From a distance, this just looks like a regular personal pizza. Looks can be deceiving. PICTURE: Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post.
A pizza crust is merely a template. It can be made of flour, or quinoa, or cauliflower, or ramen, or even, in a particular moment of madness that gripped America in 2015, hot dogs. And if you travel in certain circles, like those who follow a gluten-free or ketogenic diet, you may have noticed another innovation in pizza crust: chicken.

It’s not necessarily a chicken breast pounded out and topped with pizza toppings, like a stoner version of chicken Parmesan; that would probably be delicious. Instead, some recipes start with canned chicken, shredded Parmesan cheese and an egg. Mix it all together, roll it out and bake it, and you have a pizza crust.

The Real Good Foods Co. has made it easier, while using all-natural, antibiotic and hormone-free chicken to make its crust. It sells miniature frozen pizzas made with a chicken-Parmesan crust, as well as microwaveable enchiladas, which substitute chicken and Parmesan for the tortilla. The box crows about “real pizza you feel good about eating,” and proudly displays labels declaring it grain-free and gluten-free, with only 4 grams of carbohydrates per serving and 25 grams of protein. If you’re avoiding nitrates, the pepperoni is uncured. It all sounds good, in theory, especially if you can’t eat gluten but you’re sick of the cardboardy gluten-free pizzas in the freezer aisle.

But in practice, this is what a chicken pizza crust is like: Think about the inside of a chicken nugget — the spongy, beige part that could have come from one or 100 chickens. Roll it out to pizza size. Think about what it would be like without the crispy, salty, fried part of the chicken nugget, and that’s what a chicken pizza crust is like. It’s a slightly rubbery disc of meat with pizza toppings, or, in the case of the enchilada, stuffed with Mexican red sauce and ground beef.

“After one bite, I’m grossed out and don’t want to continue,” said one taste-tester, who follows a gluten-free diet and is a frequent consumer of wheat-alternative products, when she tried the beef enchiladas.

Also, the large pizzas are 250g with a diameter around 15cm, the perfect size for one person’s lunch. But, surprise! Based on standard issue USDA serving sizes, one large pizza is actually two servings, and one serving is 45 percent of your daily value for saturated fat. Eat one whole pepperoni pizza, as one person reasonably might, and you’ll be getting 90 percent of your saturated fat, 50 percent of your cholesterol and 76 percent of your sodium for the day, based on those USDA standards. But hey, still only a few grams of carbs!

We’ll keep our chicken on top of the pizza, thank you very much.

UPDATE- Jan 16. 19.00 (CAT) A previous version did not clearly differentiate Real Good Foods Co.’s pizza crust ingredients from those of other recipes.

The Washington Post