Meals are one of our favorite things, we love to eat. So in reviewing 2013 it only made sense that we reflected on our top meals of the year. There were some great eating moments in there… phenomenal Indian food and the best cocktail of my life on a date at Vij’s in Vancouver, sharing a 5 year dream with my sister finally eating at Pure Food and Wine in New York, Grass fed burgers at Hopdoddy’s in Austin with my in-laws, a gorgeous at-home candlelit Christmas dinner with friends, breakfast at Sarabeth’s… but topping it all off and coming in #1 for best food was a pizza at an unassuming little restaurant in Washington DC. It tempted me with it’s chickpea crust and was topped with roasted squash, spinach, hazelnuts, goat’s cheese and a lemon vinaigrette. Unbelievable. And accompanied by a really good beer (well stealing sips of my husband’s at least) it was hands down the best meal of the year, so I had to try and recreate something similar!
The almond crust actually turns out similar to the chickpea one but has the advantage of being legal for the paleo crowd, and can be made with DIY almond milk pulp which is always useful. I’ve put two recipes below, the main one and then a variation for using the pulp. Both hold up really well as a slice and are tasty and come approved by friends and husband.
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1/2 tsp garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
First, preheat the oven to 350F
Mix all the ingredients together well with a fork, reserving a 1/2 cup almond meal. Add in more almond meal as needed until the dough begins to come together as a ball. Place the ball of dough between two sheets of wax paper and press it out into a round about 1/4 inch thick. Peel off the top layer of the wax paper and place the pizza crust on a baking sheet and put it into the oven for 10 mins. After 10 mins the crust should be cooked enough to remove from the wax paper and turn over. Cook for a further 10 mins. You can now add whatever toppings you want! For this one I roasted half a sweet potato and blended it with a little olive oil, salt and garlic and used that as a sauce then added a little goat’s cheese. After another 5 mins in the oven I topped it with the arugula and chopped almonds. Another slight variation I’ve done was butternut squash, spinach and hazelnuts – delicious!
**Almond flour variation** I’ve also made this with the leftover pulp from making almond milk. Dry the pulp out on a low oven heat then blend to a fine flour when it’s cooled. Just use 1 cup of the flour in the recipe above and an extra tbsp of oil. A great way to use up the leftovers!