Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

I know, Pi Day was yesterday. And I've made my fair share of pies but what about a pizza pie? Totally still a pie. #closeenough.

I've had this ongoing battle with bread baking. I'm not good at getting the bready things to rise, yeast is not my friend. But I really love pizza so there's that. Loophole: cauliflower pizza crust. This is possibly and most likely the healthiest pizza I've ever had. Ever.

My favorite pizza has evolved from 'just cheese' to 'just about everything'. Supreme is my jam but meat lovers is right up there. So let's do a bit of both, vegetables AND meat. We're covering all the major food groups.

The cauliflower crust is made by grinding and cooking the cauliflower florets, much like we did for cauliflower rice. To prevent the crust from getting too crumbly, the cooked cauliflower is strained using a cheese cloth or paper towels (I used paper towels). This is also done when making zucchini breads or cakes to get the extra water out.

The cooked cauliflower is then mixed with some almond meal (ground up almonds), spices and one egg. It's not too messy so using your hands is recommended. Spread the dough on a greased baking sheet (or if you have one, a pizza stone).

Next is the easy part: toppings! Add your desired sauce (red sauce, pesto sauce, BBQ sauce) and then a sprinkling of cheese. I used non-dairy cheese which can either be Daiya or almond cheese (I prefer the almond cheese). Or you could use regular cheese. Top with your toppings! In this version, I used peppers and onions which were pan cooked before adding to the pizza. I also used some pre-cooked chicken sausage.

Add some more cheese to your toppings to really make sure they stick. Bake until the crust is no longer wet and the cheese has melted.

I found the crust wasn't structurally sound enough to pick up and eat like a regular pizza but dang it was still good with a fork. This satisfied my pizza cravings without the guilt, winning! You know you're an adult when you use a fork and knife to eat pizza. I'm sorry I laughed at my parents for doing so all of my life.

Makes 1 small pizza
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower
  • 2 Tablespoons almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Pizza sauce and cheese for topping (I used non-dairy almond cheese)
  • Toppings of your choice
  1. Chop the cauliflower into florets, removing the stems. Pulse the florets in a food processor until there are no large pieces left. It should be kind of like corn meal.
  2. In a large pan, cook the cauliflower for 5-6 minutes, lightly toasting. I added some olive oil to the pan first.
  3. Allow the cooked cauliflower to cool until you can touch it with your bare hands. 
  4. While the cauliflower cools, preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease. Alternatively, you can use a pizza stone, just follow the prep instructions that come with it.
  5. Once the cauliflower is cool, place in a cheese cloth or paper towel and gently wring to remove excess water. If using paper towels, be careful as the towels may tear.
  6. In a medium bowl, mix together the cauliflower, almond meal (made by grinding almonds into a course meal, similar to the cauliflower step), olive oil and spices. Stir to combine.
  7. Next, add the egg and mix together. This is most easily done with your hands. 
  8. Spread the dough onto the parchment paper, flattening as you go. You want an even distribution of dough. (If using a pizza stone that's been preheated, approach with caution!).
  9. Now you're ready to dress it up! Add a layer of pizza sauce and evenly spread.
  10. Sprinkle your cheese of choice on top but not covering the pizza sauce completely.
  11. Add your toppings of choice (I used 1/2 a green pepper, 1/2 red pepper, 1/4 onion and 2 pre-cooked chicken sausages that I cooked together first) and add a final layer of cheese.
  12. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the crust is firm. You can cook longer if you like a crispy crust.

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