Protein Pizza

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When trying to eat a clean high protein diet, there is usually bitter little choice but to lean towards the typical low-carb and higher fat foods. That has two distinct problems. The first is that any type of variety you try to introduce usually means an increase in overall calories, because of higher fat content, and the second problem is that a large portion of products falls squarely outside of your diet altogether. Like Pasta. Now with many of the dessert-type recipes here we’ve already pulled some of those foods back from the brink of oblivion by cooking with protein powders rather than flower, but pizza-dough posed an entirely novel problem, in that its nigh impossible to make with our two high-quality proteins casein and whey. Whey doesn’t lend itself extremely well to this at all, and casein ends up rising a lot and being very chewy (cfr. the apple pie experiment).

The answer came in the form of two different protein powders. Pea and Rice Protein, separately, are lacking in some amino acids, and therefor considered less than ideal as a complete protein source. But apparently one is rich in the amino acids the other is deficient in, and a mix of these two powders proves to be a complete high quality protein. Something to remember not only for things like this, but as a great alternative to the less-than-ideal soy protein for those people with lactose and/or milk protein allergies. XXL nutrition was kind enough to get me samples of both these protein sources, although they don’t carry them at present (maybe if you all massively mail them to show them there is a demand, they will in the future ;) ) and I have to say the results were far better than I expected. I ended up making pizza dough out of 35% pea protein, 35% rice protein and 30% chick pea flour, mixed with egg whites, for a pizza bottom that consists of over 80% protein.

Ingredients :

180g egg whites (from 5-6 eggs)
50g Rice protein
50g Pea Protein
40g chick pea flour
10g Herbes de Provence (mix of rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano)
2g salt
olive oil

Instructions :

Mix all the dry powders together in a bowl and then slowly mix them with the egg whites. Eventually the stuff will get very thick and doughy, at which point, unless you have an industrial type mixer, you would probably do better to mix it with your hands. Spread some flower over your working area and rub some on your dough roller (if you really don’t have one I guess you can use something like a long drink glass). Flatten your ball of dough and then roll it out with the roller until it reaches the diameter of a cooking pan. Now, the dough is a bit brittle, so we will fry it in a pan with olive oil briefly, but even then transferring it to the pan can be tricky business, and you may have to try a few times. After this the hard work is done though. So add olive oil liberally (helps to avoid the dough sticking and the oil really adds a ton of flavour) and let it bake for a good minute or two on one side and another minute on the other, just so your bottom becomes harder and easy to handle. Now all that’s left is adding toppings and placing the whole thing in the oven for 12 minutes at 180 degrees. On my first attempt I just sort of when with what I had (goats cheese, pieces of chicken meatball etc) but the second time I went all out, starting with tomato paste, mozarella, onions and garlic, oregano and basil, barbeque sauce, pieces of meat loaf and italian salami. Obviously you can take quite a bit of liberty with this sort of dish ranging from a frugal base with low fat cheese, broccoli and tuna for the dieting athlete, to something resembling a meat lovers pizza. It’s extremely dense in protein, and really satiating (even if you finish off large commercial pizzas by yourself, you’ll find it hard to finish this one in its entirety) so whatever it ends up being, its usually miles ahead of the alternative in nutritional value and macros.

If I can get my hands on more pea and rice protein, this will probably become a staple in my diet. Because when you have protein pizza, there really isn’t much out there left that you can’t eat, and you really have no excuse not to eat clean and high protein food.

 

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