BBQ Chicken Pizza w/Quinoa Crust

I ADORE my dinner club – great friends, great conversation, and loads of delicious new recipes. But this month my circumstances have changed. 14 days earlier, I started a 21-day cleanse. No gluten, soy, dairy, sugar, corn, peanuts or eggs. Here’s when people usually say, so what the hell DO you eat for 21 days?! {That was my first reaction too…}

The theme was “The Same But Not” {as in snicker doodle brownies or cauliflower buffalo bites}. I had been eyeing a cauliflower crust pizza and it seemed like the perfect time to try it out. But to make a pizza that was gluten, soy, dairy, sugar and egg free…oh yeah, and tasty? That seemed impossible.

In life there are loads of opportunities to get frustrated or down on yourself because your circumstances suck. Maybe you’re not where you want to be financially, career wise or in your relationships. And a lot of times it feels like there’s nothing you can do about it.

I realize a self-inflicted cleanse might be a trivial example, but let me be clear. I’m in love with great food and I could have easily made this a huge deal by beating myself up for starting a cleanse at a terrible time or gaining those extra pounds in the first place.

But, here’s the thing we all need to remember…

Being a victim of your circumstances is a choice. They don’t define you & don’t have to run your life.

You always have two ways through:

1) change them or

2) change how you see them

I could bail on my commitment. I could be frustrated that I couldn’t enjoy dinner. Or, I could look at this as an adventure to find fun, healthy new ways to indulge a food I LOVE – pizza – and share it with my friends and all of you.

As one of my mentors always says…”everything is figureoutable.” So, I took on the challenge to make the best soy, gluten, dairy, egg, sugar-free pizza there was. Wowsa!


I researched crusts, cheeses, and sauces. I experimented to see what tasted best. Some were awesome, others not so much {e.g., the cauliflower crust fad fizzled on me}.

And at the end of the day, I discovered a some new food blogs I’m excited about, made a healthy pizza super rich in nutrients that I actually enjoyed, and got to share it {and a good laugh} with my girlfriends. They even admitted that the crust especially was really great and flavorful. The vegan cheese?  Weellll…..that one they’ve decided to leave for the health nuts for now.

So here’s my invitation for you….

Is there somewhere in your life you’re playing the victim right now? Take a few minutes and ask yourself two questions: 1)What can I do to change the situation for the better? 2) If I can’t change the circumstances, how are they absolutely perfect for where I am right now?

Let me know what you come up with.

Then, if you’re feeling adventurous, cook up this bad boy and indulge in a slice! Bon Appetite!




Pizza Crust
3/4 cup quinoa, soaked for at least 8 hours, rinsed and drained
1/3 -1/2 cup water
2-3 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic
1 medium shallot, sliced
1 sprig of fresh rosemary

1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
3-5 Tbs. favorite BBQ sauce, divided
1/4 red onion, sliced
2 cups mozzarella cheese
salt & pepper to taste

  1. Soak the quinoa in for at least 8 hours. It’s worth the wait {& the recipe won’t work with dry quinoa}. Rinse and drain.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and coat either a cast iron skillet or an 8-inch round cake pan with 1 Tbs. of olive oil. Let the skillet or cake pan to heat up in the oven for 5-10 minutes while you’re preparing the dough.
  3. I like to sauté my shallots to bring out the flavor {strictly optional}. If you’d like, heat 1-2 tsp. olive oil in a small skillet and sauté shallots for 3-5 minutes over medium-high heat until just starting to brown.
  4. Add all of the ingredients for the crust, except olive oil, to a food processor or a blender and combine until it reaches a pancake batter consistency. Add water as needed.
  5. Remove skillet/cake pan from the oven and immediately add the quinoa “dough,” using a spatula to even it out. Place the dough in the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Flip the dough and bake for another 10 minutes, or until brown and crispy and cooked evenly on each side.
  6. While the dough is cooking, toss the chicken in 2-3 Tbs. of BBQ sauce until coated.
  7. Remove pizza crust from oven, spread remaining BBQ sauce over top, then add your toppings, except the cilantro. Return to oven and cook another 8-10 minutes, or until golden.
  8. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy!


  • Crust adapted from Almonds & Avocados
  • To make dairy-free substitute Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds vegan alternative which is great and actually melts.
  • To make sugar-free, just pick up a sugar-free BBQ sauce, like Nature’s Hollow Sugar-Free Hickory Maple



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