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{GF + vegan} spring veg pizza with caramelized onion cream

GF + vegan spring veg pizza with caramelized onion cream // the first messspring vegetables // the first messGF + vegan spring veg pizza with caramelized onion cream // the first mess
Our backyard came complete with hundreds of ill-placed decorative rocks, a mysterious pile of crumbled concrete pieces inside of a rotted tree stump, a patch of persistent and ever-spreading weeds, a rusty-ugly metal shed, out of control plants/trees of all kinds, creepy angel and toad statues, a pond buried somewhere in a back corner, and just a general lumpy/unevenness. I’ve spent a lot of time out there cleaning up and moving the rocks, planting some new things, reseeding the lawn, making plans for new additions. Most often though, I’ve been cursing the previous owners like it was my day job, which is to say I’ve been wasting a lot of time getting angry’d up.

I went to the passport office with my mum recently for a renewal and the woman ahead of us was seriously mean mugging. Her son wasn’t prepared with the documents, the whole thing was a waste of time, they’d have to wait forever, and when the clerk sent her over to the waiting area, her frown went deeper into scowl territory. Her passing “This is bullshit” comment was heard by anyone within a 10 foot radius. It probably goes without saying that witnessing this sort of thing bums me out. I’m an avid avoider of the comments section of any popular news/current events website. I’m all dismissive hand waves when a conversation spirals towards the pointless stewing over of certifiable crap. So it’s all the more annoying that I’ve been slipping into a discouraged funk with our dwellings.

Mark and I were treating some weeds before dark the other day, just doing the spray thing and having a little hang. We went over the massive patches and spiky scary things twice and were taking turns bemoaning the pervasive nature of it all when he said “This is kind of fun though…” We hadn’t quaffed the obligatory post-yard work beer yet, so naturally I was confused. But his point was that one day we could be out there, looking at the literal and figurative fruits of our labour, full to the brim with pride because we did it ourselves. “It’s way better than just walking into something new that’s ready to go, right?”

And ooobviously he’s right. Trying to positively shift the mind away from notions of drudgery and over towards conceptions of adventure has proven to be a difficult daily meditation of sorts. It’s been easier with the warmer days and more frequent opportunities to make some progress, so a little cheers to spring’s unavoidable vibe of opportunity seems just right today. Celebrations with pizza are decidedly in order.

I saw this beauty of a pie on Pinterest and was immediately pulled in by the idea of a crust composed of essentially soaked grains. I did some rooting around and eventually settled on the idea of combining millet and quinoa for mine. The process of making it and the end result reminded me of socca big time, so I definitely loved it. The density of the crust makes this so satiating, and as far as figuring and mixing goes, this is a fairly easy gluten-free maneuver for delicious pizza. No flour figurin’ and replacement-oriented math, you know? I topped it with a savoury and rich caramelized onion cream that will blow your mind, seriously. I’m prone to exaggeration on most days, but this pizza is so crucial.

A few other spring-y add-ons:

I have a recipe for pea shoot, mint and walnut pesto up on BuzzFeed Food, and I humbly offer you 4 tasty ways to use it.

This article/collection of resources on proper harvesting and cultivating a sense of “enough” when approaching ramp season should be useful for some of you. Leave it better than you found it, peeps.

My bud Jessica Murnane from One Part Plant made a gorgeous e-cookbook of vegan and delicious cookies to span a whole year. I contributed April’s raw oreo recipe and for that reason, she’s letting me give away a copy of A Year of Cookies! on Facebook. Click here to enter + also honk if you love cookies.

Oh and! The First Mess was selected by the editors of SAVEUR Magazine as the best special diets blog this year! Thanks for supportin’ a lady and for getting me so excited about creating and sharing in this space. Good things on the up and up :)

Last thing. Spring tunes? Yes, you got to. This album has been on repeat ’round here.

coconut cream // the first messvegan caramelized onion cream // the first messGF + vegan spring veg pizza with caramelized onion cream // the first messartichoke etc. // the first messGF + vegan spring veg pizza with caramelized onion cream // the first mess

