Whole Grain Focaccia Pizza: a make-ahead dinner

Whole Grain Focaccia Pizza: a make-ahead dinner

Oh how I love a make-ahead dinner. If you’re afraid of making gluten free bread, don’t be! With this easy recipe for whole grain focaccia pizza, you can’t lose.

A close up of a pizza

A perfect entry-point for making gluten free bread at home, in fact, is making homemade gluten free pizza. The yeast is there mostly for flavor development, so a good, high rise is not nearly as nerve-wracking as you might think it is with other gluten free breads.

Pizza dough on marble surface

This dough isn’t super wet or hard to handle. And it’s packed with healthy whole grains.

A close up of shaped Pizza dough on marble surface

Back to that make-ahead dinner idea… Even though I work from home all day, in my kitchen, I still scramble to make dinner each night, same as you.  Well, unless you’re a Lady or Lord of the Manor, and you scramble for nothing and no one. But then again, if that’s true, what are you doing here, mixing with the hoi polloi? The masses. The herd. Us commoners. You must be lost, sister.

Overhead view of a pizza

The only difference between this being a make-ahead dinner and its being a make-for-now dinner is in baking the pizza halfway through, and then refrigerating it. Then, all that’s left when you come home, tired from the day, is to power up the oven to 375°F, and bake it for another 15. Let it set, slice it up, and enjoy all that savory, warm and comforting goodness.

A close up of a slice of pizza

There is absolutely no need to parbake this pizza crust. It browns and bakes just right with all the toppings, as all that savory flavor bakes right in. The crust is crispy on the bottom, but soft enough to sink your teeth into, Sicilian-style.

I know what we’re having for dinner tonight. How about you?

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: Serves 4


1 recipe Whole Grain Gluten-Free Herb Focaccia

1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage

6 ounces fresh baby spinach

2 cups Simple Tomato Sauce (or 2 cups of your favorite gluten-free jarred sauce)

1/2 pound low-moisture fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced by cross-section into 10 rounds

1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  • Prepare the Whole Grain Focaccia according to the recipe directions through Step 4, but instead of setting the dough to rise before rolling it out, roll it out into a rectangle about 12-inches by 17-inches (and about 1/2-inch thick). Line a 10-inch by 15-inch sheet pan (slightly larger than a quarter sheet) with unbleached parchment paper and transfer the dough to the pan, pressing it into the corners and gathering it up the sides.

  • Sprinkle the dough with warm water, cover it with plastic wrap, and set it in a warm, draft-free location to rise until it is about 150% of its original size.

  • While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

  • Also while the dough is rising, prepare the sausage and spinach. Remove the sausage from its casings and break into pieces. In a large, dry skillet, cook the sausage uncovered over medium-high heat until lightly browned all over and cooked through (about 8 minutes). Once the sausage has nearly finished cooking, turn off the flame and add the fresh spinach leaves to the skillet. Cover the hot skillet tightly and allow the spinach to steam for about 3 minutes. Remove the cover and stir until the spinach is wilted. Cover and allow the spinach to steam further if necessary. Set the skillet aside.

  • Once the dough has finished rising, top with all of the tomato sauce and spread in a single layer. Scatter the slices of mozzarella cheese evenly over the top of the sauce, and top with the sausage and spinach mixture. Sprinkle the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese evenly over the top of base of the dough.

  • Place the baking pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the edges of the pie are golden brown and the cheese is melted and the sauce bubbling. Allow to cool until the cheese is set (about 5 minutes) before slicing into 8 squares with a pizza wheel or sharp knife. Serve warm.

  • For a make-ahead meal, bake the pizza for 15 minutes and remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely, then cover and place in the refrigerator. Before serving, bake for another 15 minutes in a 375 degree F oven, and then proceed with serving directions in the previous step.


P.S. Thank you for all your support! I couldn’t do this without you. If you are wondering why I ask that you buy My Cookbooks, please see my FAQs!

Comments are closed.

  • SAlly
    September 18, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Thank you for posting this fun recipe. I am in the process of waiting for the  dough to increase in size. It was a bit confusing, as the recipe stated, follow steps through 4. But step 2 tells you to put in a bowl to rise. So, I was following through step 4 and then switching over, however, I noticed, that would be in error. I am still learning to bake, if I had more experience, I think I would have caught that earlier. We are looking forward to the dinner tonight. Thank you again, for all your efforts and details.

  • September 12, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Oh my!  That looks heavenly!  It truly does!   You are now my new favorite blog!  LOL

    Kim M.

