Thai Chicken and Spinach Pizza
There are two kinds of (gluten eating) people in this world. Those who think whole wheat pizza crust is disgusting, and those whom have never tried mine. 🙂 I have converted many a whole wheat hater to the movement with a slice of my pie.
That should possibly be rephrased.
Let’s start again. Whole wheat pizza crust can be a gross, dense hockey puck of blah. Mine is not. Ergo, you should try mine. And since I can’t have all of you over for dinner – we simply don’t have enough plates – I’ll share my recipe with you so you can try it yourself. This crust has the perfect amount of “chew” and “crunch” to it. It has flavor, depth, and more importantly it is filling thanks to the whole grains. I can easily finish over half of a conventional pizza on my own, but two slices of my pizza is my max. And unlike a chain store pizza, or something from a grocery store freezer, you won’t have a carb-crash 20 minutes after you finish eating it.
The trick to working with whole wheat is two-fold. One, you cannot overwork the dough. It’s hard, and oh so tempting to just knead the snot out of it, but resist! Second, vital wheat gluten is your friend. Vital wheat gluten is the secret ingredient that gives delicious whole wheat products their bounce and fluff so to speak. If you have a store with a great bulk bin section, chances are they have vital wheat gluten, and usually for under $3 a pound. It is also available online of course. Because everything is these days.
A delicious and healthy DIY pizza crust that will make you believe whole wheat is your new jam. Makes two medium pizzas.
- 1 cup water, warm
- 2 1/4 tsp active yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tsp olive oil, plus more for the bowl
- 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
- 2.5-3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
In a stand mixer or large bowl, combine water and yeast. Stir to combine.
Combine the remaining ingredients. If using a stand mixer attach the dough hook, turn to "stir" and and allow the mixer to do its thang until the dough comes together in a ball. If kneading by hand, good luck to you, and I'll never challenge you to an arm wrestling match.
Remove the dough, drizzle a little olive oil around the inside of the bowl, and turn the dough to coat. Cover with a warm wet towel, and set aside until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If using a pizza stone or cast iron pizza pan, place in the oven during the preheating stage. Sprinkle your hot pan with cornmeal, and work the dough around until it well, looks like a pizza. Tap your fingers in to the dough to make indents. This will help the ingredients stick better.
Top with sauce, cheese, and your toppings of choice. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbling.
The amount of time it takes the dough to double in size will depend on the temp of your house/kitchen. It can take as little as 30 minutes, or as long as 60 depending on the temp.
Once you have whipped up a batch of Whole Wheat Pizza Dough, the fun begins with the various toppings and themes. The possibilities are endless, and whatever sparks your interest shall be delicious indeed. Except for the one time that Troy was obsessed with the idea of chili dog pizza. He talked about it non-stop. Finally, when I was away for a few days for work, he made it. And lo and behold, it was disgusting and made him sick. Anything else though? Go for it.
A flavorful pizza that builds on a delicious foundation of whole wheat crust.
- 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce like Mae Ploy
- 1 handful baby spinach
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 cup sliced grilled or cooked chicken
- 1/4 cup unsalted cashews
Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with pizza stone or pan inside.
Sprinkle corn meal on top of the hot stone, and work the dough around until it has reached your desired size. Tap your fingers in the dough to create indents.
Top dough with the sweet chili sauce, spinach, chicken, and cheese. Sprinkle the cashews on top.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.
This pizza freezes like a boss. I freeze uncooked pizzas on a piece of parchment on trays. Once it has frozen solid, cover with foil and it will keep for a few months. If you plan to freeze this pizza, leave the spinach off. Cook the pizza fully frozen, and throw a handful of spinach on it in the last five minutes of cooking.
As a society, we eat enough pizza in this day and age. Why not replace some of the empty calories with something more filling, a little better for you, and covered in zesty sweet chili sauce? Oh, and because we’re grown ups now, make sure half of your plate is full of some sort of vegetables. Sigh.