Food van harden-feature

Published on September 17th, 2012 | by Brendon O'Neill


Van Harden’s cheese based pizza crust is a must-try

This is going to be the most cliche thing I’ve ever written, but here goes: Pizza is one of my all-time favorite foods. I know, how original. But how depressing is it to think that you can’t even walk into your local grocery store and grab a 6-pack and frozen pizza if it’s a lonely ol night? That is where Van Harden’s cheese based pizza crust pizzas blew me away when I ran across it.

I was reminded of that old move Weird Science where these high school losers create a hot girl out of a computer. The strange thing is, I didn’t even notice that the crust was made of cheese – not bread – when I put it in my cart. All I saw were the words ‘pizza’ and ‘gluten-free’. Game over. I was willing to try anything.

Don’t ask me how I missed the “No Bread!” right at the top of the box. Either way, keep your eyes peeled for Mr. Van Harden:

Van Harden gluten-free pizza

And here’s what Van Harden’s pepperoni pizza looks like when you pull it out of the box:

Van Harden's gluten-free pizza

If you just became glute-free because you’re sensitive to gluten or have celiac, don’t deprive yourself this pizza if your stomach can handle it.

After about a month of cutting out gluten, I was dying for a slice of pizza. I wasn’t quite sure how sensitive my stomach was at that time – and I didn’t want to find out because I felt so great. When a month had passed I could really tell that gluten wasn’t for me. My body was feeling good, so there was no way I was gonna risk it. So, I started keeping my eye our for GF options, under the assumption that they would all suck.

In fact, the first GF pizza I tried I wasn’t a big fan of, so I became even more skeptical. That is, until the day I discovered Van Harden’s cheese based crust pizza at my local Hy-Vee. To be honest, I didn’t even realize the crust was made of cheese until the lady at the register asked me if it was good. Too late to re-consider the purchase, I told her I’d find out and report back after I gave it a shot.

So, what did I tell her?

First of all, I could eat one of these by myself. That’s because it’s really f-ing good, it’s not that big, and I can eat like a pig.

The pizza is really thin, and the crust makes you forget about bread. It’s weird, like a Jedi mind trick. You don’t miss the crust, but you still feel like you’re eating pizza. The sauce, shredded cheese and pepperoni are great. I think there’s more this gentlemen can do with this concept, but he’s off to a great start. And what an original idea. I say keep going. Figure out how to do a deeper dish style pizza, or introduce more toppings. Maybe if enough people support the brand, they will. Otherwise, I see this as something other makers will try to mimic. It’s a great idea well executed.

If you eat meat, go for the pepperoni version. But the cheese one is just as good. Just make sure you rotate the pizza in your oven every 3-4 minutes. Since I like my cheese nice and done, I usually hit broil and crack open the oven for an extra minute. Just don’t forget about it – and set a timer!

Go ahead and run a pizza slicer across it, cutting it up into small pieces (they’ll be easier to handle). Make sure you let it cool for a couple minutes. This will make it easier to pick up from the plate that it cooks on. Don’t make the mistake of trying to slide the pizza off the pan once you’re done cooking it.

It may be hard to find. If you can’t get it, then go to your local grocer and try what you can. I’m always looking for new things to try, and plan on reviewing plenty of other pizzas as well. In the meantime, this gluten-free man tips his hat to Van Harden.

Look, if you came here for gourmet food with ingredients you aren’t sure how to pronounce, you’ve come to the wrong site. I like pizza, burgers, wings, fries (or preferably, tots), and a bowl of queso if it’s gameday. So if you have any ideas for making your own great gluten-free pizzas, please let me know. I’d love to see how a cheese based crust could be replicated at home. I’m sure it’s easier thought of than done.

In a nutshell, finding this pizza and discovering great gluten-free beers have been the best part of the change so far.

About the Author

Brendon O'Neill created Gluten-Free for Men to give guys a place where they can feel comfortable learning about living a gluten-free life. Through this site he highlights great products, hearty recipes, health information, and the gluten-free guys who make an impact in the community.

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