  • Jacqueline K
    September 12, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    I am wondering….GF cheeses…are there only certain cheese I should eat? BTW, I have GF on a SS on my Tablet so when I cook, it’s easier to see. I also take my tablet when gros. shopping to make sure I get all the correct ingredients.

    • gfshoestring
      September 12, 2012 at 2:10 PM

      Hi, Jacqueline, The only cheese I know of that, in its pure form, could be gluten-containing, is blue cheese if it is actually grown as bread mold (although most blue cheeses no longer are). Other than that, as far as I know, you should be in the clear unless it is a shredded cheese and has additives or a melange with gluten-containing additives. Great that you have the book to go! Thanks for your support!
      xoxo Nicole

  • LisaCanteen
    September 12, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Guess what we had for dinner (and lunch, today)? As soon as I saw this I knew what we were eating. Been so long since we had a decent pizza and this was outstanding. I even had everything so it was super easy to put together. 

    The only thing missing were some small children who happen to like small dogs who could have not only entertained those small dogs while someone was making dinner but shared some pizza with us. Just saying. Pizza with beer. It’s what we don’t miss anymore, thanks to you! 

    • gfshoestring
      September 12, 2012 at 1:30 PM

      Mrs. Canteen! I love that you made this. My kids’ eyes were wide as saucers last night as they saw me wrap up some for Brian’s lunch today. My little one said, “Daddy sure eats a lot for lunch!” Which just meant – make sure you leave enough for me. ;) She would have been thrilled to eat your pizza and play with your dogs.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Annette
    September 11, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    I can’t wait to make this one. Thanks to your cookbook which I got via Kindle and this blog of yours, I have been able to enjoy so many of the foods that seemed gone forever!  Your recipes, ingredients, and methods are better than any I’ve tried!

    • gfshoestring
      September 12, 2012 at 10:09 AM

      I’m so happy that I have been able to help restore a sense of possibility, Annette. I believe that we can bring ’em all back, each and every old favorite, one at a time. Thanks for the nice note!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Marilyn
    September 11, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    I just received your cookbook.  I,m  new at gluten free cooking, and anxious to try your recipes.  Will the Red Mill all purpose flour work in the foaccia pizza dough ?

    • gfshoestring
      September 11, 2012 at 7:00 PM

      Hi, Marilyn,
      Thanks for picking up a copy of my cookbook! No, Bob’s Red Mill flour will not work at all in the focaccia recipe, or for almost any of my recipes for that matter, I’m afraid. It is a bean-based flour, and will not behave, smell or taste like a high-quality all-purpose flour. For a yeast bread, the flour you use is particularly important. I would really recommend Better Batter, by mail order if it isn’t available in stores where you live (like it isn’t where I live). If you would like to blend your own, I also have a couple “DIY” all-purpose flour blend recipes here on the site.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jennifer S.
    September 11, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Just pre-ordered the new cookbook! :)

    • gfshoestring
      September 11, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      Thank you, Jennifer! I can’t wait ’till you get it!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Rebecca Blackman
    September 11, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    This is going to make pizza parties so much easier!  And based on the history of your recipes, much, much tastier!

    • gfshoestring
      September 11, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      Oooh, Rebecca, this would be perfect for a pizza party! Slice it into smaller pieces, and you’re looking at kid sized pieces or a nice appetizer. Smartypants. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Rebecca Blackman
    September 11, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    This is going to make pizza parties so much easier!  And based on the history of your recipes, much, much tastier!

  • surfinfamily
    September 11, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    You are truly an amazing gluten free chef!!  I so look forward to your posts!!

    • gfshoestring
      September 11, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      Thanks so much for the nice note, surfin. I really appreciate your kindness!
      xoxo Nicole

  • kclark
    September 11, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Us commoners love you.  This looks sooooooo good.  

    • gfshoestring
      September 11, 2012 at 1:22 PM

      Birds of a feather, Kristi! :)
      xoxo Nikki

  • psxkeeling
    September 11, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    Looks delicious! And the new site design is lovely!

    • gfshoestring
      September 11, 2012 at 10:33 AM

      Thanks, psx! So glad you like the new digs. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Rose
        September 11, 2012 at 1:26 PM

        Can you freeze the dough before baking for later?

        • gfshoestring
          September 11, 2012 at 1:43 PM

          Hi, Rose,
          No, yeast dough should not be frozen raw. That is why I suggest parbaking it, along with toppings, and finishing it later.
          xoxo Nicole

Where should I send your free guide?

By entering your email, you're agreeing to our Privacy Policy. We respect your email privacy, and will never share your information.