Monday, May 18, 2015

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

After long, busy weekends, a little tradition has been Sunday night pizza nights. We just sit around together, play on the floor with the kids and have pizza. It's easy throw together and I'm not spending a ton of time in the kitchen, making another mess to clean-up after. It's pure relax mode!

It was another busy weekend. It was only Saturday and I knew I was going to make a pizza on Sunday night. I was already excited about it. I even had pizza crusts in the freezer so the work was extremely minimal. It got to be Sunday night and I wanted more. I wanted a Cauliflower Pizza Crust. I couldn't shake the craving, but I didn't want to go to the store, sorry Cauliflower Pizza Crust ... you'll have to wait until another day.

I was rolling out the dough for a regular pizza crust, when I spotted my spaghetti squash on the counter. I've made spaghetti squash pizza crusts before and as the flavor is really good, they have been really soggy. Now that I have the method down for the Cauliflower Pizza Crust, I thought it must be the ticket for having a crispy spaghetti squash crust too ... squeeze squeeze and squeeze some more of the liquid out of the crust! Pure childhood excitement was pumping through my veins. I really wanted to make this crust!

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

I explained to Paul that I really wanted to cook (luckily, he never opposes) and I threw the squash in the oven right away. I was going to use the same exact recipe as the Cauliflower Pizza Crust, but I didn't have any zucchini. I needed something to beef up the crust a bit and I definitely didn't want to run to the store and make this dinner go even longer! I decided to use my red quinoa. It has a great nutty flavor and I love the texture. It stays a bit crunchier than regular quinoa. I almost always have to have caramelized onions whenever I make squash. In my book, nothing goes better than caramelized onions and squash. Sorry peanut butter and jelly, but it's true!

I did have the change the method a bit and flip the crust, but the results were the same. We had a delicious and crispy gluten free crust. The kids gobbled it up so fast that Paul and I only had one slice!

I still love the Cauliflower Pizza Crust, but it's great to have an equally great alternative!

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

Makes 1 crust

1 spaghetti squash
1/4 c quinoa (I use red quinoa)
1/2 c water
1/4 c onions small diced
1/4 c cornmeal
1 egg
1/2 c parmesan, shredded
1/2 c mozzarella, shredded
1 t oregano
1/2 t garlic
1/2 t salt

Preheat oven for 375º.

Cut spaghetti squash in half. Fill a pan with a 1/2 inch of water and place the squash halves cut side down. Bake for 30 minutes or until soft. Let it cool and scrap the insides of squash out with a fork. It will look like long spaghetti noodles.

Turn the heat up to 400º once the spaghetti squash is out and put your pizza stone in to start heating it up.

While your squash is cooking, you can get the rest of your ingredients ready. First, cook your quinoa. Place the quinoa and water in a pot. Bring it to boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Once all the water is absorbed, the quinoa is done. I like using red quinoa for the recipe because it stays a bit firmer that white quinoa and I like the added texture in the crust. Both work fine.

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

Saute the onions in a bit of oil on medium heat so they get to be a nice golden brown color.

Once the squash, quinoa and onions are ready.

First, you want to squeeze ALL of the liquid out of the squash. To really be effective, you want to use a thin towel or cheesecloth. It's too hard to squeeze it really dry with just your hands. Once dried, you should be left with about 3/4 of squash 'meat'.

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

Then, place all ingredients into a bowl and well.

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

Place a piece of sprayed parchment paper on your pizza stone and spread out the pizza crust. It should make about a 12" crust and be pretty thin.

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

Bake the crust for 18 minutes. Take it out of the oven and flip it. It's super easy by picking up the parchment paper on both sides and flipping. You won't use the parchment paper again, it's just there to help flip. You should be able to see that crust is starting to brown nicely. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

Then, top the pizza with the tastiest toppings you can think of. I love arugula, tomato, basil and parmesan a touch more mozzarella. Bake for another 8 minutes.

I let mine cool for a couple minutes before cutting to help it firm up a little more.

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

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