Buckwheat & avocado thin-crust pizza; South of France and Italy inspired

For those who know me well, it is no real surprise to hear that I have an undying love for pizza. Precious little stands between me and the enjoyment of these heavenly base and topping combinations. Basically I believe that any food I love – asparagus, cheese, crab, wild mushrooms – will taste even better cushioned on top of a soft, delicate, yet resilient and crisp crust. They’re the perfect vessel for creative variations. Most benchmark their choice of pizza against the best in Naples and Rome, but I have also enjoyed beautiful versions native to the South of France. On the coastline between Nice and Marseille they serve Pissaladière – the best pizzas I have ever eaten (sorry Italy!) Since then, the standard had been set. These Provincial styles provided a choice of toppings that I really enjoy, less tomato and more white-based. In my recipe here however, I’m swopping the french style pastry dough for my healthier buckwheat alternative with an additional twist of avocado, whilst using the french style of toppings. In this way, I still gain the satisfaction of eating irresistible flavours which are elevated to new heights – the perfect marriage between healthy and tasty! How about that?

I have a couple of pizzas lined up for this post – both of which use simple yet great ingredients that work so well in unison – and each one lending a superb French or Italian flavour. It’s also worth mentioning that I love my crust really thin so don’t feel you need to be shy with the rolling pin!

Chevre & beetroot pizza

Beetroot, chèvre, thyme & garden pea buckwheat pizza

This recipe is made for baking in a regular modern electric or gas stove oven. Take in to account that every oven differs. Check your pizza and adjust baking time as needed. For a wholly vegan pizza, you can use vegan chèvre (now widely available; stockist option here)

For the pizza dough:
220g buckwheat flour, plus extra for dusting
10g dried yeast (approx 1 sachet)
1/2 an avocado, mashed up with a fork
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
150ml lukewarm water

For the topping:
75g tomato passata
100g goats cheese (chèvre – see above for vegan option), cut or broken into chunks
1 small garlic clove, peeled & finely chopped or crushed
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1/2 raw beetroot, peeled & sliced thinly
a few cooked garden peas
15g pine nuts, toasted
1 level tsp honey (or agave syrup for a vegan pizza)
a handful of fresh thyme leaves
a handful of fresh basil leaves

1. Mix together all the ingredients for the dough in a stand mixer with dough attachment or by hand in a bowl until a ball is formed. Let the dough rise in a separate oiled bowl for an hour, or until nearly doubled in size.
2. Knock the dough back, then let it rise again for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 200C, 180C fan. Roll out your dough into a thin circle on a surface dusted with more buckwheat flour and carefully transfer onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper or a pizza stone.
3. Prepare some of the topping. Heat a pan with olive oil and add the garlic. Cook for a few minutes before adding the red onion and pepper. Meanwhile, cook the peas to the packet’s instructions in a separate pan, then drain. Set these ingredients aside until needed. Top the pizza with swirls of the passata, leaving a clean edge, (you can skip the passata if you want to make a white pizza, in that case you sprinkle olive oil and a little salt instead of the tomato sauce), then divide the goats cheese, red onion, pepper, beetroot, peas evenly on top. Finish with a drizzle of honey.
4. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes (this time can differ between ovens so you need to watch the pizza so it doesn’t burn. You want a firm, crisp crust though)
5. Remove from the oven and season with some salt and pepper. When ready to serve, add a scattering of fresh herbs, then slice ready to dig in!

Tomato, ricotta & red pepper pizza

Ricotta, tomato, red onion & pepper buckwheat pizza

For the pizza dough:
220g buckwheat flour, plus extra for dusting
10g dried yeast (approx 1 sachet)
1/2 an avocado, mashed up with a fork
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
150ml lukewarm water

For the topping:
75g tomato passata
100g ricotta, broken or spooned into chunks
1 small garlic clove, peeled & finely chopped or crushed
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 red pepper, sliced
a few cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
a drizzle of garlic oil
a handful of fresh parsley

1. Mix together all the ingredients for the dough in a stand mixer with dough attachment or by hand in a bowl until a ball is formed. Let the dough rise in a separate oiled bowl for an hour, or until nearly doubled in size.
2. Knock the dough back, then let it rise again for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 200C, 180C fan. Roll out your dough into a thin circle on a surface dusted with more buckwheat flour and carefully transfer onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper or a pizza stone.
3. Prepare some of the topping. Heat a pan with olive oil and add the garlic. Cook for a few minutes before adding the red onion and pepper. Stir fry for a few minutes until cooked and caramelised. Top the pizza with swirls of the passata, leaving a clean edge, (you can skip the passata if you want to make a white pizza, in that case you sprinkle olive oil and a little salt instead of the tomato sauce), then divide the ricotta, red onion, pepper and cherry tomatoes evenly on top. Finish with a drizzle of garlic oil.
4. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes (this time can differ between ovens so you need to watch the pizza so it doesn’t burn. You want a firm, crisp crust though)
5. Remove from the oven and season with some salt and pepper. When ready to serve, add a scattering of fresh parsley, then slice ready to dig in!

Recipe, styling & photography: Natalie Seldon

About prettyediblestylist

Cookbook author, Food and recipe writer, Food and Prop stylist, Photographer, Jo Malone London stylist, Estella Cupcakes founder. Instagram: @prettyediblestylist
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