Pizza Goes Keto

by Susan Smith

Never mind ‘pizza-to-go’, this Pizza Goes Keto recipe is nothing short of revolutionary for those of us who can’t safely stray from a strict, no-grains lifestyle. In my experience, anything less than a 100% effort to eliminate grains, in particular wheat, from your diet is a big mistake unless you plan on making an appointment with your doctor sooner rather than later.

This Pizza Goes Keto recipe is completely against the grain, but you wouldn’t know it. Crusty-edged and soft and chewy in the middle like a ‘proper’ bread-like pizza crust is, you can pick it up in your hand to eat it without difficulty. Soggy-bottomed, Primal cauliflower pizza crusts begone! Now whenever I tell my family I’m making pizza for supper they think Christmas has come early. With so many happy memories of a previous life when we’d come together as a family to eat pizza and drink red wine as an antidote to a stressful day, re-living the pizzeria experience at home, without suffering gastrointestinal havoc and inflammatory flare-ups caused by wheat and/or wine loaded with a plethora of chemicals and added sulphites, just makes us smile.

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Primal Plate’s game plan is to help you remove all grains and other nasties that are unfit for human consumption from your diet by re-creating much-loved, familiar recipes with healthy ingredients, so that eating low-carb, high-fat, real food is all about gustatory pleasure and nourishing the body. If you want to get back to health and eat yourself thin, without the pain and misery of calorie counting, hunger and deprivation… Go keto! The only “essential” macronutrients (meaning they cannot be made in the body so must come from food) are essential fats and essential amino acids. The best sources of essential amino acids are animal proteins like meat, eggs and poultry. Carbohydrates are non-essential. That is to say:

You need zero carbs to supply your body’s energy needs, providing you eat enough fat and protein.

Even so, eating ’low-carb’ doesn’t mean eliminating all carbohydrates from your diet. For sensuals like me, eating a rainbow of organic vegetables and fruit, which are primarily carbohydrates, is a healthy eating challenge that I relish every day. As well as being visually attractive on the plate, colourful vegetables and fruits are full of polyphenols (powerful antioxidants that fight inflammation) and many other essential nutrients and dietary fibre. For weight loss purposes, simply restrict your carb intake to less than 50 grams per day (or no more than 15 grams at each meal if you’re eating three times daily).

More than half a century of unscientific hooey told to us by successive governments, doctors and dieticians has convinced many overweight, sick and tired people that a low-fat, high carbohydrate, whole-grain diet is “healthy”. To them I say, before you scarf down another slice of bread or bowl of porridge consider this:

Agribusiness ‘grain finishes’ most livestock because it helps cows gain weight more quickly and reliably. 

Feeding cows cheap high starch grains (some animal feed has up to 15% paper added to make it even cheaper) causes devastating damage to a cow’s digestive system. Still, as every farmer knows, cows don’t get fat from eating grass and hay. If you can bear to know what happens to these poor beasts, click here. The fact is, you are not simply what you eat…but also what you eat, ate.

Whole grains, fiddled and faddled with by humans via hybridisation, GMOs, or worse still, ‘mutagenisis’ - multiple mutations from exposure to either chemicals or radiation, which by the way doesn’t count as GM for food labelling purposes! - are toxic and the hardest food for us and cows to digest. Changes introduced into modern wheat have turbo-charged what I call the ‘grain-effect’, namely fat storage. Gliadin protein in the gluten of modern wheat is not only the main culprit for triggering digestive disturbance, it has addictive, appetite-stimulating properties to boot. Putting it bluntly, if you don’t want to look like a cow, you need to stop shovelling cheap grains into yourself that compel you to graze like one! The proof of the grain-free pudding is dramatic weight loss and the impressive reversal of many chronic diseases.

For me, even slightly straying off the Primal path results in a hyperactive immune system. The last time I treated my family to a slap-up dinner in a posh restaurant to ‘celebrate’ my 70th birthday, I was digestively challenged all night long and by the next morning I’d developed an intolerably itchy rash from the top of my thighs down to my knees. Within 24 hours the rash had spread to the rest of my body. Three months later, and I’m still ‘fire-fighting’ symptoms of systemic inflammation. Was a few hours of pleasure worth all this suffering? Nope!

It’s not as if I hadn’t briefed the chef and waiting staff beforehand. Twice, in fact. I blame the sweet blackberry syrup and thickened jus they served with the grouse and an entrée of seafood risotto. Either Chef ‘forgot’ that rice is a grain, or he doesn’t know. Or perhaps, it’s that most high-end restaurants don’t give a monkeys for your food intolerances. 

