Curried Chickpea Pizza with Coconut Tomato Sauce and Whole Wheat Beer Crust

28 Aug

As I made this pizza, I recalled all of the pizza-related memories of my childhood. That’s one of the beautiful aspects of food – great food often brings back great memories. My dad would often make homemade pizza for us, using a package crust mix, tons of meat and veggie toppings, and even more cheese. The result was a treat we all drooled for, and always fought over the leftover pieces. When it wasn’t homemade, we’d sometimes go out for pizza as a family prior to doing the weekly grocery shopping. And on the weekend days we spent on the boat, we were too beat to cook anything afterward and normally picked up a pizza on the way home, to sit in the air conditioning and cool off.

I hope to continue making pizza memories. And I don’t think I’ll be forgetting this specific pizza anytime soon. Craving both a curry dish AND pizza for dinner, I decided to combine the two into one meal. A beer-filled whole wheat crust cradles a coconut tomato sauce, and is topped with roasted curried chickpeas and vegetables. For the non-vegans, a few shavings of parmesan cheese finish it off for a pizza that can’t be beat. The combination of sweet, savory and umami shine through in this pizza.

Curried Chickpea Pizza with Coconut Tomato Sauce and Whole Wheat Beer Crust |

Curried Chickpea Pizza with Coconut Tomato Sauce and Whole Wheat Beer Crust

Serves 4


  • 1-1/2 tsp active yeast
  • 3/4 C warm water
  • 1/4 C lukewarm beer
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 C all purpose flour + more for kneading
  • 2 tbsp cornmeal, for the pan

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine yeast, warm beer and warm water. Let dissolve completely.

Mix in the melted oil and honey.

Using the hook attachment, mix in flour one cup at a time. Let the mixer knead the dough for you, about 5 minutes. Alternatively: mix in flour with a spoon and knead by hand if you want an arm workout ;)

Grease a bowl and place the dough inside; cover with a tea towel and set in a warm place to rise, for at least one hour.

While the dough rises, turn on the oven to 475°. Place the pizza pan or stone that you’ll use into the oven on the bottom rack. This will ensure the pan and oven are the same temperature when you bake the pizza.

Curried Chickpeas & Veggies:

  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp parsley
  • Salt & pepper

With the dough rising and the oven on, make the roasted curried Chickpea & veggie topping.

Combine all the veggies and chickpeas in a bowl. Pour over with melted oil and add all the spices. Mix well to coat completely.

Line a small baking sheet with foil and spray with PAM. I really like the coconut oil variety. Spread out the spiced veggie mixture and roast on the middle rack for 35 minutes.

Remove from oven, but keep the oven on.

Coconut Tomato Sauce:
Makes 2 cups sauce

  • 1 28 oz can whole stewed tomatoes – drain the juice!
  • 1/4 C canned coconut milk
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper

Prep the sauce with the veggies roast.

Add to the jug of your blender the tomatoes, coconut milk and spices. Puree until smooth.

Using a fine mesh sieve, separate the tomato seeds from the sauce. This will make it thick and delicious. Discard the seedy pulp.

To make the pizza:
1. Roll out dough to your preferred thinness.
2. Remove the heated pan or stone from the oven and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal.
3. Place the rolled out dough onto the pan.
4. Spread sauce on top, using as much as you prefer.
5. Spoon the roasted veggies on top to cover completely.
6. Optional: sprinkle shavings of parmesan cheese on top.
7. Bake at 475° for 10 minutes on the middle rack.
8. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before slicing into 8 pieces.
9. Enjoy!

Curried Chickpea Pizza with Coconut Tomato Sauce and Whole Wheat Beer Crust |

I clearly need to work on my pizza crust rolling abilities. But just like people, pizza comes in all shapes & sizes, right?

Exercise Nutrition + a Plum Ginger Protein Smoothie

26 Aug

It’s hard to figure out what to eat after exercising. Usually, I’m exhausted, sweaty, and in no mood to cook. That’s why healthy snacks are my go-to for post-workout nutrition. Here are a few of my favorite nutritious treats:

  • Nut butter and fresh fruit – whether it’s peanut butter with a banana, almond butter with an apple, or sunbutter with an orange, this combo is hard to beat after exercising, as it provides a balance between carbs, fiber, fat and protein.
  • Avocado toast with a fried egg – perfect balance of fiber, carbs, healthy fats and protein to refuel after a particularly grueling workout.
  • Homemade granola with soy milk or plain Greek yogurt – granola is something I make quite often in the cooler months, and has a satisfying texture. When paired with protein-filled milk of yogurt, it refuels you just the right way.
  • Homemade hummus with raw veggies and whole grain crackers – If my workout happens later
  • Protein smoothie – sometimes I want something sweet, cold and quick. A smoothie checks all those boxes, is incredibly versatile, and packs a lot of protein.

You can never have enough smoothie recipes, so here’s another for you! This plum-ginger smoothie is naturally sweet, tangy, and very frothy. It’ll give you a ton of protein and the illness-fighting benefits of ginger come in handy as back-to-school season is upon us.
Plum Ginger Protein Smoothie |

Plum Ginger Protein Smoothie
Makes 1 smoothie

  • 2 plums, chopped
  • 1/2″ piece fresh ginger, peeled & sliced
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 C plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 C soy milk
  • 1 tbsp honey

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. To give it a frothy texture, use the “whip” button for a minute. Pour into a glass, and enjoy!

