I love the savoury, nutty taste of chickpea flour in classic onion bhajis and chickpea pancakes. Chickpea flour (also known as besan and gram flour) is gluten free unlike wheat flour and a source of many nutrients including:
- Protein - protein and fibre combined in chickpeas can help with blood sugar management
- Fibre - Between 65-75% of the fibre found in chickpeas is insoluble. This type of fibre remains undigested all the way down to the final segment of your large intestine (colon). Recent studies have shown that chickpea fibre can be metabolised by bacteria in the colon to release short chain fatty acids, which fuel the cells lining your intestinal wall. This may help lower the risks of colon problems. Chickpea fibre may also help to lower excess cholesterol/blood fats and creates a feeling of fullness.
- Minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese)
- Anti-oxidants (beta-carotene, vitamin E)
- Vitamins (K, B1,B2,B3,B5, B6, high in folic acid,)
So how about a pizza base made from a combination of shredded courgettes, herbs and chickpea flour?
To make this pizza base I used:
1 cup chickpea flour
1 tsp dried herbs (oregano, marjoram and basil)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp melted clarified butter
- First I set the oven to 180oC and I lightly greased my baking tray with some clarified butter
- I mixed all the dry ingredients together: 1 cup chickpea flour, bicarbonate of soda, herbs, salt and pepper
- I then mixed the seasoned chickpea flour with enough water to make a thick batter.
- Next I grated half of the courgette and mixed it into my chick pea batter.
- I then placed the batter out onto my greased baking tray and with my spoon smoothed it into a nice round shape for my base.
- I placed my pizza base into a hot oven for around 5 minutes so that it firmed up but wasn't fully cooked.
- I topped my pizza base with sliced fresh tomato and loads of fresh veggies.
- I brushed the top of my pizza with a little melted clarified butter and I sprinkled on some herbs, black pepper and a little salt over the toppings.
- I put my pizza back in the oven until the veggies were done. This took around 5 minutes.
- Finally I finished my pizza off with a drizzle of olive oil and some shredded spinach
Looks great. I found this so quick and easy to do, there was no kneading or rolling out required for this pizza base.
There are so many possibilities for variation in the pizza base. The courgettes could be left out from the base or replaced with onions, garlic, grated carrot, shredded cauliflower, chopped parsley and so on. Sprouted grains like buckwheat could even be blended and mixed into the chickpea batter. Cooked mashed starchy vegetables like sweet potato, butternut squash may aslo be mixed into the base. I've even used blended leftover cooked rice mixed into the batter and it turned out great.
The chickpea base has a distinct flavour, which comes through beautifully and is incredibly filling too!
I've also tried this with pizza with a toppings of vegetables with fresh pesto, homemade tomato pizza sauce, cooked mincemeat, roast chicken, sliced boiled eggs, beans or goat's cheese.