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Give Your Pizza a Plant-Based Protein Boost! {Chickpea Pizza Crust}

Chickpea pizza crust is gluten-free, vegan, easy to mix up and handle, and receives literal cheers from the dinner table when I serve it up. Don’t wait to give this extra filling, high protein pizza crust a try!

Grain Free Chickpea Pizza Crust on a baking stone cut to serve 6 pieces.

Pizza night is every Sunday, much to my children’s delight. In fact, if we eat anything else, even everyone’s favorite homemade hamburger helper recipe, they feel deprived.

I’ve been using at least a half dozen different pizza crust recipes this year and trying new gluten-free crust recipes all the time, it seems. As fun as it is, I need a standby – and I also need to quit heating the oven to 500 degrees on 90-degree summer days!

Since we’ve been “gluten-light” for the past 4 years or so, I haven’t done much with yeasted pizza dough. Some recipes really make you miss “the real thing” while others receive cheering from the table, literally.

This is one of those.

Grain-free, super high protein and filling, easy to mix up and handle AND you only have to broil the cheese for a few minutes, so it doesn’t heat up the house (as much). I’m sure you could use this recipe with cast iron on the grill, too!

How to Make Chickpea Flour

I’ve often said over the years that I don’t like the special flours that gluten-free and grain-free elimination diet recipes require. I didn’t want to invest in expensive flours, often 3-4 for one recipe, and then find out I hated them.

Now that we’re so far into the GF journey, I do find that I have a lot of these alternative flours on hand, but I’m still pretty cheap about it. If I can grind something in my Mockmill or my Nutrimill, I’m going to do it. (Here’s my Nutrimill review and my Mockmill review, by the way.)

Chickpea flour was a new frontier for me, and although it definitely pushed the limits of “I can grind it,” I’m really happy to have the inexpensive option of grinding my own rather than purchasing.

You CAN purchase chickpea flour if you need to, although this recipe was only tested with home-ground flour, and I have no idea if there will be a difference in absorbency. Be ready to adjust the liquid quantity if using purchased flour.

Grain Free Chickpea Pizza Crust

The Mockmill can handle chickpeas and I know that the Nutrimill can too – although just barely. One got super-duper stuck in the opening and my husband had to almost break the $200+ machine to get it out, but we made it through alive and well!

The Mockmill is so much easier to take apart and fix if something gets jammed.

If you don’t have a grain mill, you can use a high powered blender or a food processer to make chickpea flour. Always start with dried beans (not canned) in small amounts until you get a feel for how much your processor or blender can handle at one time. Be sure to cover the opening on the processor so the flour doesn’t start wafting out.

With the ability to grind chickpeas into flour, a whole new world of recipes has opened up to me! In general, you can substitute 3/4 c. of chickpea flour for 1 c. of white flour, but absorbency may vary so you may need to play around with adding extra flour or extra liquids depending on the recipe.

Note: If you do have a grain mill of any kind, be sure to read the instruction booklet to see if it can handle large beans like this. The Nutrimill, a very powerful mill, takes some babysitting – I usually find that I have to change the settings from fine to coarse and poke the beans in to keep them moving, and it takes about 5 minutes to get a few cups through. 

 

GLUTEN-FREE CAN BE CONFUSING BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE HARD!

I’m thrilled to share a FREE gluten-free cheat sheet mini eBook to help get you started!

This is perfect if you’ve just been told you need a GF diet, if you have a friend or family member eating GF and you’d like to cook for them, or if you’re just curious what it’s all about!

Whatever Happened to Soaking?

Back when we were a whole wheat family, I wrote extensively on the benefits (and controversy) of soaking grains. When switching to grain-free, most of the need for soaking disappears, and many gluten-free recipes don’t include a soak, so you have to adapt a lot.

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. But with legumes, I really did wonder about their digestibility if completely unsoaked. So let’s soak them! Soaking legumes is pretty important and very easy…are you ready for this recipe yet? We’ll be soaking the dough this time, and not the whole chickpeas.

The Chickpea Pizza Crust in Pictures

Garbanzo bean flour pizza crust batter with whisk and measuring cup

The batter is easy to mix up by hand.

Chickpea flour pizza crust batter cooking in a cast iron pan.

You might get a bubble when it starts going. No biggie!

Garbanzo bean flour pizza crust cooking in a cast iron pan - bubbling like pancakes

Just like pancakes, ready to flip.

Chickpea flour pizza crust that has just been flipped in a cast iron pan. The chickpea pizza crust is golden brown.

Mmmmm, crispy on top after the flip!

This is a different pan, a well-oiled Xtrema. Not enough oil, and…

Garbanzo bean flour pizza crust burned in a cast iron pan that didn't have enough cooking oil

Disaster! This is a pan that didn’t have enough grease…at all… Sad smile

2 cooked chickpea pizza crusts topped with tomato sauce

Back to the good parts – Topping it is as easy as pie…pun intended. Smile

Chickpea pizza crust with all the toppings - tomato sauce, spinach, and mushrooms

Making lots of little pizzas means everyone can have what they want on top. Just stick these under the broiler on a sheet pan or baking stone for 1-3 minutes to crisp up the toppings and melt the cheese.

