Try this chickpea pizza crust if you are looking for a higher fiber and higher protein pizza option. I’m taking chickpea flour and making it into a gluten-free pizza crust that your family won’t be able to resist. Feel free to make a socca pizza Margherita or go for a pizza with the works! It’s perfect with a variety of toppings.
A couple of months ago, one of my Twitter friends alerted me to the idea of a pizza crust made with chickpeas. I found the concept intriguing, and it’s been hanging in the back of my mind.
After all, chickpea pastas such as Banza pasta have become quite popular in recent years. Why don’t we hear more about chickpea pizza crust?
We’ve tried a variety of alternative (and often gluten-free) pizza crusts over the years. Some were store-bought varieties, while others were created from popular recipes. Some of my unique pizza crusts have included:
- Cauliflower pizza crust
- Broccoli and kale pizza crust (yes, it was green!)
- Butternut squash pizza crust
- A crust made with the Fat Head pizza dough recipe (This was an almond flour and cheese-based low-carb crust. An adapted version of the dough makes excellent herbed cheese crackers!)
- A “meatza” crust (This is a carnivore crust made of cheese, eggs, and ground beef. The results were incredibly filling and kind of like a pizza burger minus the bun.)
As you can see, something that is notably absent from this list is a chickpea flour pizza crust. It’s amazing that I missed this one, since as I’ve talked about before, my son really loves chickpeas. So, let’s get to it, shall we?
There's no need to reinvent the wheel! Let’s start with socca!
You can already find chickpeas being made into flatbreads in certain cuisines, so there’s no need to invent something completely new. Unleavened chickpea pancakes, also known as socca, are a traditional dish in Nice, France.
In parts of Italy, a similar pancake made with chickpeas goes by other names, including farinata and cecina. It seems like a small stretch to try throwing some pizza toppings on there!
One of the best things about socca is how simple it is to make. All you really need is chickpea flour, olive oil, and water, and all of this deliciousness can be yours. Spices and herbs are a nice touch, but not required.
I was making a lot of socca early in the pandemic when we were trying to limit our grocery store visits. With my teen home all day long, I realized that I needed to have a lot more snacks on hand than was typical. Socca served as a great between-meal filler (and helped to use the excessive amount of chickpea flour I had).
Even if yeast, white flour, and sugar are missing from stores, you can make socca. And with this recipe, you can also have pizza!
To make this dish, I started with my go-to socca recipe from The Kitchn. Here’s the thing though, you can’t just use this recipe as-is.
We tried it. The flatbread is really too soft for pizza. (Unless, that is, you don’t mind eating your pizza with a fork.)
No worries if fork pizza is not your ideal. After a bit of trial-and-error, and a too soggy pizza or two, I think I’ve really nailed this chickpea pizza crust thing. We ate the failed chickpea pizza experiments so that you do not have to.
We’re generous like that.
How to Make a Chickpea Pizza Crust that Holds Your Toppings
Like most gluten-free pizza crusts, this crust made with chickpea flour does have a different texture than those made with white flour. However, it’s still yummy, and you don’t have to eat it with a fork!
I have two main tips to get a chickpea crust that is sufficiently firm on the bottom without sogginess. Ready?
First, heat the crust in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop for 3-5 minutes BEFORE popping it in the oven to broil. This is the key to make a crust that holds up to pizza toppings. The downside of this method is that the thick batter may form large bubbles on the stovetop.
This is no big deal though. Just pat the bubbles down with the back of a spoon before adding your tomato sauce. The sauce brings me to my second important tip.
Second tip: don’t get overly generous with your toppings that add a lot of moisture. See the picture of the sauced up socca below? This was ½ cup of tomato sauce, and it was too much.
Add your tomato sauce sparingly! One-third cup looks like it will be too little when you spread it on, but it will be perfect.
Also, there’s no need to top your pizza as I did in the recipe below. Use your favorite toppings, but make sure you don’t add too much moisture!
For example, if you make a Margherita pizza, ensure your fresh mozzarella slices are dry. Pat them a bit with a clean paper towel if you have to.
What was I saying? I think I’m getting hungry. Haha
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The calorie information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to this post. Let’s get cooking!
Chickpea Pizza Crust (Make a Gluten-Free Socca Pizza!)
For the chickpea pizza crust (adapted from The Kitchn):
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup water
- 2½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
To top your pizza:
- ⅓ cup pizza or tomato sauce (choose one with no added sugar)
- 3 ounces shredded mozzarella (85 grams)
- 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, drained, chopped small
- 2 tablespoons sliced olives
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves (for garnish, optional)
- Whisk the chickpea flour, water, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and 1½ tablespoons of the olive oil together in a bowl. Keep whisking until the mixture is thoroughly combined without lumps. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). During the last five minutes of step one, turn your oven to high broil. Put an 11-inch (27.9 cm) cast iron skillet in the oven to heat it up.
- Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and swirl to coat the bottom. Pour in the chickpea flour batter and (carefully!) tilt the skillet so the batter completely covers the bottom.
- Heat the skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. Large bubbles may form in the batter, this is fine.
- Next, place the skillet in the top third of the oven. Broil on high for approximately 5 minutes. Your chickpea crust should be firm and nearly finished cooking.
- Remove the crust from the oven. Let any air bubbles deflate a bit. You can pat them down with the back of a spoon if needed to flatten the crust. Thinly spread the sauce on the crust. It is important to not add too much sauce to your pizza, this will make it soggy.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella on your pizza, then top with the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and Parmesan.
- Return the pizza to the oven and broil on high for an additional 3 minutes. The cheese should melt.
- Let the pizza cool a bit before garnishing with the basil leaves and cutting into slices.
- The pizza holds together best if cut into small slices. I recommend cutting it into 8 slices. Enjoy!
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). The calorie count on this recipe is for half of this small pizza, a realistic portion of four slices. I’ve given this dish the bump to level 3 due to the presence of flour. It may be easier to create the calorie deficit needed for weight loss by limiting products made with flour. That said, the chickpea flour here does offer more satiating protein and fiber than a classic white flour crust. If you did want to lighten up this meal, I would do the following:
- Cut back to a 2-slice portion of the pizza
- Add a side salad of non-starchy veggies (no croutons, cheese, etc.)
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of a low-calorie, low-oil dressing to the salad
- Consider adding more non-starchy veggies to the salad and/or a lean protein if the suggestions above don’t feel satisfying enough to you
If a more traditional pizza crust sounds better to you, don’t miss my pizza with whole grain spelt crust recipe. It’s a great choice for those who prefer a thin and crisp crust (though it’s not appropriate for gluten-free diets).
Otherwise, I hope you enjoy my chickpea pizza crust recipe! Here are a few questions for you:
- What types of alternative pizza crusts have you tried?
- Have you ever tried socca (or farinata or cecina)?
- What are some of your favorite pizza toppings?
I look forward to reading your answers in the comments below!