Pizza Night: Mexican Pizza with Brown Rice + Cornmeal Crust

Hi there! I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad today is Friday! I look forward to Friday evenings with my family all week. Getting to relax and celebrate the week’s end, knowing we can get a few extra hours of sleep in the morning, is absolutely glorious.  Staying home and settling in together is something we treasure and is such a special way to begin the few extra days of togetherness we get on the weekends. 

We started having Friday pizza & movie nights about a year ago. It’s so simple, yet has become a favorite tradition and way to connect with each other. We make the ingredients from scratch, and I get my daughter involved in the cooking. She doesn’t usually eat the pizza varieties I make for myself–she’s a plain ole’ cheese girl–so we make two separate crusts, and I let her roll her own and even toss it in the air a few times (over the sink–just in case!). 

I love experimenting with different kinds of pizza each week. Pizza is so versatile, and it’s really fun to get creative and try unexpected ingredients. This week, I wanted to create a crust that includes intact grains–as in, not just whole grain flour, but the whole grain itself. I added a full cup of cooked brown rice to a cornmeal base, along with some quinoa flakes (because, clearly, I can’t get enough quinoa flakes) and pre-baked it for 10 minutes before adding toppings.

Mexican Pizza Toppings. Glow & Polish

Incidentally, the rice, cornmeal, and quinoa base make this crust gluten-free but without any processed starch flours. (I know that corn and grains are starches, but I’m talking about the tapioca, potato, and white rice starches that are in lots of gluten-free baking recipes. These flours are not much better quality than white wheat flour, but products that contain them are often mistaken for health foods due to the gluten-free label.)

The crust came out just how I wanted it–a little crumbly like cornbread, but sturdy enough to slice and hold the toppings. And this pizza has a lot of toppings to hold. The rice and corn crust is perfect with loads of Mexican-inspired beans, veggies, and cheeses, and I added some chopped dinosaur kale because 1) it’s my favorite and 2) I add greens to just about everything


Have a wonderful Friday evening. I hope you get to spend some peaceful, quality time with loved ones, and I hope there’s pizza!

Mexican Pizza with Brown Rice + Cornmeal Crust
For the crust
  1. 1/3 c cornmeal + extra for rolling dough
  2. 1/3 c quinoa flakes
  3. 1 c cooked brown rice
  4. 1 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
  5. 1 tbs nutritional yeast
  6. 1 tbs baking powder
  7. 1 egg
  8. 1 tbs olive oil
  9. 1 tbs honey
  1. 3/4 c salsa
  2. 1 c shredded cheese (I used raw mild cheddar and mozzerella)
  3. A few sprigs of fresh cilantro, stemmed and chopped
  4. 1/2 c diced tomatoes
  5. 1/4 c diced red onion
  6. 1/2 c black beans
  7. 1 c chopped lacinato kale (This amount seems like a lot, but it will cook down.)
  8. 1/2 c corn
  9. 1/4 c diced jalapenos
  10. 1 lime, cut into wedges or juiced
  11. 1/2 to 1 full avocado, cut into slices (optional; guacamole would work too)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mix the quinoa flakes, cornmeal, and cooked brown rice in a bowl. Whisk together really well, making sure to break up any big clumps of rice.
  3. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and whisk.
  4. Make a well in the center of the bowl, and add the liquids (egg, olive oil, and honey) and a squeeze of lime.
  5. Whisk, starting from the center to combine the liquids, and slowly incorporating the dry ingredients.
  6. Roll the dough into a ball and place on a large cast iron skillet. If the dough is too wet, add some more cornmeal until it's a bit springy and doesn't stick to your hands when rolling.
  7. Use a rolling pin or a tall, round glass to roll the dough flat onto the skillet.
  8. Pre-bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove the pre-baked crust from the oven and layer with salsa, cheese, and remaining toppings, except for the avocado.
  10. Return to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and the kale is soft.
  11. Let cool, top with avocado, and slice. Enjoy!
Whitney Afton

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