polenta pizza with italian toppings …

Janella Purcell is a naturopath + nutritionist, herbalist, iridologist, wellness coach, author, environmentalist, wholefood chef, TV presenter.

Janella’s healthy food philosophy is keeping it deliciously simple.

I follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram – um … stalker much? Anyways, last month she mentioned the launch of her new book, ‘Janella’s Super Natural Foods’, on Facebook. The opportunity to pre-order the book, through Booktopia, was too good an opportunity to pass up.

The book arrived 2 weeks ago! There’s over 150 recipes to try. The first recipe I tried? The polenta pizza.

1 tablespoon olive oil
500ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) vegetable stock
65g (2 1/2 oz /1/3 cup) fine polenta
1 teaspoon unrefined salt (optional)
125ml (4 fl oz / 1/2 cup) Napoli sauce
2 tablespoons pitted and halved black olives
2 tablespoons quartered sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons Broccoli and mint pesto
1 large bocconcini ball, torn
6 basil leaves or 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1 tablespoon Cashew cream cheese (optional)

* See end of post below for recipes for Napoli sauce, the broccoli and mint pesto and the cashew cream cheese.

1) Preheat the oven to 180C (350F/Gas 4). Lightly brush two 22cm (8.5 inch) pizza trays with a little of the olive oil.

I had just the one pizza pan but it measured 32cm (12.5 inch).

2) Bring the stock to a rolling simmer in a large saucepan then, whisking constantly, rain in the polenta in a steady stream.

3) Continue to whisk for about 5 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed.

4) Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for another 5 minutes until the polenta is very thick. Be careful not to get splattered by a volcanic-like burst of polenta lava. Remove from heat, taste and season but only if your polenta is not salty enough.

5) Allow the polenta to cool slightly, then spread it over the pizza trays.

You can make the crust as thick as you like.

6) Pop the polenta bases in the fridge to set. This will take about 5 minutes.
7) Remove the trays of polenta from the fridge and add the toppings.

First up, spoon the Napoli sauce over each base, then scatter on the olives and sun-dried tomatoes, dollop on the pesto, and finish with the bocconcini and herbs. Drizzle lightly with the remaining olive oil (not essential) and bake for 10 or so minutes until the tops of the pizzas are golden and the cheese has melted a little.

I didn’t make the Napoli sauce. I used tomato paste instead.

Whenever my mum would make pizzas, she would always put the oregano on the sauce before the toppings were added.

This pizza was going to be for me, mum and nonna. I added sliced ham to one half for mum and nonna.

5) Remove the trays from the oven and allow the pizzas to cool slightly before dolloping cashew cream cheese, if using, over them. Cut into slices and serve on the trays.

I cut the pizza into quarters. Mum, nonna and I had a piece each. Each piece was large enough for us. (The fourth piece I kept for the next night.) The pizza was delicious! We all loved it. Granted, you can’t hold the polenta pizza like you would a normal pizza but there’s nothing wrong with using a fork and knife to eat this pizza.

This was such an easy way to make pizza. Mum loved the fact that the pizza was gluten free. She can now enjoy pizza again! I will definitely make this pizza again – especially for my brothers who don’t like ham and cheese. For them, I’ll use tomato paste, mushrooms and pineapple – an interesting mix but that’s how they like their pizzas. Remember, you can use whatever toppings you like. Be creative, go crazy!

Napoli sauce
1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil, depending on your preference
1 medium brown onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 x 400g (14oz) BPA-free tins diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon each unrefined salt and cracked black pepper

Heat a large fry pan over medium heat, then add your oil. Add the onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute for about a few seconds. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf and seasoning and simmer fro about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens and intensifies in flavour.

Cashew cream cheese
155g (5 1/2 oz / 1 cup) raw cashews soaked in 375ml (13 fl oz / 1 1/2 cups) water for an hour
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove (optional)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon each unrefined salt and cracked white pepper

Drain your cashews, then place in a blender with the other ingredients ad blitz until thick and luscious. You may want to adjust the flavours to your liking. It will firm up when chilled for a couple of hours, make it easier to spread. Leave out of the fridge until it softens a little if you want to use it on pasta or as a sauce. It will last for about 1 week, stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Broccoli and mint pesto
1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
20g (3/4 oz / 1 cup) mint, roughly chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
50g (1 3/4oz / 1/3 cup) chopped almonds
50g (1 3/4oz / 1/3 cup) crumbled goat’s feta
1 teaspoon unrefined salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon grated lemon zeest
125ml (4 fl oz / 1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil

Steam the broccoli and garlic for a minute, or until the broccoli is just tender. Using a food processor or mortar and pestle, pulse or pound the broccoli, mint, garlic, almonds, feta, salt and lemon paste to form a chunky paste. Drizzle in the olive oil and process or pound until you have your desired consistency of crunchy peanut butter.

“Everybody likes pizza! It’s a quick and easy clean-up meal.” ~Buddy Valastro


3 responses to “polenta pizza with italian toppings …

  1. Oh this looks soooo yummy …. I hope Gemilla likes it … I cant wait to make the cashew cream cheese… thank you for sharing Maria.

    Did I share the GF roti recipe with you ?

    And have you made the non dairy butterscotch sauce I used with the sticky date pudding ??? ….if so what did your mumma think of it ?



    • Hi Sammi!
      Hope Gemilla likes it too :)
      When you get a chance, please share the GF roti recipe.
      I haven’t made the non-dairy butterscotch sauce yet. I have saved the recipe in my recipe book. I will let you know when I make it.

  2. I experiment sometimes with new recipes whenever I feel adventurous in the kitchen , the following gluten-free, dairy-free optional recipe was inspired by something I saw on a cooking show and on another food blog.

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