When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease back in 2007 it was hopeless. I had to accept that I would never go out for pizza again. And, living in a town like Portland, Oregon, where there are so many wonderful pizza joints – Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Apizza Scholls, Dove Vivi, Nostrana, Hot Lips, Pizzicato – I wanted to die.
Living a gluten-free life means making sacrifices – many good, some kind of sad. To be honest, I don’t miss a lot of the glutenous foods from my pre-celiac life. It was already my mantra to shop the “outside aisles” of grocery stores and markets. Sweets – I can find what I need to feed the cravings. Bread? Not so much. There are plenty of decent substitutes to take care of what I need. But, pizza? Hell no!
Doesn’t help that my mother’s family is from the Campania region of Italy – home of real pizza pie. And, that’s what I miss the most – the thin, bubbly, chewy crust with very little adornment. The best cooking – Italian – means simple ingredients. So, I have mourned over and over again for my authentic margherita pizza pie days, and have often wondered if I’d ever get to go out and enjoy a good pizza ever again.
Luckily, because I live in a progressive food town like Portland, the answer is Si, Si, Si!
I am still in search of the perfect gluten-free version of real Italian pizza, but, in the meantime, I am happy to report that I can at least go out and enjoy a really good pizza without getting sick.
Several of the local pizza joints mentioned above have dedicated a part of their kitchens to make gluten-free pizza, or they have very clear disclaimers regarding cross-contamination. And, a few newer establishments have come along to provide for the steadily growing gluten intolerant consumer base.
Here’s a list of Portland’s best gluten-free pizza pies.
Cornmeal crust, eh? Dove Vivi makes crust that is prepared by hand using organic cornmeal sourced from Southeast Oregon and Northeast California that is stone ground at Bob’s Red Mill here in Portland. As for the other ingredients – they use 100% pure olive oil, all toppings are prepared in-house daily using fresh, locally sourced produce whenever possible, and all dressings, marinades, and brines are made from scratch to celebrate the loot of our locale. The sausage is made from all natural Carlton Farms pork, the chefs here cure their own pancetta, Tasso ham, Canadian bacon, maple bacon, and corned beef, and case their andouille, chorizo, bratwurst and chicken sausages to ensure quality and distinction. Dove Vivi is consistently ranked as one of the best pizza joints in Portland. For more information: www.dovevivipizza.com / Blog / Facebook
Mississippi Pizza Pub
Mississippi Pizza Pub has been making good gluten-free pizza for quite some time. They offer a nice guide on their website about ingredients, buying their gluten-free crust to go (and how to bake it), etc. Any of the pizzas from their menu can be made gluten-free, unless otherwise noted. Plus, they also have a couple of gluten-free beers available, which is great. For more information: www.mississippipizza.com / Facebook
New Cascadia Traditional Bakery & Cafe
Oddly enough, you can’t find the pizza on their website. Don’t let that deter you! New Cascadia offers good, thin pizza crust that you can purchase to take home, or, you can order one of their seasonally prepared pizzas for take-out or to eat in the cafe. I like the smaller portion of this pizza. It’s perfect for lunch or dinner. I recently had the Mexitalian pizza – with a pesto sauce, black olives, tomato, cheese and simple deliciousness. For more information: www.newcascadiatraditional.com / Facebook
This just might be my favorite gluten-free pizza. Their crust is the best. You can fold it (yeah, it’s an east coast thing). And, the toppings are incredible. They use fresh ingredients and you can taste the difference. I recently had the “Provencal” – with zucchini, yellow squash, caramelized onion with fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce – and thought I must have died and gone to pizza heaven. They carefully list all of the ingredients that are safe for gluten intolerant diets. For more information: www.pizzicato.com / Blog / Facebook
Sellwood Pizza Kitchen
Sellwood Pizza Kitchen is a small family owned pizza place with a dedicated gluten-free menu. Their gluten-free crust is thicker and denser than many of the other gluten-free pizzas around. I have asked the owner if I could purchase the crust on a few occasions to make at-home skillet pizza. They have a nice assortment of toppings and this pizza is actually really, really good. They also have a gluten-free beer by the bottle (Red Bridge). For more information: www.sellwoodpizzakitchen.com / Blog / Facebook
Other gluten-free pizza around Portland:
Bellagio’s Pizza (multiple locations)
Extreme Pizza (Hillsboro)
Flying Pie Pizzaria (warnings: incidents of cross-contamination)
Garlic Jim’s (multiple locations)
Hotlips Pizza (multiple locations)
Pizza A Go Go
Red Hills Market (Dundee)