Choose Your Own (Raw) Adventure: Choosing Raw Pizzas with Quinoa Buckwheat Crust

by Gena on March 3, 2012

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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!

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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

OR

1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup buckwheat flour

AND

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

Step 1:

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.

Step 2:

Make marinara and guac.

Step 3:

Assemble pizzas! Pile your crusts high with marinara and guacamole, garnish with basil, if you wish, and enjoy!

 

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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?

Yes! Cashew cheese will be lovely—especially my Italian pizza cheese. I just prefer guac to cashew cheese on my raw pizza: I’ve been inspired by Café Green!

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!!!

xo

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex @ Raw Recovery March 3, 2012 at 10:38 am

Looks delicious but involves a lot of steps. I do have a question for you though, there’s an add beneath your posts that says “Cut down a bit of stomach fat every day by never eating these 5 foods.” I don’t mean to be rude but it doesn’t seem to really fit the message of your blog and as someone in recovery it makes me feel a little uncomfortable. I realize that there are many ads like this but since you have talked about your eating disordered past it just seems a little out of place. I’m sorry if this comes off as rude, I’ve just been wondering about it for a while and thought I would mention it. I do love your blog though!

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Gena March 3, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Oh dear! Those are my google ads, which I don’t select. Absolutely not ok…I’ll talk to them about removing ASAP.

G

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Alex @ Raw Recovery March 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Thank you for being so understanding! I hope I didn’t come off as rude, that was not my intention at all. I appreciate your response! Thank you!

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janet @ the taste space March 3, 2012 at 10:45 am

This looks delicious, Gena, and I love that it isn’t dripping in oil like I’ve experienced at some raw restos. Now, I have a request.. I was recently smitten by a raw multi-seed buckwheat bagel in Beverly, MA. Do you have a good recipe to try? For any raw bagel? Any suggestions? I was just so amazed it tasted like a bona fide bagel!

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Gena March 4, 2012 at 10:48 am

Well now that you’ve asked, I’ll have to investigate a recipe ;-) Stay tuned!

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janet @ the taste space March 4, 2012 at 10:51 am

Oh, yes, please!! :)

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table March 3, 2012 at 10:54 am

This is so cool! I love soaking bulgur for a raw dish, but never thoughts to try it with quinoa and turn it into a pizza crust! I’m trying to eat higher raw lately and cannot wait to try this out.

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga March 3, 2012 at 11:39 am

That guac cheese sounds perfect! Beautiful pizza and props to you for writing this while on the turnpike…at 11pm! That’s multi-tasking at its finest!

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Anonymous March 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Thank you for including instructions for us slightly lazier raw foodies! I enjoy raw food but also like shortcuts!

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Stephanie @ Legally Blinde March 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm

This looks like a fun recipe! Thanks for all of the alternative methods of preparation – I like learning about the different options and it’s nice to know that the recipe can be so flexible.

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Kaitlyn @ trialandbalance March 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm

This looks amazing! :)

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bitt March 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I really really appreciate your flexible nature of these posts where you write multiple methods of making the recipe, cooked or raw. A well known raw blogger recently wrote a whole post basically telling people not to ask her to do that anymore and it was sad to see that rigidity, I hope the people asking those questions come here instead.

Because some people will gasp at a 4-day recipe, I am curious if I day could be deleted by simply using the grains while still wet on day 3? And then lessen the water?

Never had guacamole on a pizza but love that it’s not nuts and sounds really good right now. I would probably just skip the red sauce and but beans on it, weird but sounds good to me right now.

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Gena March 4, 2012 at 10:47 am

I think you could definitely do the wet grains. I just liked the texture here, but I’m sure it would work if you reduced liquid!

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Ilana March 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm

This looks so delicious. I’ve lately found myself in a quandary – I eliminated nightshades from my diet because I suspected they were causing me to react, and as I found upon eating a tomato several weeks later, I was right. And I’m SO sad! Italian flavors are amongst some of my favorite. So, I’ll just drool over this and enjoy it vicariously through you. Love the idea of the crust, cooked or uncooked. Definitely something I need to try.

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Meg March 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm

All I can say is WOW Gena! This is something I will definitely be making! AND SOON!

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Hannah March 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm

These look great. I appreciate that you have alternative steps for people who don’t have the time/money to do the 100% raw thing all the time, but still end up with a great-tasting dish.

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Sarah March 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Darn it! I’ve just left NYC and am back home in the UK. I would have loved to go to the Food Fest!

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Hannah March 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm

If I want to do the raw thing but don’t have a dehydrator how do I get around the drying out overnight on day 3? Set the oven to a really low temperature? Could I do 30mins at 350 to dry them out?
Thanks for showing how flexible we can be!

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Gena March 4, 2012 at 10:46 am

I’m not really an expert on doing raw stuff in the oven, to be honest, but I think 30 min at 350 is a good game plan!

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Hannah April 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I thought I’d pop back an update – hope you don’t mind! This was absolutely so first off thank you so much, the step by step guide made it so easy! I did dry out the grains in the oven – quick blast 10 mins at 200C (I think that’s 400F – I got a bit confused in my conversions it would probably have been better at 350 cos some of my quinoa did toast and brown a bit but it was still yummy so it can’t have been a big problem!)
Just to let other readers know this is totally doable with an oven – I call it raw-in-principle cos I followed all the raw steps just used an oven instead of a dehydrator! I totally agree that I got a real sense of pride from my mini project and the delicious meal it yielded.
Just one question, any ideas for what to do with my left over grains? (although it came out about double what I needed so may just be used up in pizza round 2 later in the week, variety’s great but it’s fun to repeat something you know is great!)
Thanks again Gena!

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Dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt March 3, 2012 at 10:29 pm

That looks so delicious! Great recipe

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Ali March 4, 2012 at 12:31 am

GIRL! Over the TOP! I agree with you so much, sometimes doing yourself feels so so good. Love the idea of guac on top of pizza. You rock lady!

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Ela March 4, 2012 at 2:05 pm

That looks delicious and I love the soaking/sprouting exposure — it’s good when people demystify that whole lovely hands-in-the-earth-of-grains process!

But more importantly–I’m SO HAPPY to see a recent pic of you! I’d been thinking you hadn’t put one up in a while and it’s so good to see your sparkly eyes and that smile.

Hope your talk went great!
love
Ela

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Shira March 4, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Looks super fun! I really appreciate that you balance two approaches by offering a cooked alternative for the grains – this looks yummy for sure, and a nice way to enjoy and have fun with raw food prep!

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Lindsay March 14, 2012 at 8:49 am

This looks fantastic! Love the avocado!

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Elyse June 9, 2012 at 11:14 pm

question for you: What if you want to sprout the quinoa but don’t have a dehydrator? Can I just bake it on low for a couple hours?

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Michelle February 2, 2014 at 4:26 pm

This is the best thing ever thank you:-) I’ve only made cooked version so far (will do the raw one another time). I made the pizza’s very delish :-) and then made double batch and spread over baking tray and voila sandwich bread too :-D

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