The secret to crisp, fast and gluten-free vegetarian pizza? Chickpea flour.

  • Feel free to replace the squash with the seasonal vegetables of your choice for Pesto Socca Pizza. See the recipe on Page 4.

    Feel free to replace the squash with the seasonal vegetables of your choice for Pesto Socca Pizza. See the recipe on Page 4. Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

 
By Joe Yonan
The Washington Post
Updated 1/16/2019 10:13 AM

My favorite recipes are those that open up a new lane of cooking and prompt me to imagine that lane leading in all sorts of new directions.

Take the Pesto Socca Pizza I came across recently in "The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook," a collection of more than 600 recipes by seven authors. Now, I've used chickpea flour in myriad ways, starting with pancakes that take shape in France, called socca, and in Italy, known as farinata.

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But writer Marie Reginato does something different, using much less water -- and a touch of almond flour -- to quickly form a dough you can roll out and bake until crisp. The flavor and texture of the crust remind me of pastry more than pizza: It's a little crumbly, in a good way.

After baking the crust by itself, I followed her lead and topped it with pesto, roasted squash and sliced radishes, adding pumpkin seeds and arugula for color and crunch.

This pizza is designed for just one or two servings, and the crust might be too delicate to make much bigger, but you can always make more than one.

Reginato offers that any roasted vegetable could work in place of the squash, and I'm envisioning the sauces that could swap in for the pesto, too -- marinara, hummus, garlicky yogurt. The crust could even turn into a cookie.

Did I mention that it happens to be gluten-free? Sweet.

• Joe Yonan is the Food and Dining editor of The Washington Post and the author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook."

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