Winter. It’s that time of year when the holidays are over, but cold and flu season lingers like long-staying houseguests. Now’s a great time to get food working for your immune systemThis pizza recipe is in high rotation at our house. We’re always ready to eat pizza, and fighting colds seem the perfect reason this week. It’s got an immune-boosting mix of toppings and a healthy buckwheat-chia enhanced crust, which is chewy yet crisp on the bottom. Buckwheat is not a grain nor it is related to wheat. It’s actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb and it imparts a mild nutty flavor to the crust. It’s gluten free and because it helps maintain blood sugar levels, it keeps you fuller for longer. Chia seeds are loaded with omega-3s, plus calcium and magnesium.
Plain old cremini mushrooms have been shown to have great immune boosting power. Onions and garlic help your body fight off bacteria. Red bell peppers and spinach are high in Vitamin C. And humble chicken – there’s a reason why chicken soup is such a popular flu fighter – chicken is high in Vitamin B6, which helps form red blood cells and combat colds and flu.
Immune-Boosting Roasted Garlic and Cremini Buckwheat Pizza
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 tsp active yeast
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 2 tbsp chia seeds, ground
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup /120 grams buckwheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
- PInch sea salt
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into rings
- 4-5 cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cooked chicken breast, diced
- 1 bulb roasted garlic To roast garlic, Cut the top of the bulb off, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in tin foil. Roast for one hour at 350 degrees F.
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, or other favourite olive
- 1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 cups /225 grams mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan cheese, for dusting
- 1 cup favourite pizza or pasta sauce
- Handful of baby spinach or kale
- 1/2 cup sauteed mushrooms and onions
In a large bowl, add the yeast. Pour the warm water over and add the maple syrup. Whisk and let stand until you see foam or bubbles. Whisk in the ground chia seeds and the olive oil.
In a separate bowl, mix together the buckwheat and regular wheat flours with the salt. Add the dry mix to the wet mix and stir with a wooden spoon. This will take a bit of arm muscle. When you’ve got a ball of dough knead a few times. If the dough sticks to your hands, add a bit more flour – I usually add more wheat flour – until the dough is smooth and doesn’t stick.
Cover and let dough rise for at least an hour in a warm spot. I often make the dough early in the day (even at breakfast!) and let it rise all day in my pantry or cupboard. This is a great trick if you haven’t got time after work to let dough rise…
Sauté the onions and mushrooms in about a tablespoon or so of olive oil at low-medium heat. I find it takes about 15 minutes to get them soft and browned.
While these cook, chop up the cooked chicken, red pepper, olives and whatever other good stuff you’ve chosen. Grate the mozzarella and keep the grater and parmesan handy for the final touch.
Of course, you could make homemade pizza sauce…. But this is one place I take a short-cut and I use my favourite pasta sauce from a jar. I like using pasta instead of pizza sauce. I just take what I need from the pasta jar and back it goes into the fridge – no waste, and I’m not limited by the size of the pizza sauce can.
If you’ve got the time, here’s an option to sneak in a few ingredients. In my mini food processor, I put about ½ cups of the sautéed onions and mushrooms, plus a handful of baby spinach and whir it together with the pasta sauce. Now I’ve got some vegetable content onto my son’s ‘cheese and chicken’ pizza.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Using a lightly oiled rolling pin, roll out the pizza dough onto a lightly oiled baking tray or pizza stone. When I make this recipe I use two baking trays and I make one small kids pizza and one large adult pizza. For the kid size pizza, I use about one large fistful of dough. The rest goes to the adult pizza. Crust should be rolled to about ¼ inch thick.
Prebake the crust for about 12 minutes. Remove from oven, put on your toppings and bake again for 12 minutes. Broil for 2 minutes if you like the cheese nice and browned.