Basil Pesto & Gluten-Free Pizza

We’re in the home stretch y’all and the Elimination portion of the challenge is quickly coming to a close. Tomorrow I will begin to re-introduce foods to see if I have any reactions. But if I have one regret, it’s that I didn’t get my act together and visit the Voila Gluten-Free Bakeree  at the very beginning of the challenge.

I finally made it to Voila on Thursday and picked up a loaf of Organic Brown Rice Bread, a few Brown Rice bagels, some Oatmeal Raisin cookies for Jill, and ordered pizza dough which I picked up yesterday after work. The bagels were still warm and I ate one on the drive home. It was heavenly. Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, with a hint of sweetness (honey).  Even Jill agreed that it was better than the gluten-free bagels she usually buys.

On Thursday night I made Shepherd’s Pie (using ground turkey instead of beef, and mashed sweet potatoes on top), but I just wasn’t feeling it. As I’ve written in earlier posts this week, I think I’m just getting tired of cooking in general and the mountains of dirty dishes and tupperware that comes with cooking every meal and bringing lunch to work every day. So last night I took the night off and just made a simple BLT with my new gluten free bread. Well, pseudo BLT – turkey bacon, spinach, hold the tomato, with some organic mustard instead of mayo. It was great.

Which brings us to today. I was so excited about my pizza dough that I didn’t really stop to think  – what the eff was I going to put on it? Tomato sauce and cheese are out, traditional toppings like mushrooms and peppers are out, can’t even have pineapple!  So here is what I came up with: homemade pesto, grilled chicken, turkey bacon and caramelized onions. John & Julia at Voila were amazing in telling me how to deal with the pizza dough, and even sent me home with a little baggie of potato starch to help roll out the dough. I just dusted a baking sheet with the potato starch and pressed out the dough with my hands. You par-bake it in a 35o or 375 oven until it starts to get brown, then take it out, add your toppings and pop back in until everything is hot and the dough is fully cooked.

As for the pesto, this was something I’ve always wanted to make, but it always just seemed so much easier to buy in a jar, which you can keep in the fridge for months. However, jarred pesto has cheese in it, and like everything else that comes in a jar, additives and preservatives that aren’t really necessary. So I bought a boat load of basil at the grocery store, hauled out the blender, and got to work. It was great, even without the cheese, and I froze the leftovers in ice cube trays, popped them out and put them in a baggie which is in the freezer.  I will definitely make this again, and this combination of toppings was so yummy. I have definitely learned how to wiggle my way around the elimination rules!

Homemade Pesto

Source: Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics by Ina Garten


1/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup pine nuts

3 tbsp chopped garlic (9 cloves)

5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups olive oil

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese


  1. To clean basil, remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, then spin them very dry in a salad spinner.
  2. Place the walnuts, pine nuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade (I used a blender, worked fine). Process for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the basil leaves, salt and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is finely pureed. Add the parmesan and puree for a minute. 
  4. Serve or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.
This entry was posted in Elimination Challenge, Gluten-Free, Sauces, Dressings, Dips & Salsas and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Basil Pesto & Gluten-Free Pizza

  1. Erin says:

    Hey Brooke’s Friend, I’m Erin. She sent me the link to your blog, and I’d like to try some of your recipes – you make them look pretty easy – which is key in my world. Simple ingredients, quick preparation, yummy tasting = success!

    I have one question – if you were to recommend one cookbook to purchase that has great recipes that are low fat and tasty and quick and simple, what would that be? My boyfriend and I are trying to eat healthier, and are looking for some recipes that don’t all taste like bunny food.


    • planetbyn says:

      Hi Erin! I think the Podleski sisters’ cookbooks are actually great (even though I’ve poked fun at them in a few posts). The recipes are low fat, taste great and use regular ingredients that you can find at any grocery store. I have Crazy Plates and Eat, Shrink & Be Merry – let me know if you pick up one of them and I can recommend some recipes that I have made!

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