Vegan Polenta Crust Pizza with Italian Flavors
I have made it my life mission to make the typical comfort foods healthy without making too big compromises on the taste. And pizza has been on many trial runs in my household. From sweet potato, cauliflower crust pizza to crust-less pizzas – all have been pretty successful. Don’t you worry, all will end up on the blog eventually! But today I give all the honor to polenta. Recently I started to see it everywhere. It looks like old fashioned cheap corn flour has been brought to life by food bloggers and Instagrammers! Yes, polenta is simply - corn flour. There is lots of confusion out there about it though. I was there as well in the beginning. But the difference between the traditional corn flour and corn flour for making polenta lies in the grinding method and corn type. But I won’t get much into that, I am not an expert and I just read upon it on our beloved Google to get rid of that question mark in my head.
When it comes to nutrition, corn flour isn’t your super food giant, but it is still good for you! And it is also gluten-free!
I tried to make polenta crust twice now. Three times, actually. If you count the first disastrous attempt to cook polenta without reading the information on the package and in result getting limps of polenta the moment it reached boiling water. Mistakes were made. Keep in mind, polenta must be added into warm water, not boiling.
The other time it worked out really well, but then I forgot to make measurements of the ingredients. Oh well, just more reasons to make the pizza one more time! And a week later, here I am, with a ready recipe for you and the exact measurements!
If you buy corn flour for polenta making and read the cooking instructions on the back side, you’re first thought will probably be “Heeelll no!”. I actually said it out loud when I read it. It says 35-40 minutes of cooking while continuously stirring. Really? Unless you really wish to get your wrist ripped, I have good news for you. There is no need for that. About 10 minutes will do for this recipe. But it does involve loads of stirring and at the very end the thickness of polenta porridge doesn’t make it very easy. So, get yourself the steadiest kitchen stirring tool you have. Other than that, the whole cooking process is struggle free.
There is some magic happening when you combine polenta with marinara sauce. It’s a real match of flavors! To make this recipe even easier, you can skip making your own marinara and just use the store bought. I’m all for simple recipes, but this time I don’t really recommend it. Marinara sauce here is the main accent and it should be made with love! It takes only 2 minutes of work to make the sauce and then you leave all the rest of the work to the simmering. Easy and so totally worth it!
I went for typical Italian flavors this time. Well, polenta is after all an Italian dish. And you can really feel how it all matches up.
If you never made anything from corn flour, this is a good possibility to get yourself introduced with it! I have no doubts you will love it! I must say it was a big hit at my home!
Vegan Polenta Crust Pizza with Italian Flavors
Makes 2 medium size pizzas
For the crust:
2,5 dl corn flour for polenta
800 ml water
1 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp of oil from a jar with sun-dried tomatoes
salt & pepper
1 tsp olive oil
400g canned tomatoes
½ red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp coconut sugar
A small bunch of fresh basil leaves (can also use dried basil), chopped
Salt & pepper
Button mushrooms, sliced
Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Sun-dried tomatoes , roughly chopped
1. I like to start with making marina sauce. Start with heating a medium sized pan with a tea spoon of olive oil. Add onions and garlic and sweat it until translucent. Then add canned tomatoes, sugar, basil, salt & pepper and cover the lid. Let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes or while you cook the polenta.
2. To make the crust start with putting water to boil with a pinch of salt. When water gets slightly warmer, start adding polenta flour while stirring continuously (very important, you basically never stop stirring through the whole process).
3. Add Basil and pepper.
4. Once water gets to the boiling point you will notice that it starts to slowly become thicker.
5. At the end, when it gets harder and harder to stir the porridge due to its thickness add basil and few table spoons of sun-dried tomatoes infused oil.
6. Line up your baking sheets with baking paper.
7. Spread polenta onto the baking paper forming round pizza base. It might be challenging, but just try your best. I find it easiest to use a spatula for that. I also brush the ends with a little more of that oil from sun-dried tomatoes.
8. Place the crust in the pre heated oven up to 180°C for bout 20 minutes until the crust gets this shiny top glaze but isn’t hard yet. Take it out, spread marinara sauce over the crust, assemble all the toppings (except for rucola) and put it back to the oven for about 20 minutes more until the toppings look ready.
9. Take out pizza from the oven and top it with a bunch of rucola before serving.