Recipe: Quinoa Crust Pizza with Kale Pesto

Who needs pepperoni when you've got a fresh, veggie-topped 'za?

Photo by Asia Bradlee

Photo by Asia Bradlee

Alternative pizza crusts are a vital ingredient in the quest to make everybody’s favorite junk food healthier. And while Pinterest is bursting with recipes for veggie-based crusts, the texture doesn’t come close to the soft and slightly crunchy pizza dough we all know and love.

With a quinoa pizza crust, however, the final product tastes very similar to normal pizza dough, but is gluten-free and full of whole grains and protein. With toppings like homemade kale pesto, fresh roasted beets, and a sprinkle of black beans, pizza night just got healthy.

Serves four

For the quinoa crust (adapted from The Wholesome Dish):

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
4 eggs
3 tsp no-salt-added Italian seasoning
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp baking powder

For the kale pesto

3 cups kale
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbs minced garlic
3 tbs walnuts (optional)
1 tsp salt

For the toppings

4 beets
1 can black beans
1/4-1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese (optional)


For the beets:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the beets and slice off the long stems. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the beets are easily pierced with a fork.

Once done, rub off the skin using a paper towel. Slice each beet into thin rounds.

For the kale pesto:

In a food processor, combine the kale, olive oil, garlic, walnuts, and salt. Process the pesto until the kale is very fine. Add more olive oil as you go, if necessary.

For the quinoa crust:

Keep the oven at 400 degrees. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. The quinoa is done when all the water is absorbed. Let the quinoa cool for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, cheese, seasoning, garlic, and baking powder.

When the quinoa is cool, combine it with the whisked ingredients. Spread the crust in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the edges are golden-brown.

To assemble:

Spread the kale pesto over the quinoa crust, and place the beets on top. Open, drain, and rinse the can of black beans, and sprinkle some on top of the pesto. Sprinkle a light coating of mozzarella cheese on top of everything, if desired.

Bake for five minutes. Serve warm.