Gluten-Free Falafel Pizza, Coconut Yoghurt Tzatziki, Tahini Sauce, Micro-radish Sprouts
I found some banana flour at the store and had to give it a try. I’ve never worked with it before but after a few ratio adjustments, I’d say this recipe is a keeper.
But before I give out the recipe, what makes gluten so desirable from a cooking perspective? Gluten is a water-insoluble protein that is formed when water is mixed with wheat flour. Two of the amino acids within wheat are called glutenin and gliadin. When water is added to dry flour the two proteins “wake up” from a “frozen state” and become flexible and able to move about. Think of them being activated; such as when you add spaghetti to boiling water; the pasta softens! As you mix or knead, more cross-links to form between these amino acids and a large network of chemically linked proteins is formed. This is very strong and provides structure and elasticity to doughs. An example is brioche dough. This dough stretches quite significantly due to the large amount of mixing done. When dough is mixed or kneaded the flexible bonds are stretched in the direction of kneading, providing more opportunities to form cross-links between the proteins.
This brings me to another point to make. With so many digestive problems these days in regards to gluten, what is incurring this? There are a wide array of studies on the topic as the processing of wheat is thought to the be culprit by some. Although the endosperm provides cooking benefits, the nutrition of the isolated sperm is limited. In all-purpose flours, other parts of the grain, such as the brain and germ are stripped.
Traditional methods of flour milling slowly grind the entire wheat kernel. Modern practices do not do this anymore (some still do, you have to do your research) as the shelf life would no longer be stable. Did you know that freshly milled wheat goes rancid due to the germ oil? Unsaturated fats have a carbon-carbon double bond in their structure. These bonds, as found in wheat germ oil, can be destroyed by oxygen in the air. This is called oxidation, which gives us a carbon-oxygen bond! Heat increases the rate of this reaction as do improper storage methods. Rancid foods lose their vitamins, but they also can develop potentially toxic compounds! So be careful! These compounds have been connected to advanced aging, neurological disorders, heart disease and cancer. That’s why you want to avoid frying oils which have been reused several times, heating olive oil to high temperatures… etc. It all has to do with those double bonds.
Alright, back to the point of this post, here’s the recipe for this pizza, hopefully I haven't lost you. I made a dairy-free version for myself, though pictured is a version with feta for my guests. This made 4 pizzas of about 7” each for me.
400g Banana Flour (it’s made with green bananas-high inulin = pre-biotic = good food for our beneficial gut bugs!)
1 can full fat coconut milk
¼ ground flax and 2 tbsp olive oil- blended together to form a gelatinous “egg-like” mix
¼ tsp salt
¼ dried oregano
¼ dried thyme
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1.25 tsp baking powder
Jarred of homemade tomato sauce
Fallafel, crumbled. I made mine (sweet potato quinoa; though you can use whichever recipe you would like or healthy pre-bought product; even veggie burgers)
Coconut Yoghurt Tzatziki
½ cucumber grated and squeezed of excess water. (Make sure to drink this water, it’s delicious.)
1 cup coconut yoghurt
1 tbsp lemon juice and zest
Chopped fresh parsley and dill
2 tbsp cashew butter
Salt and Pepper
¼ cup tahini
2tbsp lemon juice
2tbsp olive oil
2tbsp raw honey
¼ cup water
Combine all ingredients for the dough, and let rest for at least one hour. Meanwhile, make coconut yoghurt, by mixing all ingredients in the bowl. The same process applies to the tahini sauce (nothing complex here! You could make tahini if you wanted!)
After the dough has been refrigerated, roll it out onto a lined bake tray with parchment. I did not use a rolling pin as the dough is very fragile! I simply used my fingers while taking a bit of excess banana flour to avoid sticking.
Once the dough is shaped, add your sauce, toppings, in addition to a drizzle of tahini sauce. (Save some for when the pizza is done.)
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, rotating the tray. Once the crust has coloured, and you able to slightly pick up the pizza without it falling apart, you’re golden. Let cool slightly and drizzle with tahini sauce, coconut tzatziki and microgreens of choice (or arugula, spinach…etc.).