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Gluten-Free Living

Gluten-Free Living: Lots of pizza options available

  • Gluten free pizza<br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)

    Gluten free pizza

    (SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)

  • Gluten free pizza<br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)

    Gluten free pizza

    (SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)

  • Gluten free pizza<br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)

    Gluten free pizza

    (SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)

  • Gluten free pizza<br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)
  • Gluten free pizza<br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)
  • Gluten free pizza<br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)

Every time I go to the grocery store these days, there’s yet another variety of gluten-free pizza: pre-made crusts stacked in the freezers, mixes in the baking aisle, personal-size pies already topped with cheese and sauce.

From a marketing standpoint, this makes perfect sense. Americans will spend about $32 billion on pizza this year, according to the industry website yourguidetopizza.com. That works out to about 350 slices eaten every second.

It’s unclear how many of those pies are built on gluten-free crusts, but the number is certainly growing thanks to the increasing availability of allergy-safe products. All of these options can get overwhelming, so we tested some of the brands stocked by grocery stores in the Concord area. Here are four of our favorites:

Against the Grain Pizza Crust

Good for: Pretty much anything. It’s on the thin side, but stays chewy, even after a quick reheat in the microwave.

Pros: Wonderfully chewy and, unlike some other gluten-free crusts, holds together under soggy toppings.

Cons: Pricier than the other brands we tested and a little harder to find. Laden with cheese, which is great for the texture but makes this off limits to anyone allergic to dairy.

Udi’s Pizza Crust

Good for: Anyone craving a crisp, thin crust. It’s marketed as a pizza crust but could easily stand in for a pita, naan or other flatbread. Also free of dairy or nuts, making it a good choice for those with multiple food allergies.

Pros: Quick cooking, versatile and increasingly easy to find. Nice crunch and neutral flavor.

Cons: So thin it’s almost flimsy.

Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Crust Mix

Good for: Deep dish varieties or anything that uses pizza dough, like the breadsticks below.

Pros: Versatile, easy to find and, once it’s cooked, sturdy enough for heavy toppings and creamy sauces. Rustic, yeasty undertones.

Cons: While this mix is far easier than cooking from scratch, you’ll still have to dirty a few bowls before enjoying your slice.

Glutino Personal Pizza with cheese and sauce

Good for: Late nights when turning on the oven and ripping open a box is about all you can handle. Easy to gussy up with spices, sauces or creative toppings like the fried egg variety below.

Pros: It’s pre-made.

Cons: It’s pre-made.

Any one of these products can satisfy cravings for a piping hot pie topped with cheese, tomato sauce and traditional toppings. Just make sure the ingredients – especially pepperoni and sausage – are gluten free.

For anyone who looks at a pizza crust and sees a canvas for culinary creativity, we’ve provided a few suggestions for unusual topping combinations.

They’re all great for dinner, but you could easily serve small slices as appetizers or use the fried-egg pizza as the centerpiece for a quirky brunch.

Green Pizza

1 frozen gluten-free pizza crust

A few large handfuls of fresh baby spinach

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ of a medium onion, chopped fine

6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onions, and saute until golden brown. Reduce the heat a bit and add the spinach, stirring until wilted. Spread the spinach mixture on the crust. Top with cheese. Bake according to the instructions that came with the crust.

Mediterranean Pizza

1 frozen gluten-free pizza crust

¾ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil

½ cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped

4 ounces feta cheese crumbled

Top crust with tomatoes, olives and cheese. Bake according to the instructions that came with the crust.

Cheesy bread sticks

1 package Bob’s Red Mill Pizza, plus ingredients listed on back on package

2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup real Parmesan

Following the instructions on the back of the package, make the pizza dough. Add the herbs and garlic powder during the last few seconds of mixing. Form the dough into ropes and place them on a pizza stone or a lightly oiled baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

Breakfast pizza

1 egg

1 prepared personal size gluten-free pizza

hot sauce (optional)

Bake the pizza according to package directions, but remove it from the oven a few minutes early. Turn on the broiler and place an oven rack in the highest possible position. Put the pizza on a cookie sheet and crack the egg on top.

Carefully slide the pizza under the broiler and cook until the whites are opaque and the yoke is slightly set. Serve immediately, perhaps with hot sauce.

What do you like on your pizza? Visit concordmonitor.com and tell us in the comments below the online version of this story.

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