One of the first times I made this crust, soaked, we went on a family bike ride on a Sunday afternoon that ran a little longer than we expected.

Walking in the door at 6:30 p.m. is a horrible feeling when you ‘re the cook for a family with young children, and I can’t tell you how thankful I was that this batter was all mixed up and I only had to throw it on the stovetop for a few minutes! We were eating before 7:00, which is seriously a record for me. Hooray!

One of our most recent pizza endeavors was this zucchini crust from My Humble Kitchen – an amazing way to get EIGHT cups of zucchini used up! But…lots of time with the oven set to 550F, so I need to freeze some zukes for mid-winter to use that one again.

Making Chickpea Pizza Crust – The High Protein Pizza Crust Option

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homemade pizza

Chickpea Flour Pizza Crust Recipe

  • Author: Katie Kimball
  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 24 hours 10 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Whether you are cutting grains, needing a plant-based protein boost in your vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, or simply not wanting to heat up the house, this crust fits the bill.


Ingredients

Scale


ship kroger


Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. You’ll end up with a very lumpy batter (not a stretchy dough, don’t worry!).
  2. Cover and allow to rest overnight on the countertop. (Note: Best soaking practice is to leave out the salt and incorporate it the following day.) You should find that by the next day, the lumps have all worked themselves out, which is handy. If you find yourself short on time you can skip this step.
  3. When ready to make the pizzas, heat 1-2 cast iron skillets over medium heat for at least 5 minutes to get the cooking surface nice and hot.
  4. Prepare all your toppings for efficiency.
  5. Preheat your broiler to high (or low, see below).
  6. Add a little oil of your choice (I usually use refined coconut oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!)).
  7. Pour a thin layer (about 2/3-1 cup) evenly into the skillet, tilting it if necessary or using the back of a ladle to spread out the batter to the edges. Thinner crusts are tastier and crispier, in my opinion, although harder to pick up with your hands.
  8. Cook 1-2 minutes until browned on the bottom – it will bubble on the top a lot like pancakes when it’s ready to flip.
  9. Flip and cook 1-2 minutes more. For extra crispy crust, flip two more times to really brown it without burning.
  10. Remove the crust to a baking stone or cookie sheet. (You can get another one going in the skillet at this point.) If you have a lot of cast iron skillets or are making a smaller batch, you could certainly top and broil right in the skillet.
  11. Top with sauce, toppings and cheese of your choice.
  12. Broil 1-3 minutes on high to melt the cheese. (OR you can broil for about 5-7 minutes on low, which keeps the crust crusty and gives you a little more time to cycle the pizzas through and not burn your cheese because you’re distracted by the other crusts. Your call!) I actually prefer 5 minutes on low and then 1 minute on high to really brown the cheese nicely.

Notes

For our family to have leftovers, we double this recipe and make lots of pizzas! I get two skillets going at once.

To grind your own chickpeas, 2 1/2 cups of chickpeas makes a bit more than 4 cups of flour, so that’s what you’ll need for a double recipe (freeze any leftover flour).

Skip the soaking if you’re short on time. You’ll still get a yummy, high protein pizza crust.

You might want to enlist an assembly line to help top the pizzas. Things can move pretty fast and it’s easy to get behind, especially if you’re juggling two skillets!

To be successful at flipping the pizzas, you should (a) have a good metal spatula and (b) make sure your skillet is heated evenly and pre-seasoned well.

Makes 3 or 4 10” pizza crusts.

Adapted from Healing Cuisine by Elise.

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Do you have any special dinner traditions as a family like our pizza night?
 
Grain Free Chickpea Pizza Crust

27 thoughts on “Give Your Pizza a Plant-Based Protein Boost! {Chickpea Pizza Crust}”

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hi Ximena, The batter is very runny so if you wanted to try it in the oven, you’d need to use a pan with edges since the batter would run off something like a pizza stone. The texture would definitely be different as well since it’s meant to have that crispy crust texture from flipping and it would be difficult to bake it super thin. I’m sure it would technically work to bake it, but my guess is that it would be quite different.

  1. I’m in love…thank you for this amazing recipe. Easy, tasty, gluten free, healthy. Well done! Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. I haven’t tried this recipe yet but it’s very similar to my falafel recipe and that one works very well, just more spices.

    You asked about grinding in a blender, I have some of the smaller split yellow chickpeas called chana dal that never seen to fully cook no matter if they are soaked over night or left simmering on the stove for four hours.

