how flexible raw food recipes usually are—you don’t have to do all of the steps necessary to make anything 100% raw! Consider it a fun kitchen challenge, but never a demand. And adjust according to your schedule. Most raw recipes rely on very healthy ingredients, so you certainly won’t be the worse off for not making your dish entirely raw.
So: today is the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival, where I’ll be speaking with Brendan and Matt. Alas, I won’t be able to linger all day, but I do hope to at least say hi to the many friends of mine who will be there. I’ll have a full recap for you tomorrow!!!