Roasted Corn and Pesto Quinoa Pizza (gluten-free and vegan)



Words can’t express how much I LOVE this pizza!!


I began working as a hostess at a local pizza restaurant this summer because of the flexible hours that accommodate my crazy schedule while I’m finishing up the classes for my Masters. It’s a great job because I get to meet so many new people, which often leads to wonderful conversations. For that reason, I’m probably the worst hostess in the world–while I’m standing around chatting with customers, there’s often a line of people forming at the door waiting impatiently to be seated. Who can blame them? When there’s pizza involved, I’m impatient, too.  I’m also terrible at the job because, well, I don’t eat meat, cheese, or gluten and have never tried most of the foods on the menu (aside from the salads). However, I do get fabulous inspiration from that menu!

This Roasted Corn and Pesto Quinoa Pizza is the perfect example of that. During the summer, the restaurant features a beautiful roasted corn and pesto pizza. The smell alone is enough to make me weak in the knees. Unfortunately, there’s cheese in both the corn topping and the pesto. After weeks of drooling over that pizza and inadvertently glaring at customers with envy, I decided to finally try making my own version using healthier, allergy-friendly ingredients.


I started with my original Quinoa Pizza Crust recipe as the base and added a layer of Vegan Pesto (another oldie, but a goodie). Then, I topped it with roasted corn and grape tomatoes, along with a sprinkling of chopped red onion, fresh basil, and pepper.

It was love at first bite.

That’s when I went into crazy tasmanian-devil mode trying to eat the whole thing before my husband could ask for another bite (after I was nice enough to offer him just one bite and he took three).

It’s amazing how a recipe so simple can be so good!


Roasted Corn and Pesto Quinoa Pizza (gluten-free and vegan)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2
  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive or coconut oil
  • ¾ cup quinoa, soaked for at least 8 hours, rinsed, and drained*
  • ¼ – ½ cup filtered water
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced (optional)
  • 2 tsp. dried seasonings (optional; I like to use Italian)
  • 1 ear of fresh corn
  • 1½ – 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (or a combination of basil and parsley)
  • ½ cup shelled walnuts
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1-2 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • juice from ½ a lemon
  • 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper to taste
  • 1-2 Tbs. diced red onion
  • a handful of grape/cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • a few fresh basil leaves, sliced thin
  • pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spread the coconut or olive oil inside a 9-inch round cake pan and place the pan in the oven while the oven is heating up.
  2. When the oven is heated, blend together (in a high-speed blender or food processor) the rinsed quinoa, filtered water, garlic, and seasonings until completely smooth. The “dough” should resemble pancake batter–pourable, but still thick. **Begin with just ¼ cup of water and adjust as needed.
  3. Remove the heated cake pan from the oven and pour the dough into the pan, using a spatula to spread the dough out evenly to the sides. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Flip the dough and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the edges are brown and crispy and the dough has baked all the way through. When the dough is done baking, allow it to cool a bit before removing it from the pan.
  4. You can roast the corn in the oven while you’re baking the pizza dough. If the corn is still in the husk, simply place the corn in the oven on the top rack. If the husk has already been removed, wrap the ear of corn in aluminum foil before placing in the oven. Bake for approximately 20 minutes.
  5. While the dough and corn are baking, prepare the pesto: Blend together the basil, walnuts, garlic, salt, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice in your food processor. You may have to stop to scrape down the sides. Blend until the mixture forms a coarse meal. Then, add the olive oil in a slow stream to the pesto while the motor is running. Taste and adjust the olive oil and seasonings to your liking.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When the crust is almost done, place the sliced tomatoes to the parchment paper, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and roast for 10 minutes.
  7. When the corn is done roasting, remove it from the oven and discard the husk (or foil). Use a sharp knife to slice down the sides of the ear of corn to remove the kernels.
  8. Now it’s time to put everything together! Spread the pesto onto the quinoa pizza crust and top with corn, red onion, tomatoes, basil, and a sprinkling of pepper. Slice and enjoy!
*Soaking the quinoa is essential. Please do not skip this step!! I like to add the quinoa to a bowl, top it with water, stir, and set it in the fridge before I go to work. That way it’s ready when I come home from work. So easy! **You will likely have leftover pesto. If so, store the unused portion in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 4 days.

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