Gluten Free Pizza Crust Comparisons

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I was recently in a serious mood for pizza. It's a food I don't often get to enjoy on the AIP diet. But I thought I'd give it a go with some gluten free options. My mom bought Wiehan and me a frozen cauliflower pizza crust from Trader Joe's a few months back. After ignoring the box in the freezer for awhile, I decided to finally do something with it. While the crust was very nice, my sudden pizza interest lead to a full-on hunt for the perfect AIP pizza crust product or recipe that I can use on a regular basis. So I decided to run through each crust we tried, with a pros and cons list. 

I kept the toppings more or less the same for each crust experiment. Mine had pesto made from Grazed and Enthused’s Pesto Chicken Pizza recipe. I left off the garlic powder, but otherwise followed the recipe. It's very nice if you like pesto! (Wiehan does not.) I added olives, artichoke hearts, chicken, bacon, goat cheese (no, not AIP - a splurge), and a dusting of himalayan salt. Wiehan’s pizzas had Organicville Pizza Sauce, mozzarella cheese, chicken and bacon. Sometimes when available, his also had sausage. 

Trader Joe's Cauliflower Pizza Crust

For those who live near a Trader Joe's, this one has the convenience factor, as well as the low price in its favor, for $3.99. It holds up when cut, and it has a really nice consistency and taste. The downside for us is that it’s not organic, which most likely means GMOs, and it contains corn flour and cornstarch, which neither of us digest well. And for those allergic to nightshades, it contains potato starch. 

Next we tried Against the Grain Gourmet - 12” Three Cheese Pizza Crust, purchased from MOM’s. This one is delicious, as it should be with practically all dairy in its ingredient list. It also holds up well when sliced and eaten by hand. The downsides? It's about double the price of the Trader Joe's crust. And while it’s gluten free, it’s definitely not AIP friendly, with all that dairy. I also don’t like the inclusion of Canola Oil - an ingredient I always try to avoid. 

The Paleo Coconut Flour Pizza Crust from Empowered Sustenance tasted delicious and had a really nice doughy consistency, most similar to a regular pizza crust. However, I'd never eaten arrowroot flour before and it gave me a similar reaction to corn products, with some digestive discomfort. I like the idea of cauliflower much better than the coconut or arrowroot flours, since the vegetable can be grown locally, making it a more sustainable option based on where I live. 

Last, but not least, I tried the AIP Cauliflower Pizza Recipe from Healing Autoimmune. With cauliflower as its main ingredient, the price is great. But this one has a few downsides. First, while the most sustainable option with the cauliflower base and home prep, it was therefore also the most labor intensive. It requires cutting up cauliflower into smaller pieces, then putting it into a food processor, cooking it (the recipe calls for microwaving, but I opted for steaming on the stovetop instead), draining the cauliflower with a dishcloth, mixing with other ingredients and flattening into a crust shape, with a lot of dishes that got dirty along the way. The crust was photogenic and the pizzas looked great. But when I sliced into them, it was clear the crusts had too much moisture. I ended up scraping portions off the pizza dish, onto a plate and eating with a fork. For the most part, the crust had a really nice taste, but the garlic was way too strong for my liking and I should have kept it out. 

After all this experimenting, it's no surprise really that my pizza cravings fanned out pretty quickly. I also didn't really find an option that really suits me. If the Trader Joe's crust was organic, as well as sustainably produced, I'd be more likely to incorporate it into our meals once or twice a month. But for now, I'm stumped and taking a break from pizza experiments. The only reason I avoid wheat and most grains is because my body doesn't seem to react well to it. So what I'd really love is to heal from grain intolerances altogether, and be able to eat real pizza, made from sustainably grown, presoaked wheat flour. Maybe one day!

And one last side-note: In mentioning the prices of the crusts on the pros and cons list, it's important to keep in mind that while as a consumer it feels nice to save money, food should really cost a fair price for the amount of cost and labor that goes into the food production. I'm willing to pay more for fair trade products, as compared to conventional products, for the health and wellness of the people and environment involved in keeping me fueled.

- Christin

Do you have a favorite gluten free pizza crust recipe? Let us know!