Crisp without being crumbly, this polenta pizza crust is close to flatbread pizza perfection. It's topped with an herby cashew ricotta, which can be substituted for any sauce of your liking. For the vegetables, choose fresh, seasonal produce — or go for melty vegan cheese with plenty of garlic powder and flaked red pepper!

Polenta Pizza With Herbed Cashew Ricotta [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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Serves

3-4

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Ingredients

For the Polenta Crust:

  • 1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal/grits)
  • 3 cups water
  • A big pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the pan

For the Herbed Cashew Ricotta:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked at least 2 hours and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 packed teaspoon fresh lemon thyme or thyme leaves
  • 7 or 8 large basil leaves

 For Topping the Pizza:

  • Zucchini, sliced
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Bell Pepper, sliced
  • Spinach
  • Thinly sliced basil (optional)
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Preparation

  1. To make the polenta for the crust, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the polenta, whisking as you add it. Once it has all been added, reduce the heat to a simmer (medium-low) and keep whisking until the water has been absorbed and the polenta is thick and smooth (about 3-5 minutes). The polenta should be quite thick but you should still be able to stir it easily.
  2. Remove the polenta from the heat, then stir in the olive oil. Grease a baking sheet or a pizza pan generously with olive oil. Do not line it with parchment or the crust won't form properly. Spoon all of the polenta onto the pan, then smooth it out to your desired shape, about 1/4-1/3-inch thick. Once your crust is formed, place the pan in the freezer to set up for no more than 10 minutes. At this point, preheat your oven to 375°F.
  3.  While the crust is setting up in the freezer, combine all of the ingredients for the ricotta in a blender or food processor and run until smooth and thick. If you are using a food processor, it may not get completely smooth, but it will be fine. If the mixture seems too thick, then add a bit more water or lemon juice.
  4.  When the crust has cooled down and set up, remove it from the freezer. Spread the cashew ricotta on the crust in an even layer, leaving about a 1/2-inch border around the crust. Add your vegetables, then bake the pizza for 20-30 minutes, until the crust starts to turn golden at the edges and feels dry to the touch. Let the pizza cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing and eating. Top with the basil and serve.
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