GF + vegan spring veg pizza with caramelized onion cream recipe
crust recipe barely adapted from For Life!/Café Johnsonia
serves: 2-4
notes: You could use all quinoa or all millet instead of a mix if you’re lacking one of the two. I topped this pizza with a little lemony salad of sliced black radishes and whole parsley leaves for a fresh bite, but that’s strictly optional since I know mixing salad and pizza is a little weird for some people. Also, the caramelized onion cream (along with a nice squeeze of lemon juice) makes an excellent veggie/cracker dip situation once it’s been chilled for about an hour or so–very much a classic french onion dip vibe :)

crust ingredients:
3/4 cup quinoa, soaked overnight
3/4 cup millet, soaked overnight
1/2 cup filtered water
1 tbsp olive oil
salt + pepper
optional: chopped herbs, minced garlic, minced chilies

caramelized onion cream ingredients:
1 tbsp oil + extra if needed
1 medium cooking onion, sliced into thin half moons
1-2 sprigs of thyme, leaves chopped (optional)
1-2 cloves of garlic, sliced
big splash of sherry vinegar
salt + pepper
1 can of full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight

pizza + assembly:
5-6 spears of asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces or quartered lengthwise
2-3 green onions, sliced crosswise or down the middle lengthwise
1 artichoke, trimmed of tough outer leaves
chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. On the counter near your oven, set up 2 8-inch cake pans, some heat-tolerant oil (like grapeseed or refined coconut oil), two trivets/hot plates, a paring knife, oven mitts and a spatula for batter-spreading/flipping.

Rinse the soaked grains in a fine meshed sieve and then scrape them into the pitcher of your blender. Add the 1/2 cup of water, oil, salt and pepper. Blend this mixture until you have a thick, pancake batter-like consistency (if you have to add a bit more water to get the batter moving, go for it). Stir in any chopped herbs, garlic etc at this point.

Place your cake pans in the oven to heat up for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove them and place them on your trivets. Pour about 1-2 tablespoons of oil into each and then place them back in the oven for 3-5 minutes. You want the oil to move fluidly across the pan and shimmer a bit (but avoid a smoking point!). Remove the pans and divide the quinoa batter between the two pans. Quickly spread the batter out a bit with a spatula and return the pans to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the pans, flip the crusts over and return them to the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool crusts in the pans or on a rack. Lower your oven temperature to 400 degrees F.

For the caramelized onion cream, heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion slices and thyme leaves, if using. Sauté the onions, stirring here and there, until they’ve become soft and golden brown (but not crisped on the edges). Lower the heat if they seem to be cooking to quickly. Add the garlic and sauté for another few minutes. Add the sherry vinegar, some salt, and pepper. Stir until all of the vinegar has been absorbed/evaporated. Open the can of coconut milk and scoop the top layer of cream (all of it) into the pan with the onions. Let it melt and bring the whole mix to a simmer. Once the liquid has thickened a bit, remove it from the heat. Carefully purée the coconut cream and onion mixture in a blender until mostly smooth. Cover the cream and set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and place the quinoa millet crusts on top. Spread the caramelized onion cream on the crusts and top the cream with the asparagus and green onion pieces. Gently tear away the tender leaves from the trimmed artichoke and place them on top of the pizzas. Drizzle a bit of oil on top and season with salt and pepper. Slide the tray into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and the cream has browned/bubbled a bit. Garnish the pizza with the chopped chives and serve hot.

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Katie @ Whole Nourishment23/04/2014 - 6:09 am

Congratulations on the win! And love the idea of this soaked-grain socca-like pizza crust. Perfect pizza for Spring!

Chelsea // The Naked Fig23/04/2014 - 8:24 am

HOLY MOLY!! This looks incredible! Delicious spring flavors and that caramelized onion coconut cream!!! Thank you!

Haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine23/04/2014 - 8:30 am

Ohhh my, this looks so great! Beautiful pictures!

molly yeh23/04/2014 - 8:50 am

i would like to jump in a pool of this caramelized onion cream plz. thx :)

lynsey23/04/2014 - 9:25 am

OMG I love this so much. I can’t wait to get home and start soaking some grains!! xo,

Kathryn23/04/2014 - 9:49 am

I was so glad to see that you won the editors choice award; it’s so well deserved and I hope yo have a total blast in Las Vegas! Intrigued by the idea of this millet/quinoa crust. Definitely going to give it a go asap.

Beth23/04/2014 - 9:57 am

I love that crust recipe! I will definitely give it a try. Finding a decent vegan, gf crust has been difficult, and I love pizza.
By the way, I LOVE that cartoon with Mrs. Krabapple!

shanna mallon23/04/2014 - 10:07 am

Um, WOW. Yes, please.

Also, yes, please, to the shifting focus–such wise words. I need that, too.

Caramelized onion cream? YUM!

Sini | my blue&white kitchen23/04/2014 - 11:46 am

First of all, huuuuge congrats on the Saveur BFBAs! Girl, you so deserved it. And secondly, this pizza looks to die for. The flavor combination is top-notch, and I’m eager to make the crust as well. Yay!!

dishing up the dirt23/04/2014 - 12:20 pm

I absolutely love this recipe. I’ve been making a lot of quinoa pizza crusts recently but your toppings are what have sold me here! That cream sauce has me drooling. Congrats on the SAVEUR award!

