It never ceases to amaze me that kids as young as one have an instinctive attraction for junk food. Chocolate. Fries. Cake. Cookies. They just know. Once they've been exposed to these kinds of foods, they'll often talk about it and ask for them again, and again, and again. Rather than neglecting children of these treats, I like to take up the challenge of offering them these 'naughtier' foods; but better. Better ingredients, and better flavour.
Pizza is one of the foods that kids just adore- a big, easy to grasp triangle of starchy carbohydrate covered in fatty melted cheese? It's a kids dream, and speaks to their biological instincts for macronutrient dense foods. This is why kids are so obsessed with toast! It’s a quick source of energy that tastes great.
Unfortunately most pizzas that kids are exposed to at parties or any standard gathering in western culture has possibly come out of a cardboard box housed in the frozen food section of the supermarket. Have you read the ingredients lists on those things? It's like reading a lab report, not a list of foods.
Another problem with the standard pizza offered to children and adults alike in our modern food culture is the problem of the wheat source. Aside from the fact that many kids have allergies and intolerances to wheat; the modern wheat grain that around ninety percent of the western population eats today was only hybridized in the last few decades.
The chromosomal count of this modern wheat is a very new concept to our human biology; where previous versions of wheat like emmer, spelt and einkorn had much higher levels of protein rather than carbohydrates.
This pizza is a rejection of the cheaply made pizzas that are often laden with additives, cheap refined wheat and genetically modified ingredients. But fear not, you and your children will not go without!
This almond meal based pizza from my new book Supercharged Food for Kids is just as delicious, and offers a gluten free alternative that is an opportunity for kids to experiment, choose and be exposed to a range of veggies to adorn their own creation. It also has the tastiest cheese on the block.
- 150 g (512 oz/112 cups) almond meal, plus extra as needed
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 12 teaspoon dried oregano
- 12 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 14 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (concentrated purée)
- 105 g (334 oz/12 cup) oven-roasted tomatoes (optional)
- 65 g (214 oz/23 cup) grated cheddar cheese or goat’s cheese
- 80 g (234 oz/12 cup) chopped ham
- dulse flakes, for sprinkling (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) and lightly grease two small pizza pans.
- To prepare the pizza bases, combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl to form a loose dough. If it feels wet, add a little more almond meal. Dust the bench with almond meal and knead the dough with your hands until smooth. Shape into a ball. Cut the dough in half and roll each portion out into a thin circle about 15 cm (6 inch) in diameter, working from the inside out in a clockwise motion. Add more almond meal if it becomes too sticky. Place the bases on the prepared pizza pans and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the bases from the oven and spread with tomato paste, leaving a 1 cm (12 inch) border. Scatter over the tomatoes, if using, and the cheese and ham, and sprinkle with dulse flakes, if using. Return the pizzas to the oven for 7–10 minutes, or until crispy.
You can freeze the bases before rolling and defrost when required.