Summer Bean and Veggie Salad

22 Aug

This month’s Recipe Redux theme is “Back to the Dinner Table” and I know no better way to get people together at the table in summer than with a wonderful sandwich bar, complete with salads and drinks. It’s a low-key way to make sure everyone gets exactly what they want to eat, keep the heat off in the kitchen, and enjoy good conversation.

Sandwiches are self-explanatory, but salads are where you can make or break a meal. Most salads run the risk of being full of fat, sugars and simple starches: potato, egg, tuna, you name it. That’s why this salad is such a great alternative. It’s packed with fresh veggies, embracing the summer produce, lightly dressed with a flavorful vinaigrette, and spiced just right for a punch that enhances the experience.

It also requires no heat, and very little effort. Chop, mix, whisk and combine. Chill and you’re ready to go!

Summer Bean and Veggie Salad
Serves 8

1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 can chickpeas , rinsed & drained
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
2 jalapeños, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 C corn kernels, fresh or frozen
3 tbsp chopped green oniom
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil (throw in some garlic-infused oil too)
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
Sea salt & pepper to taste

Mix together all the beans and veggies in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, mix together lemon juice, oil and vinegar. Add the spices and whisk well to combine and emulsify. Pour over the bowl of veggies and mix well.

Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.

PB&J Cupcakes

21 Aug

These cupcakes take the best childhood sandwich combination to the decadent, desserty level. I made these to accompany the sea salted double chocolate cupcakes for this past weekend’s baptism. A light, brown sugar cupcake is filled with sweet strawberry jam, and frosted with a smooth, peanut butter whipped buttercream.

PB&J Cupcakes |

Just look at that! Make these for your next party – kids and adults alike will love the sweet treat.

PB&J Cupcakes |

PB&J Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

  • 2-1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C fat free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil
  • 1/2 C skim milk
  • 3/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 C brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 24 tsp smooth strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 325. Line two cupcake pans.

Combine milk and lemon juice; set aside to curdle.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a bigger bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and keep whisking.

Alternate adding flour mixture and curdled milk, whisking well to combine.

Once all mixed together, scoop into cupcake liners, 3/4 full.

Bake at 325 for 25 minutes. Cool completely.

Peanut Butter Whipped Buttercream:

  • 1 C granulated sugar (not powdered!)
  • 4 egg whites (discard yolks or save for another use)
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C creamy peanut butter
  • 12 tbsp (1.5 sticks) room temp unsalted butter, cut into small pats
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Bring a saucepan of water to simmer. In a medium metal bowl, whisk together sugar and egg whites. Place over simmering water.

Whisk constantly until sugar dissolves, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Using an electric mixer, beat on high speed until cool and thick, about 5-6 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then peanut butter. With mixer running, add butter a few pieces at a time, beating to blend between additions. Season with salt.

Set frosting aside to cool.

Beat jam in a food processor to give it a smooth, whipped consistency. Remove the middle of the cupcakes and knife or cupcake corer and spoon in whipped jam.

Pipe cupcakes with buttercream. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Sea Salted Double Chocolate Cupcakes

19 Aug

What’s better than chocolate? Double chocolate with sea salt :) Oh yes, these cupcakes embody all that is good in the world. Loaded with chocolate, the cakes are moist and the ganache is so decadent, you can’t help but experience a watering mouth at the very sight of these beauties. To top it all off, the cupcakes are sprinkled with just the right amount of flaked sea salt.

Sea Salted Double Chocolate Cupcakes |

Yes, these cupcakes are perfect no matter the occasion. In this case, I made them for the baptism party of my friend’s adorable son, Ethan. Everyone loved them, despite the hot temperatures – proof that chocolate is good no matter the conditions! Make these for your next gathering, or indulgent night in.

Sea Salted Double Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

Ganache Frosting:

  • 2-1/2 C (15 oz) dark chocolate chips
  • 1-1/4 C heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp flaked sea salt

Heat heavy cream in a heavy pan on medium heat until it comes to a boil.

Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until the mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla.

Transfer to the bowl of your stand mixer and let chocolate mixture cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Bake the cupcakes while the ganache cools.


  • 1.5 C + 4 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2 C granulated sugar
  • 1 C cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C skim milk + 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 C unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 C hot, strong coffee (boiling water will also work)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake tin with paper liners, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a bigger, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Let cool 5 minutes and add the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Use an electric hand mixer to beat well until thoroughly combined.

Slowly pour in dry ingredients until smooth. Pour in hot coffee/water and mix until completely smooth. Batter will be runny.

Divided batter among prepared cupcake liners and fill 3/4 to the top. Lower the oven temp to 325° and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out moist with a few crumbs. Tops should slightly spring back when touched.

Note: reducing the oven and increasing the bake time ensures fully-cooked cupcakes which will not burn nor overflow. It’s a neat trick to use for any cupcake or muffin!

Sea Salted Double Chocolate Cupcakes |

The reduced temperature and increased bake time equal a perfectly cooked cupcake with just the right amount of bounch.

Let cool in the tins for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. While cupcakes are cooling, finish the frosting.

Whip the cooled chocolate mixture with the beater attachment of your mixer for 5 minutes on medium speed or until mixture creates stiff peaks. Scoop whipped ganache into a piping bag fitted with your tip of choice. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sea Salted Double Chocolate Cupcakes |

These adorable grey paper liners were found on sale, so I stocked up!


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