Hey Angels and Alphas,
Gone are the days in which there was just one choice for pizza crust.
Now, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of options you have when you look through the menu at a local joint. Same with the food section. And inside the millions of recipes out there on the internet.
Breaking this decision down into just a few steps, depending on the various health goals you have, can actually be helpful. When you already know that some choices that aren’t necessarily “good” or “bad”, you can enjoy your pizza stress-free. Here are a few of the most popular alternatives to pizza crust, as well as all the nitty-gritty nutrition details you might want to know.
ALMOND FLOUR CRUST
Almond flour is crafted out of finely ground blanched almonds, so this flour can be used as a low-carbohydrate pizza crust alternative. Since it does not contain any gluten, pizza crust made from almond flour will also be thin and crispy, as opposed to that thick chewiness you get from traditional crust.
Not to mention, almond flour is nutrient-dense, containing up to 14 grams of fat per cup (most of which is actually heart-healthy monounsaturated fat), 6 grams of protein, and more than 3 grams of fiber. It’s also an amazing source of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that serves to protect our cells from damage.
On average, the almond flour pizza crust mix from your local restaurants will be somewhat low in protein and fiber (with 3 and 2 grams per slice, respectively), but will provide you up to 6 grams of healthy fat per slice.
CHICKPEA FLOUR CRUST
Flour that is made out of chickpeas is gaining popularity, even more so as a pizza crust ingredient. Just like cauliflower, it’s gluten-free and it’s a nice alternative to traditional wheat flour that sparks gluten sensitivities. Chickpea flour is some of the highest-protein flour and comes with about 20 grams per cup.
It’s very rich in fiber, making it a satiating option that can stabilize your blood sugar level after a meal and keep you full. Pizza crust made from chickpeas will typically be thinner and crispier than wheat crust, and plus, it’s fairly easy to make.
SWEET POTATO CRUST
Yes, you read that right. It’s entirely possible to make pizza crust out of sweet potatoes. Recipes typically include mashed sweet potatoes, a flour (like almond or ground oats,) and an egg.
Sweet potatoes are an amazing source of fiber and beta carotene, which the body naturally converts to vitamin A. It’s also important for cell growth, immunity, vision, and so much more.
Like the other delicious crusts we mentioned, a crust made with sweet potatoes would be totally gluten-free and long as no wheat flour is added in its mixing.
It’s usually low in protein, however it can be remedied by including protein-rich toppings such as pre-cooked chicken, an egg, or cheese.
WHEAT FLOUR CRUST
A lot of people believe there’s really no substitute for the original wheat flour pizza crust, which by the powers of gluten, rises during the baking process to produce a thick, chewy crust.
Whole-wheat flour pizza, on average, contains more fiber and protein than white flour. It’s not completely lacking in other nutrients, even though it has been vilified in certain low-carb approaches of dieting. It’s also rich in B vitamins.
An amazing way to add nutrients to any type of these crust options is to just pile on veggies when you make them at home.
Broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, and tomatoes are all delicious options here.
Cauliflower pizza is probably the most popular “alternative” pizza crust. This type of pizza can be made from scratch using just a head of cauliflower, either purchased, frozen, or premade.
One of the most obvious benefits of cauliflower crust pizza is that it has an added nutrition factor – it’s an automatic extra veggie serving (or a couple) in your day. And cauliflower is abundant in antioxidants and the compound sulforaphane, which may have protective effects against diseases such as cancer.
And one of the most popular frozen crusts is called Caulipower, and it’s very low in protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. But it’s gluten-free and might be better tolerated by those with celiac disease or certain sensitivities.