While gluten-free items are becoming easier to find, the search for a really good and fairly inexpensive gluten-free pizza has become a personal challenge. Thankfully there are far more options in the frozen food section and local pizzarias than ever before! In a nutshell, fellow Celiac's sufferers, take heart, for good pizza is on the horizon!
In search of the great frozen pizza
My first attepmt at finding a good gluten-free pizza took me to the frozen food aisles of my local grocery stores. The first brand I tried was Glutino. Not having had pizza for almost a year (oh, how I longed for a taste of that cheesy pizza goodness), I was so excited to discover this pizza. It was not bad, but it wasn't good either. The crust was a bit soggy and grainy and left a lot to be desired and the toppings were just medocre.
Over the next few weeks, I discovered a new brand that was promising – Amy's Pizza. The downside, it was pretty expensive as frozen pizzas go. The upside – it was better than the Glutino brand but still, lacking the pizza pleasure I remembered before being diagnosed with Celiac's Disease. While the crust was still a bit on the grainy side, at least the toppings were somewhat tastier.
A few months later, I discovered that a favorite gluten-free bakery, Udi's, had introduced pizza shells. Even better, it was a package of two, so I could make two different pizzas for me and my son, who also suffers from Celiac's. Because we like to dress our pizzas differntly (pile on the veggies for me and the pepperoni for him) this made it an even better option. We could choose from a variety of gluten free sauces, add toppings to our taste, and the crust, if baked correctly, was nice an crispy. It did lack a bit of that pizza dough cheweyness but so far, this has been the best frozen pizza solution I have found.
Longing for pizzaria pizza
A dear friend had noticed that Happy Joes was advertising a gluten-fee option and we ordered it. Finally – a really nice pizza – not perfect but still, the best I had found so far! I was so excited about this but unfortunatly for me, the location is a distance from where I live so getting a nice pizza from there was just not very convenient.
Next, I discovered Pi Pizza. I was so excited to try this one becasue thier regular pizza is rumored to be very good. This was an unfortunate visit for me. Yes, they have gluten-free crust, however the waitress forgot to order the gluten-free pizza and instead brought out a regular one (after a 45 minute wait). Another 40 minutes and she brought out the gluten-free pizza and it was certainly not worth the wait nor the cost and it was not prepared in a truly gluten-free dedicated area so there was the possiblitly of cross contamination.
Shortly after my disappointing visit to Pi Pizza, Dominoe's pizza released thier gluten-free option and it was really affordable. My son and I placed our order, had it delivered. (What?!? Gluten-free pizza delivered to our door? Oh! Happy day!) It was really, really good! The crust was crispy and had a bit of that chewiness and the toppings were great! Finally, we found a really great gluten-free pizza. The downside is that it can be a bit on the greasy side, and while it is gluten-free, there is a strong chance of cross contamination. If you do try this, depending on how sensitive you are, just be aware that it is prepared next to the other normal pizzas. I have had a few cross contamination incidents.
Saving the best (in my opinion) for last – California Pizza Kitchen didn't throw in the towel on thier gluten-free option. They kept at it and the result is fantastic! My husband and I decided to stop for lunch, me with the intent to have a salad because I knew from past visits and research that they didn't offer gluten-free pizzas. I was so very glad to be surprised with a new gluten-free menu with pizza options! I decided to go for it and ordered one of thier certified gluten-free pizzas. The manager came out and delivered it to me himself and took the time to explain that they had tried to offer gluten-free in the past but it didn't meet thier high standards. He said this particular crust was a mixture of gluten free flours, prepared on a dedicated gluten free area away from the other pizzas and food and that they met the strict guidelines and standards to be certified gluten free. Finally, pizza crust that was chewy and crispy at the same time, had the fresh yeasty taste, slightly sweeter than a normal crust but not unpleasantly so, deliscious fresh toppings and no chance of cross contamination. At first I thought the price of this pizza was a bit high (especially compared to Dominoes) however, they bring out a full large pizza as opposed to the personal sized pizza you would get from Dominoes.
If you are searching for a great pizza, my recommendations for frozen is to go with the Udi's crust and add your own toppings. If you want the convenience of delivery and aren't too worried about cross contamination – Dominoes is the way to go. However, if you want one of the best gluten-free crusts, fresh toppings and certified gluten-free California Pizza Kitchen is a tasty (and my favorite) option.