A world without pizza. Can you even imagine? There’s an old joke that pizza is a complete meal because it contains the major food groups. Yes, this may technically be true, but that doesn’t mean its necessary the healthiest meal you could have. For those with food allergies or intolerances, such an indulgence goes beyond nutritional concerns – it can cause severe consequences. But when your doctor tells you to eliminate gluten, dairy and tomatoes, start walking to the bench. Three strikes and you’re out. Remove those three ingredients and you’ve got nothing left. Sure, if need be, one can find an alternative to just one of the main components: wheat-based crust, cheese or tomato sauce. If gluten is your only enemy some restaurants make a gluten-free crust, such as Beau Jo's, which has locations throughout Colorado. If you can’t do dairy, use a substitute such as soy “cheese.” Some vegan and raw restaurants use cashew butter, which, once you remind yourself not to compare it to dairy, has a creamy texture and rich taste. If tomatoes are too acidic, try a pesto or roasted red pepper spread. Maybe not a traditional pizza, but close enough. Since I’ve been on this restrictive diet I haven’t had a slice of “traditional” pizza. Then, a few weeks ago, on the ride back from snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park, I stopped by Granny's Gluten Free Zone in Loveland. I spoke with Granny herself and asked for recommendations. She pointed out a new arrival – gluten-free dairy-free pizza crust, made by Outside the Bread Box, a bakery in Colorado Springs. For comparison, I bought some crust from Udi’s, a Denver-based gluten free bakery.

Outside The Breadbox and Udi's Gluten-free Pizza Crust

Outside the Breadbox Pizza Crust Ingredients

Udi's Pizza Crust Ingredients

Having found a crust to build upon, I was inspired to find a cheese alternative that actually melts. At Sunflower Market, I discovered Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds. The vegan product’s main ingredient is tapioca and/or arrowroot flours and it’s free of common allergens including: dairy (casein and lactose), soy, gluten, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts.

Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds

Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds Ingredients

As for a sauce, I kept it simple, really wanting to taste the differences in the crust. Both are thin and cook in about 5 to 6 minutes. Udi’s was a bit airy in body, almost like a toasted pita bread. Outside the Breadbox cooked like a traditional dough, with a crisp crust and a softer center. They each held their toppings well and did not get soggy. As a result, I recommend both brands.

Outside The Breadbox Pizza

Udi's Pizza Crust

What alternative ingredients have you found to be tasty? Have you made your own gluten-free crust? Share your recipes!

Resources You can find Outside the Bread Box pizza crusts at Granny’s for $6.00 for two medium crusts, or order online. Udi products are sold throughout the country, and locally at King Scoopers, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Vitamin Cottage.  Their website is quite informative, listing product ingredients. You can order gluten-free products online or use the store locator to find the retailers that carry their products. Two medium crusts cost about $6.00. A bag of Daiya shreds averages around $4.00, at Sunflower Market and Whole Foods, or use their product locator.