Not Your Ordinary Pizza

June 7, 2011 at 10:39 am 5 comments

This post is in honor of my beautiful sister, my best friend in the whole world. We have been practically inseparable since we were little (we looked through some baby pictures last night for proof!) and have been through a lot together. She is always my nurse and expert milkshake-maker after surgery, and now it is my turn to repay the favor. Over the past year, she has had increasingly severe intestinal pain, mostly associated with eating. Last summer, we realized that one trigger of her symptoms was dairy, and so she gave up lactose-containing products. Initially, her symptoms seemed to disappear, but slowly, they began to come back, even without any lactose in her diet. However, she is not a complainer, and so for the past year has masked how bad she has truly been feeling. However, she could not hide for much longer as the pain continued to escalate. After talking to some friends and doing a little research, we realized that gluten (a protein in all wheat products) could be another potential trigger. We realized the magnitude of this realization, especially since my sister’s favorite foods in the world are pizza and bagels (like any good Jersey girl!). After thinking about it for a few weeks, however, my sister concluded that feeling better was more important than her beloved treats. Therefore, she started avoiding gluten last week. In order to be supportive, I am also going gluten-free for these initial few weeks. Even after just a few days, she is already feeling so much better. The sparkle in her eyes and the joy of her smile has returned, and she is no longer sluggish and sick after meals. She is going to see a doctor to confirm her self-diagnosis, but until then, all of my cooking (and recipe posts) will be gluten-free and lactose-free for the next few weeks.

Since my sister’s favorite Jersey treat is pizza, I knew that would be something incredibly difficult for her to give up. I mean, that is the least Chelsea-friendly food in the world, with all that lactose-laden cheese and doughy crust! Therefore, I wanted to experiment with a pizza that would be much more Chelsea friendly. Can you believe that I did it? A lactose-free, gluten-free pizza? When I told my sister, she balked, “Well, what’s even on it? Sauce?!” Eating for a special diet requires a little more creativity and planning, but this delicious pizza proves that it can be done.


I have not yet tackled gluten-free baking since it requires so many replacements (funny named flours, xantham gum, special mixes, different baking times, etc.) and so decided to play it safe with a store-bought gluten-free crust for a trial run. It is expensive, but this crust was so good… my sister and I could hardly tell that it was gluten-free! I made a roasted tomato sauce to up the flavor quotient in every way possible, and it was delicious! Check out this new how-to for making a roasted tomato sauce, which you can use for pizza, pasta, or even as a dip! Lastly, I topped it with prosciutto, fresh basil, and caramelized onions, which I had made the night before in my slow cooker. The slow cooker is seriously my new favorite gadget – caramelized onions are usually so labor intensive, but these took me all of 10 minutes to prepare! With all of the flavor from the different toppings, no one missed the cheese at all. And as with my new theme, everything for this dinner (with the exception of the onions) was made on the grill, giving the crust a cool, crispy texture. My sister was really happy, especially after having a bad food day filled with not knowing what she could or should eat within her new guidelines. Even if you aren’t gluten or lactose intolerant, try out this pizza (you can use a normal crust too!) And if you are vegetarian or vegan, replace the prosciutto with some roasted veggies. Grilled eggplant or balsamic-soaked mushrooms would be a great option here. I guess the moral of this post is to never let food allergies or preferences stand in your way of eating excellent, healthy food. With a little creativity, you can enjoy meals inspired by old favorites that fit your new dietary needs.

Question: Do you or anyone in your household have food allergies/intolerances? How do you deal with cooking meals, and where do you turn to for recipes and inspiration?


Prosciutto and Caramelized Onion Pizza with Roasted Tomato Sauce

inspired by this recipe at Pioneer Woman Cooks

2 personal sized gluten-free pizza crusts, or 1 recipe of whole-wheat pizza dough

1 tbsp olive oil

1 recipe of Roasted Tomato Sauce

1 tbsp fresh basil

1/2 cup caramelized onions

6-8 thin slices of prosciutto

If the pizza dough is uncooked, roll out into desired shape and thickness. Place on an oiled cookie sheet or pizza stone and bake for 15-18 minutes at 400 degrees in oven. Alternately, place on oiled aluminum foil and cook on low heat on the grill for 10 minutes. Once dough is pre-baked, top with a few spoonfuls of roasted tomato sauce, chopped fresh basil, caramelized onions and prosciutto. Split toppings evenly between pizzas if making it personal sized, gluten-free pizzas. Cook directly on grill over low heat for 5 minutes until toppings are warmed through, but make sure heat is low enough to not burn the bottom of the crust.


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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide  |  June 7, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    What a nice thing to do for your sister. I love veggie pizzas and with that proscuitto, I don’t think I’d miss the cheese.

  • 2. ingrina  |  June 8, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Ooohh…what a nice, supportive sister! That pizza looks delicious! And if I ever try out that crust, I think I’ll agree with you (I hope I can one day!). I’m not allergic to gluten, but the bakery in Philly had me sold on gluten free products. I cheated in the gluten-free baking and bought a chocolate chip cookie mix (without the chips) from Whole Foods. They’re delicious! i actually love the texture more than regular cookies. So if you ever feel like cheating, though I have a feeling you probably won’t, try them! There are several brands I have yet to try. But the first one I got I loved, so I’ve stuck to it. =)

    • 3. jenlenew  |  June 9, 2011 at 7:40 am

      i am not above cheating for gluten free baking :) i will have to try out the mix!

  • 4. Gluten-free Baking « homemadeadventure  |  June 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    […] in a special challenge in there, like gluten-free baking, and I want to run and hide! But as I said, I’d do anything for my sister. Since Wednesdays are my day off, I decided to explore the […]

  • 5. Lose those Leftovers « homemadeadventure  |  June 11, 2011 at 10:36 am

    […] pieces and threw it on a sandwich thin with some leftover caramelized onions that I had made for the pizza and some black bean hummus. That made a fantastic picnic lunch at the beach yesterday. Protein […]


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