Cassie23/04/2014 - 12:42 pm

Love the idea of a quinoa/millet crust… just pinned this, can’t wait to try!!

Elizabeth A.23/04/2014 - 1:08 pm

Congrats Laura! You had my vote.

And I’m definitely going to be trying this pizza crust recipe. Brilliant!

Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth23/04/2014 - 1:21 pm

Congratulations! This recipe is proof of yet another reason why your blog’s win is much deserved. Looks amazing!

Eileen23/04/2014 - 2:16 pm

Ooh, just look at all those beautiful spring vegetables! I LOVE this idea. You could not get a better pizza topping!

Lisa @ Simple Pairings23/04/2014 - 2:26 pm

Ooh, so fantastically fresh and colorful! I love this. Perfect for spring and summer nights!

Jodi23/04/2014 - 4:08 pm

Caramelized onion cream!? Just pure genius, Laura! This pizza looks amazing! Happy Spring x

sandra23/04/2014 - 8:16 pm

hurray for vegan pizza. and spring!

Laura23/04/2014 - 11:42 pm

This looks wonderful! Should the quinoa and millet be cooked before soaking overnight? Thanks!

Lindsey | Cafe Johnsonia24/04/2014 - 12:24 am

This is STUNNING! I’m totally doing half millet next time. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous pictures!

Laura Wright24/04/2014 - 9:26 am

Hi Laura, The quinoa and millet are raw/in their uncooked state when they go in for the soak!
-L

Lindsey24/04/2014 - 11:25 am

I love this post soooo much, what is life really w/o pizza. And all these spring veggies are just too vibrant and beautiful.

This space you’ve created has always been a “happy-place” of mine, something I look forward to each week, so I am beyond happy that Saveur recognized you with your win! xo

[…] good does this pizza look??? Spring veggie pizza with caramelized onion cream. And it’s […]

[…] spring veg pizza with caramelized onion cream. that […]

Claire26/04/2014 - 11:13 pm

Hi Laura!! I was wondering if I could substitute millet (or the quinoa for that matter) with some other grain… like brown rice say?? Or maybe even a bean like lentils? Thank you so much for the lovely, genius ideas every time I look at your beautiful blog.

[…] Spring veg pizza with caramelized onion cream :: The First Mess […]

Laura Wright27/04/2014 - 2:11 pm

Hi Claire! I”m honestly not sure. I’ve only tried this crust with the half and half millet + quinoa mix, and one version that was all quinoa. I don’t know if the rice would soften up enough to grind into a batter? The lentils may work, although I think the flavour might be stronger. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful. Honestly I don’t think it hurts to try and and all grains/pulses–you should get something that’s workable. Let me know how it goes if you try something different!
-L

[…] I’m still drooling over this spring veg pizza recipe from the First Mess. Every Sunday my friends and I gather to cook a feast together, catch up […]

Connie03/05/2014 - 5:42 pm

I just made this and OMG!! it is soooooooo good! The creamy sauce is so good that it was hard to save it for the pizza! I changed up the toppings a wee bit – but the sauce!?!? YUM!!!!!!!

REALLY, YUM!!!

Saskija06/05/2014 - 11:26 pm

I just made this (with 100% quinoa) and it was delicious! I put a little lemon grass paste, minced garlic and fresh rosemary in the batter. That might be weird, but it tasted really great. I’m making it again this week. The only thing was that the artichoke leaves got fairly dried out. I think I’ll steam them and put them on afterwards. I found that the more asparagus and green onions, the better. Thanks so much for this nourishing recipe!

[…] I’ve been reading a lot about gluten-free sprouted grain pizza crusts recently (like this one and this one), and I immediately knew the pizza to make: prosciutto and gorgonzola with balsamic fig jam. This […]

Katie09/08/2014 - 1:03 am

Hello, can I use quinoa and millet flour instead of soaking the grains? do you do it this way in order to soak the grains for health benefits? If the flours were an acceptable method, what would the measurements be?

I appreciate your reply. I have an inflammatory arthritis and I have to minimise starch and I have been looking for a suitable pizza base recipe – cause I can’t be without home made pizza!!!!

Thank you so very much,

Laura Wright12/08/2014 - 8:43 am

Hi Katie! I soak the grains for this recipe because I do quite like the idea of simply using the whole, sprouted grain. I’ve never tried this recipe with the respective flours though and honestly have no clue on what the measurements or ratios would be. Maybe a browse around some of the gluten free sites will hint at something more informed than my experience. I will recommend another alternative sort of pizza recipe that I turn to from time to time when I have the craving though. It’s Green Kitchen Stories’ cauliflower crust pizza and it’s so, so tasty. Link: http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/green-pizza-with-a-cauliflower-base/
-L

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