I’ve been seeing veggie flatbread recipes pop up for years now, but they all seem to be a riff on the old standard cauliflower pizza crust, which is just minced cauli, a pile of eggs, and pricey nut flour. Despite it being in the name and everything, we don’t eat a lot of eggs. I love experimenting with recipes to leave eggs out because I don’t often have them around – unlike shelf stable chickpea flour.
Chickpea flour is hands down the best egg replacer in savoury baking/cooking. No weird added textures, it binds just like eggs, and, if noticeable, has a pleasant nutty flavour. This is pretty much a thicker broccoli socca and I’m into it. I think you will be too.
The vegan and gluten free broccoli pizza crust base here only uses six ingredients, including water and spices, and it’s mostly just a head of broccoli and chickpea flour. If you’re looking for pizza pizza, this isn’t it. It’s the loosest possible definition of pizza, a vaguely bread-like base with toppings.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Broccoli: this works just as well with purple sprouting broccoli (if you’re a gardener!) as with more common Calabrese. Look for dark green florets with no yellowing.
- Chickpea flour: this is the egg replacement and the recipe simply isn’t as successful with other flour types. You could try something like rye flour, but the texture will change.
- Spices: add in some herbs or other spices if you want to change up the flavours. Consider this a base recipe.
- Pesto: I use this dairy-free pesto, but you can use any you like, or jarred. Replace it with marinara for a more traditional pizza flavour.
- Toppings: these are springtime toppings, but in the summer you could use this vegan pesto pizza as a guideline, or winter pizza during the colder months.
The instructions offer an option to add more water if needed because chickpea flour can vary quite a lot depending on how finely milled it is.
If you don’t have a food processor, grate the broccoli with a box grater, then mix the flatbread ingredients in a large bowl until combined. This is a bit more time consuming but certainly within the realm of possibility.
How to Store
Storage: the base softens as it sits, especially with toppings on it, but it can be stored for a couple of days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Freezing: I haven’t tried freezing this, baked or not, but don’t see why it couldn’t be frozen. I would make mini pizzas or flatbreads so that they can be more easily stored in the freezer.
To Make Flatbread
If you want the flatbread on its own, just bake an extra 3-5 minutes during the first bake (it needs two, one for the flatbread and other for the “pizza”) and cut into pieces. To go that route, shape into more of a rectangle than an oval so you can cut squares.
Alternatively, you can shape the dough into mini ovals or rounds to make individual flatbreads or pizzas, extra cute for kids! Just reduce the baking time accordingly and take them out when the edges and top are golden.
I’ve also kept things really simple here, without many spices, but to jazz things up try adding some harissa, minced garlic, lemon zest, herbs, and so on. It’s a blank canvas.
- Don’t eat it raw: uncooked chickpea flour is truly appalling, but tastes great when cooked. Don’t test the dough before putting it in the oven, you’ll regret it.
- Dampen your hands: it can be easier to press the dough into an even layer if you dampen your hands slightly beforehand. It’s usually not necessary but something to keep in mind if it’s sticking a bit.
- Use the stalk: not only for this recipe, but generally speaking, broccoli stalks are delicious. Be sure to peel them, but otherwise use as you would florets, roasted or steamed or served raw.
More Gluten-Free Mains
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Vegan Broccoli Pizza Crust with Spring Vegetables
Broccoli Pizza Crust
- 1 head broccoli ~400g
- 150 grams chickpea flour
- 60 ml water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon pepper to taste
Dairy-Free Pesto (variation)
- 60 grams basil
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Juice of a lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 big handfuls hardy greens spinach, rucola, chard (~60g)
- 1 handful asparagus halved lengthwise (~300g)
- 1 handful radishes thinly sliced (~50g)
- 1 small zucchini thinly sliced
- 1 green onion thinly sliced
Broccoli Pizza Crust
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Break the broccoli into florets. Peel the stalk and cut into chunks. Place the broccoli into a food processor* fitted with the blade attachment and pulse until it’s broken into very small pieces, like rice.1 head broccoli
- Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and pulse until combined. The dough should be easy to form into a ball. If it’s too dry, add water a tablespoon at a time until a malleable dough forms.150 grams chickpea flour, 60 ml water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon pepper
- Place the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and use your hands to press it into a roughly oval shape, about 1cm thick. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden. If you want the flatbread without the pizza, bake for an additional 3-5 minutes to allow it to firm up a bit more.
- Remove from the oven and cool slightly before topping and baking again. Don’t remove the flatbread from the baking sheet.
- Add the basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice to a narrow bowl or container and use an immersion blender to mix until almost smooth, then add the olive oil in a slow stream while blending. Alternatively, use a small food processor or blender.60 grams basil, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, Juice of a lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
- Spread the pesto onto the pre-baked flatbread, then top with the greens, followed by the remaining toppings. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the asparagus is just tender. Serve hot.2 big handfuls hardy greens, 1 handful asparagus, 1 handful radishes, 1 small zucchini, 1 green onion
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This post was originally shared in June 2019 and has been updated as of April 2020 with improvements to the text and recipe.