Imagine a warm summer day, the smell of the grill, the sound of crickets chirping — we let that sensation inspire us to create this hearty, nutritious pizza. Yep, that’s right, what looks like whole wheat is really ground-up crickets.
If you missed out on the opportunity to eat bugs on a dare when you were a kid, or want to revisit the experience, now is the time. Cricket powder — sometimes referred to as cricket flour or cricket protein — is gaining in popularity, both for its health benefits and as a more sustainable, affordable alternative to traditional meat protein. The verdict is still out on how affordable it will prove to be. According to a February 2018 article in the Globe and Mail, “Why Eating Insects won’t End World Hunger,” the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has been promoting insects as an “unexplored nutrition source that can help address global food insecurity.” However, the small bag we bought was $14 — a little goes a long way, but it’s not that cheap of a meat alternative. Although, one could argue that there are free bugs everywhere.
We were curious to try out this cricket powder trend. Purchased from a national grocery chain and farmed right here in Canada, we found cricket powder easy to obtain. Finely ground with a mild taste, these pulverised critters are nutritious, high in protein and an excellent source of vitamin B12. It can be added to smoothies, sauces, chili, curries and baking batters. Be cautious though: people who are allergic to crustaceans and shellfish may have an allergic reaction to crickets.
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
- ½ cup cricket powder
- 2 tsp yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- ¼ cup dry white wine at room temperature
- 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup asparagus, chopped
- 1 cup red, orange and yellow peppers, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 250 g fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- Combine the flour, cricket powder, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Mix well.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Add the warm water, wine and olive oil. Use a spoon to mix together, then mix with your hands until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Lightly dust a work surface and knead the dough for about five minutes until it is smooth, elastic and only a little sticky.
- Oil a large, clean bowl, and add the dough, making sure it is lightly coated in the oil so it won’t stick. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (an hour or so).
- Divide the dough into four pieces. Shape each into a ball and leave to rest for 15 minutes, loosely covered in a towel or plastic wrap.
- Mince the rosemary and garlic. Chop up the cherry tomatoes, asparagus and peppers into bite-sized pieces. (We turned on the barbecue and grilled ours first, although it isn’t necessary to do so.) Slice the cheese and distribute evenly over the pizzas.
- Roll or stretch each ball of dough into a 9- or 10-inch circle using a floured rolling pin or your hands.
- BBQ (at about 400°) each round for two minutes on one side. Flip and add the toppings. Grill until the cheese is melted and the dough is cooked through.
(per serving) 574 calories, 21% fat, 58% sodium, 29% carbohydrates, 31% fibre, 27 g protein, 6% calcium, 38% iron, 80% vitamin B12