Kids love pizza, and keto kids deserve pizza too. Pizza is also a common quick meal, frozen or delivered, for many families on busy days. But with a keto kid you can’t feed the whole family, so it’s nice to have a fairly simple pizza crust that you can pull together or pull out of the freezer to include your keto kid while you wait for the delivery guy to show up. We’ve spent two years refining our pizza crust techniques, and I think we have 2 winners to share.
The first is a re-purposed version of cheddar crackers, from the Keto Cookbook. It is simply a mix of about equal parts ground macadamia nuts and shredded cheddar cheese. I left out the egg white and it worked fine for a quick crust, but it isn’t very sturdy. It is made of just 2 common ingredients and I don’t have a recipe because you can make it as large or small and vary the proportions as needed to fit in a meal (see examples below).
Simple instructions: Set the oven to 375°F. Measure the shredded cheddar and ground macadamia nuts together, mix well, and press into a small circle on parchment paper placed on a baking sheet. Bake until melted together and barely browned and bubbly. Take out and add toppings, bake again until cheese is melted.
You can build a meal around it. For an example of proportions, we made a little pizza of 10 g shredded cheddar, 16 g ground macadamia nuts (baked to crust), 10 g tomato sauce, and 14 g whole milk mozzarella (with enough fat on the side to make the ratio correct).
We also used this tostada-style with hamburger, cheddar and olives. I used 12 g ground macadamia nuts, 10 g shredded cheddar, mixed and baked the crust as described. Then added 14 g hamburger, 10 g sliced kalamata olives, and 6 more grams of cheddar. With avocado and extra fat (fish oil and cream) on the side. Sour cream would be a great addition, although not loved by our keto kid.
I thought it was easy to make 2 crusts at a time, knowing that I would use one again the next day also. Using the second one the next day helped me keep track of the proportions of cheddar and macadamia nuts.
The second pizza crust winner is from our Toasting Bread recipe. It has been a smash hit recipe for sandwiches and toast, and now as a pizza crust. I experimented with a few other pizza and focaccia recipes also from The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking and decided that the toasting bread can’t be beat. It is not a spur-of-the-moment-throw-together crust, but you can make a big batch and put them in the freezer to pull out and use anytime. Weigh, calculate your toppings, and put it in the oven until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is warm. Easy as pizza pie.
We are on spring break right and it’s been pouring rain all day, so I spent several hours baking. It is nice to get ahead by having a few items in the freezer for quick meals. Nora asked for toasting bread again and I have found that I like to make it in a small loaf pan instead of the full-sized pan. This time I made a full recipe, put 1/2 of the batter into the small loaf pan, and made the rest into 12 pizza crusts. Because I’ve figured out the nutritional information per baked gram of bread (see original post) I didn’t pre-weigh the crusts. I can just weigh them before using them and build the meal around it.
I like making this bread recipe because it doesn’t require whipping the egg whites until stiff and carefully folding in the other ingredients. It all just goes into the mixer and it is soft and sticky enough to work with. It puffed up surprising nicely in the oven. Each baked crust is solid enough to hold up, not at all crumbly, but with a nice bready texture and nutty flavor.
When I experimented with the other crust recipes we had some fun by pressing the dough into gingerbread cookie cutters. Instead of rolling out the dough and cutting out pieces, I pressed the dough into the shapes and then carefully removed the cookie cutters, using a small rubber spatula to keep the edges in shape. That was fun and Nora liked topping them herself. They are very small, so bigger kids might get 2!
When I figure out the full pizza meal, I weigh out all of Nora’s pizza toppings onto a small plate and let her build her own pizza. She loves the chance to work with her food and make it her way. She also nibbles on the toppings and licks her fingers, a rare pleasure for a keto kid! Because it is all allotted to her meal, it doesn’t matter whether she puts it all on the pizza. I just try to remind her to put enough on her pizza to enjoy it when it comes out of the oven!
It is especially nice to have a pizza crust that can be sliced and eaten in pieces, and will stand up to being carried around. We took an outing to our favorite local pizza place and brought Nora’s pizza along with us. It was a treat to eat out together, which is pretty rare for us. A pizza crust that transports well while still being delicious (not just edible) is a special thing.
I am curious how you build the meal around the crusts after you weigh them. I find it is rather time-consuming to build a meal, using the ketocalculator. Can you describe your process and calculations? Programs you use? Thanks.
You will have to talk to your dietician about using the ketocalculator. We have access to it but don’t use it for Nora’s meal planning. Instead we have a spreadsheet that we built for ourselves when Nora was first doing MAD (first estimating, keeping logs by hand, then increasing her ratio as it helped with seizure control). Eventually she got up to 3.5:1 with the more strict keto diet and seizure-free, so we just continued on with using our spreadsheet because Nora’s dietician said that it would be ok.
The first step would be getting the toasting bread recipe added to the ketocalculator as a “recipe.” Your dietician can do that. I know our dietician has done it for our pretzel recipe at the request of a parent, but I’m not sure if that is just available to our dietician’s patients or everyone using the ketocalculator. After that, you should be able to add the weight of one of the pre-made crusts to a meal, then you add other elements of the meal in the ketocalculator until you get the right ratio. If you are having trouble with it you should talk to your dietician because I am not an expert on the ketocalculator, just a mom sharing ideas and recipes from our experience.
As an example, last night’s pizza meal included 29 g pizza crust, 8 g Muir Glen pizza sauce, 15 g whole milk mozzarella, 11 g kalamata olives, 9 g fish oil, 24 g cream. That is 2.86 g net carbs, 7.26 g protein, 35.36 g fat, 2.31 g fiber, for 359 calories at 3.5:1 ratio.
Hope that helps. You should also see Ted’s post on “the simplest keto meals.” He goes through how he thinks about making a meal.
All the best,
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