This post was originally shared in June 2019 and has been updated as of April 2020 with improvements to the text and recipe.
Vegan and Gluten Free Broccoli Pizza Crust
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.
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.
All About the Toppings
Much like a regular pizza dough, the broccoli flatbread offers a pleasant but not overwhelming carrier for the pizza toppings. A vibrant cheese & nut free pesto with lots of lemon, lightly adapted from my green minestrone, followed by lots of in-season veg. Of course if you’re reading this during autumn, or winter, or late summer, a good tomato sauce and mix of other vegetables will taste just as good paired with the mild base.
Because the pesto is light and bright and assertive, it adds the loudest flavour element here. Think of the toppings as pesto partners. This is what I call pizza nowadays as I am living the cheese free life and don’t love vegan cheese, and both Graham and I are loving it despite the vast difference between sort of traditional pizza and this. (We have periodically ordered in crappy vegan pizza while renovating but this is better.)
If you’re making this for children/partners who are used to regular pizza, maybe consider another name? I can see hormonally raging teenage me being very disappointed to be served this when I thought pizza was on the menu but know I would have loved it if I was thinking of it was something else. Pesto flatbreads?
Or just, you know, make what you like and do what my mom did and tell your children to make their own food if they don’t like it.
Making the Pizza Crust
It is very, shockingly easy to make this. Riced – in other words, grated – broccoli, chickpea flour, water, olive oil, and salt and pepper are mixed up in a bowl or food processor and the dough is ready. Press it onto a baking sheet, no rolling, and you’re ready for toppings.
You’re looking at a 10 minute cooking time here for the broccoli flatbread, then another 15 for the toppings, so 30 minutes total is a pretty conservative but doable time frame if you prep all the toppings while the first bake is happening. You either need a food processor for this recipe or a strong grating arm – without a processor you’ll have to grate a head of broccoli by hand.
The pizza crust base can’t take substitutions, really. I’ve had a few people ask about subbing other flours for the chickpea flour, but since it’s essentially an egg replacer, I don’t recommend using alternatives.
The toppings, on the other hand, can be whatever you like. Tomato sauce, roasted vegetables, vegan (or regular) cheese, mushrooms, whatever’s on hand. The toppings on this broccoli pizza would be great with this crust.
Let’s connect! If you liked this recipe, make sure to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you! Tag me on instagram @occasionallyeggs and #occasionallyeggs so I can see what you’re making, and stay in touch via email, facebook, and pinterest.
Broccoli Pizza Crust
- 1 head broccoli (~400g / 14oz)
- 150 grams / 1 cup chickpea flour
- 60 ml / 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 60 grams / 1 1/2 cups basil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 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
Vegan Broccoli Flatbread
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F.
- 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.
• 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.
Serving Size:1 piece
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 242Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 13gSodium: 827mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 8g
This data is provided by a calculator and is a rough estimation of the nutritional information in this recipe.