Last Sunday, Sarah was invited out to the same restaurant for lunch. Whilst carefully reiterating her dietary requirements to the waiter and by way of an explanation, she told him what had happened to me the last time we ate there. Consequently, when her fish main course arrived, it was bereft of any accompaniment because, the waiter argued, “Our tartare sauce is made with whole grain mustard”. Sorry to befuddle you guys, but ignoring the fact that most commercial mustards rely on undesirable chemicals, artificial flavours and sugars to make them cheap to produce, pure mustard seeds are about as Primal as you can get! Eventually, Sarah settled for hollandaise sauce and after a lunch that cost her friend £175 for the two of them, she (and he) came home hungry! Fine dining? Meh.

With two Christmas party restaurant bookings looming within the next four days, my recent health crisis has put me on red alert. I’m more determined that ever to stick with my zero tolerance of grains, sugar and industrial veggie oils that the vast majority of restaurants use because they’re cheap. It may not seem Christmas spirited of me to make a fuss but a fuss is what I shall make if my food preferences are ignored. No matter how embarrassing, seemingly inappropriate or inconvenient it is for me to say “No thanks. Take it back”, the truth is I am never too hungry to eat crap.

Thankfully, Pizza Goes Keto is at the other end of the “Let’s party!” spectrum. Its get-ahead simplicity, versatility (toppings are only limited by your imagination) and popularity with people of all ages makes it a certain winner when you just want to just kick-back with a glass of wine and relax.

Welcome back to real food that your body is meant to eat.

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Pizza Goes Keto (makes 4x 8.5” to 10” pizzas, depending on how thin you like your crust)

Ingredients - for pizza crust

200g organic ground almonds 

25g organic coconut flour 

4 tbsp unflavoured, organic whey protein powder

4 tbsp organic golden flax seed, freshly ground

4 tbsp organic psyllium husk powder 

1 tsp Himalayan pink salt

50g organic parmesan, finely grated (cheaper option from Sainsburys)

1 tbsp fresh organic rosemary leaves, finely chopped

2 tsp gluten free baking powder

4 medium organic eggs

100ml organic olive oil

200ml freshly filtered, boiled water

Ingredients - for the ultimate Margherita pizza topping (serves 4-6)

330ml Cherry Tomato Passata 

2 tbsp organic tomato puree (or cheaper option from Waitrose)

Himalayan pink salt 

Freshly ground organic black pepper

200g organic mature Cheddar

2 balls organic vegetarian mozzarella

2 tbsp organic rosemary leaves 

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Instructions - for pizza crust

Preheat the oven to 190°C

Place all the dry ingredients, grated parmesan and rosemary into a large, deep mixing bowl. Using an electric whisk mix together until evenly blended.

Beat the eggs and olive oil together with a fork then whisk into the dry ingredients until well combined.

Pour in the boiling water and whisk again just until the dough thickens and starts to form a firm but pliable ball of dough. Allow to stand for a few minutes.

Draw 8 to 10 inch circles on individual sheets of baking parchment (one per pizza). Turn the paper over so that the pencil marks are underneath, then place the dough in the centre of the circle.

Place a piece of cling film over the top and roll it out to no more than ⅛ inch thick, using the circle you’ve drawn to guide you. Remove the cling film and slide the circle of dough still on its baking parchment onto a large baking sheet.

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Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Note: If you’ve a double shelved oven, two pizzas can be baked together on two separate baking sheets at the same time; otherwise you will need to cook the pizzas one at a time.

Remove from the oven and add toppings to the halfway baked crust.

Bake for a further 15 minutes.

Sprinkle over the fresh parsley and serve with a lightly dressed green salad if liked.


Instructions - to make the Margherita topping

Pour the cherry tomato passata into a medium saucepan, add the tomato puree, stir and season to taste.

Bring to the tomato sauce to the boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer, stirring from time to time until the sauce has reduced by half. Set aside to cool.

Slice or grate the mozzarella and set aside to drain on paper kitchen roll. Coarsely grate the Cheddar cheese. Finely chop the fresh rosemary leaves.

Top the pizza bases in the following order:

With the back of a metal tablespoon, thinly spread 2 tbsp of tomato sauce to the outside edges of each half-baked 8” to 10” pizza crust.

Top with the grated or torn slices of mozzarella, divided equally between the four pizzas, to cover the bases evenly.

Sprinkle over a quarter of the grated Cheddar cheese evenly over the top of each pizza, followed by the chopped rosemary.

Bake for a further 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven until the cheese is hot, melted and golden.

Be careful not to burn yourself when you first bite into it!

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The raw pizza dough can wrapped (I use environmentally-friendly Bees Wrap) and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days before rolling out.

Half-baked pizza bases can be cooled, wrapped and frozen for later use. Either defrost before adding toppings and bake as stated in the recipe above or top the still frozen pizza crust and bake for an extra 5 minutes or so. 

For children, make smaller pizzas - they are filling! 

Fat 67g Protein 28g Carbs 11g - per pizza base

Fat 26g Protein 23g Carbs 8g -  Margherita topping

Fat 93g Protein 51g Carbs 19g - per Margherita ‘adult-sized’ pizza