Healthy, muffin-size deep dish pizzas that are vegan and grain-free! The crust is made in seconds with a chickpea flour batter. Only 97 calories, too!
Deep dish pizza. Some of your friends and acquaintances will say it can’t be done at home. You need a brick oven, specialty equipment, and years of training. You need to make it in Chicago. It will look weird, taste ok (at best), and take far too much time and effort.
They are all wrong.
You can make my gorgeous, mini, deep dish pizzas in no time, with minimal ingredients and limited kitchen prowess. The only specialty equipment required? A muffin tin (I know, I’m so fancy). And the crust? It’s based on socca, a chickpea flour flatbread from Provence (ok, I suppose I am fancy).
Ready? Let’s do this.
Before prepping the toppings, whisk the batter. In a pinch, you can use the batter as soon as yo mix it. But the crust will be so much better if you let it sit for at least 1 hour. You can even mix it the night or morning before you make it; letting the batter develop heighten the creamy-crispy texture of the resulting crust. It’s so nice to have the crust ready to go when dinner time rolls around too!
You can use a plain whisk, fork or handheld blender to mix the batter. You could also do this in your blender. Total time to prepare crust: 20 seconds.
To create the “deep” quality of these mini pizzas, I added several layers of summer-y vegetables: tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini. I love this combination (the mushrooms deliver umami meatiness, the zucchini and tomatoes fresh brightness) but you can play with lots of other combination. It’s pizza, so you know the possibilities are vast (and delicious!).
The pizzas are not in the oven for long, so the vegetables need to be cooked before layering. A quick broil is all they need. Throw all of the vegetable slices on a sheet pan, lightly spritz with olive oil (I used my olive oil mister; you can also brush on a bit of oil–you won’t need much at all), and sprinkle with salt.
Try to get most of the vegetables in a single layer, but it is ok if they overlap some. They will shrink significantly as they broil. Warning: it is very tempting to gobble up these vegetables when they emerge from the oven!
Once the vegetables are ready, finish the crust. How is this for an easy crust: spoon batter into muffin cups and bake. Really. easy as can be and you will love the flavor. Bake the crust for ten minutes, then just layer on some sauce, the vegetables and cheese (I used a nondairy cheese; if you are not vegan or dairy-free, a good quality mozzarella is the way to go).
Back into the oven they go, and in 7 minutes, you have this:
These mini pizzas are perfect summer eating in so many ways. First and foremost, they are irresistibly delicious. The chickpea flour crusts bake into crisp-soft pillows, a perfect compliment to the layers of caramelized, broiled vegetables and gooey cheese on top.
It doesn’t hurt that these minis are incredibly easy, quick and convenient to make, too. There is a learning curve to making traditional yeast-crust pizzas, but not so here. Your first attempt will also be your first of many perfect attempts.
Portability? You know that I am all about handheld, portable food these days. Take these on a picnic, to the beach, over to a friend’s backyard bbq, on a Saturday hike, or tuck into your lunch bag. They are great cold, warm or hot. I’ve done all three.
Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that these also happen to be incredibly good for you, and not in some namby-pamby “light”, reduced-calorie, diet pizza way. Rather, these are made with nutrient-rich, fresh, real ingredients that will make you feel amazing.
- ¾ cup chickpea flour
- ¾ cup warm (not hot) water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus some for brushing/misting vegetables)
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt (plus some for sprinkling vegetables)
- 2 small to medium zucchini, sliced (about ¼ inch thick)
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced (about ¼-inch thick)
- 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced (about ¼-inch thick)
- ½ cup good quality prepared marinara sauce
- 1-1/2 cups shredded non-dairy mozzarella style cheese (see note)
- Optional: fresh basil or parsley leaves
- In a small bowl, whisk the chickpea flour, water, 2 tbsp olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt until blended and smooth. Loosely cover and let stand for at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours).
- Position oven rack to highest postiion and preheat broiler. Arrange vegetables on a large baking sheet (more or less single layer). Lightly mist or brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Broil for 6 to 8 minutes until zucchini slices are browned. Let cool slightly.
- Preheat oven to 450F. Grease or spray 12 cups of a standard muffin tin.Divide chickpea batter evenly among prepared cups (about 2 heaping tablespoons each). Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and spread each crust with 2 teaspoons sauce. Top with zucchini and a sprinkle of cheese, then top with tomato slices, mushrooms and remaining cheese.
- Return to oven and bake for 6 to 8 minutes longer until cheese is bubbly, melted, and browned slightly at edges.
- Cool in tin set on cooling rack for 10 minutes. Run knife around edge of each cup and remove pizzas. Serve warm or cool completely. Top with basil, if desired.
Storage; Store the cooled pizzas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 3 months.