    I had recently bought a Vitamix 7500 that came with a smaller dry container for grinding grains, so I decided to give it a try. I used the recommended 2 cups of peas, started it slow for the first minute to get it broken down, then gradually began increasing the speed until it was at 10. At 10, it created the vortex they show in their demos with an air pocket in the bottom and the clover shape on top as it circulates and everything runs through the blades. The resulting flour was well ground with an even texture to rival the stone ground one I had purchased from Palouse in WA. My intention was to try their chickpea pasta recipe but pizza is also good so it might wait for another day. I was wondering if the batter was thinner would it be bendable like tortilla wraps? I might even try spreading it thin and baking on a cookie sheet, I don’t use oil any more in my cooking or diet.

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Thanks for sharing your tips for using a blender Ann! I’m not sure if they would wrap well like tortillas. I’ve seen chickpea tortilla recipes that have flax meal or arrowroot starch in them which may be what helps it be pliable. Let us know if you try it with this recipe!

      1. I don’t see an option to upload a picture, it says it all. I did make some modifications, so here goes. Spices used were garlic powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, onion powder, smoked paprika and dried parsley. I doubled the water to 3 cups since the peas were dry when ground and they soak up incredible amounts of liquid. I did leave out the salt but mixed everything else well and put it in a covered bowl to sit overnight in the fridge. When I took it out, it looked OK but not quite what I had in mind, so I added 1 cup of sifted tapioca flour, a half cup of nutritional yeast, a large pinch of black salt, a teaspoon of baking powder and a half teaspoon of baking soda. Mixed everything well until it was smooth but realize now I forgot to add an acid like lemon juice to activate the baking soda, – next time! I set the oven to 375 degrees and began prepping the toppings and the pan. I sprayed it with coconut oil, then spread the batter evenly across it, then laid out the onions and broccoli. This was my larger Wilton cookie sheet and just the perfect size for the whole batch at one time. I baked it for about 25 minutes until the edges were dry and the center was clean when tested with a skewer. It’s more like a focaccia than pizza but when you haven’t had one in a long time it’s still a success! I can try emailing you the picture if you could add it to the notes so others can see the end results.

        1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

          Wow! Thanks for sharing such a detailed description of what you did! I hope this helps other people trying to modify the recipe!

  3. Michele Poulin

    I grind chickpeas in my Vitamin all the time in the dry container, works PERFECTLY! I do sift it before using as it can occasionally miss pieces.

  4. I’ve tried this twice, and each time the dough was really . . . doughy! seemed kind of uncooked. I couldn’t get it crispy at all. I thought it was thin, but maybe it’s still too thick? Any suggestions?

    1. Huh! Are you using storebought or homemade chickpea flour, Kery? That could make a big difference – my “dough” was truly “batter” and totally pourable, and the crust is only maybe 1/8″ thick. If you have dough, you need less flour/more water. Hope that helps troubleshoot! 🙂 Katie

  5. Oh…I’m SO terrified to put chickpeas in the Nutrimill. It can be so finicky. Even different bags of rice from the store seem to take longer than others. (Gotta move that Vitamix to the top of my wish list.)

    Maybe I’ll get brave. Cause I tire of mixing all those flours for a GF pizza crust.

      1. I know this was written a while ago- just a comment that I used to grind dry chickpeas in my Blendtec and not too long after, I had to get it repaired. Might have been coincidence, but I wonder if all that rattling of the chickpeas took a toll on the blender. I have not tried it since, just to be safe.

  6. Can you explain what to do after soaking the chickpeas, before they can be ground up in the Nutrimill? I assume they have to be completely dried/crispy to go through the mill, right?

    1. Hi Christine,

      You are soaking the dough itself in this recipe, and not the whole chickpeas. Normally yes, you’d want completely dry/dehydrated beans before grinding. This time though just grind the whole, dry beans straight from the bag, and then the dough is left to soak overnight. I hope this clears things up!

  7. Sarah Mueller

    Have you tried Erin Odom’s chocolate cake made with chickpea flour? It’s excellent and you can even make it egg-free if necessary which is something that still challenges me at times. I’ll find the recipe.

  8. Do you happen to know how these freeze up? Or have you ever made a day ahead, refrigerated, then topped and melted when ready to eat? Trying to get my brain around this with kids are not quite old enough to help.

    1. Lynda,
      I’m a huge freezer fan, so it’s funny that I haven’t actually experimented with the freezer yet! I would think either would work actually, but you’d probably want a little extra time “toasting” the crust to get it back up to temp, since the short broil time wouldn’t really get the crust warm enough, you know? I might broil the crust alone 1 min each side, then top… The leftovers of the whole pizza are great reheated in a toaster oven, so you might even be able to just make the whole pizza ahead, freeze and reheat! 🙂 Katie

  9. Thank you! I was just contemplating experimanting with farinata as a pizza crust, because I miss pizza, and you’ve already done the work for me. Bless you!

  10. Carrie Willard

    Yay! Another recipe to try using my gram (chickpea) flour I got from the Indian grocery!

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