The Rise of the Chickpea Flour Pizza Crust

It’s time to reinvent pizza… again! And the good news: It’s healthier than ever.

While many vegans and health-conscious consumers have adopted cauliflower crust as the ingredient of choice when making their own pie, a new trend is emerging that has Nikken Foods’ seal of approval for being as delicious as it is healthy.

Say hello to chickpea crust pizza – or should we start calling it ‘chickpeazza’?

Chickpea flour is the main ingredient and it’s made out of ground, dried chickpeas – also known as besan or garbanzo beans. It has a nutty or beany flavor that is relatively neutral overall. A staple of the Indian diet, the trend of using this versatile ingredient for all things sweet and savory has spread through Europe and has finally reached American shores. And it’s no surprise that Americans immediately put its health benefits to use improving our guiltiest pleasure food in the world of comfort eating: pizza.

Chickpea flour crust greatly improves the nutritional value of your pizza when chosen as an alternative to regular white-flour crust. Chickpea flour packs a lot of protein – around 20g per cup – and is a big source of dietary fiber as well – about 12.5g per cup. More good news: It’s low in calories and carbohydrates while still supplying essential nutrients like folate, iron, magnesium and zinc. Who knew you could have your pizza and still be watching your weight and promoting optimal digestion? Plus, for anyone with a gluten sensitivity, chickpea flour keeps you free and clear of gluten.

So, how did Chickpeas get so popular?

Chickpeas, famous for their starring role in hummus, are now being leveraged in baked goods and more thanks to their versatility, affordability, nutrition-density and gluten-free benefits. The result is a healthy, high-protein alternative for classic comfort foods like pasta, rice, ice cream and pizza.

Food Business News spoke with Food Trends Forecaster, Elizabeth Moskow who has been tracking the rise of flatbreads and pizza crusts formulated with chickpea flour: “I think the next cauli crust may be the chickpea crust.” This is big news, as “back to basics” consumers are always looking for new, tasty ways to stay healthy, satisfy cravings and stay innovative with their food.

As many brands quickly line grocery shelves with chickpea-based products like chickpea pasta and rice, chickpea puffs, chocolate-covered chickpeas and chickpea cookie dough, consumers are just as fast at snatching them up – which has fueled what Well and Good magazine describes as a “garbanzo explosion.”

Thanks to consumer recognition and inexpensive ingredients, chickpeas are serving an important role as the wellness ingredient that meets many diet requirements of plant-based food, gluten-free, vegan-friendly and better-for-you snacking.

Ready to try chickpea flour crust?

While it won’t necessarily look like the pizza dough you may be used to, it bakes into your new favorite snack quite easily.

To prepare the crust, first preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a bowl to stir together chickpea flour, water, 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt, pepper and turmeric until you get a smooth mixture. Since it’s more liquid than traditional crust, spread it on baking paper or silicone baking mat in a round shape about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. For those using baking paper, add olive oil to the paper before spreading the dough to keep it from sticking. A silicon baking mat may be your best bet if you don’t want to use any oil. Place the crust in the oven for 15 minutes until you see lightly golden edges. Now you’re ready to take it out, add your favorite pizza ingredients and place back in the oven for around 10 more minutes. Enjoy!

At Nikken Foods, we have some delicious, all-natural powdered ingredients that add incredible flavors to chickpea flour products. Enjoy these with your favorite recipes:

For more flavor and food product enhancements, contact Nikken Foods today!