Saturday 3 January 2015

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Nope, that's not a misprint. It's exactly how it sounds. A pizza crust made from cauliflower. No flour, yeast or gluten whatsoever (and very little empty carbs). At Food By Bram, it's not enough to make dishes that are just healthy and delicious; they'd better be interesting! This recipe is just that. A dear friend of mine who is very passionate about eating healthy (and has inspired a few other recipes on this very blog) made this for me one night and I couldn't believe how good it was. I altered the original recipe a bit to suit this post. Discovering something new to eat that tastes good, is modest in calories and filling is a bit like finding a unicorn. It's even more of a find when it's versatile, meaning you can make it many times and so many different ways. That's what this post is all about.

I'm not saying traditional pizza is bad. I love pizza and always have. Every now and then, especially as we get older, it's important to stay healthy while we enjoy the foods we love. This recipe almost feels like cheating because it upholds all of the goodness of pizza that we love but it's so much better for you. Regular pizza dough is made up mostly of flour which is dense in carbohydrates and gluten which your body converts to sugar and spikes your insulin levels. It also contains yeast which is linked to bad breath, bloating, gas, fatigue, decreased libido and other inconveniences. It's certainly not poison, but is best enjoyed in moderation. Speaking of, if you are looking for a good, traditional flour pizza dough, you needn't look any further than here. lol

Enough with the health lecture, just how do you make pizza dough out of cauliflower? Although a vegetable, cauliflower is kinda starchy, dense and filling which makes it a good alternative to bread. All you do is break it down into small pieces, season it for flavour then add some cheese and eggs as a binder to hold it together. The crust is "blind baked" to meld it together and get nice and toasty, then dressed as you would a pizza. Let's take a deeper look at how it's done.


5 cups cauliflower, grated
1 cup mozzarella, grated
2 eggs
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne powder (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil 

Preheat your oven to 350 F/177 C. 

First you'll need some cauliflower. I was able to use this entire head of cauliflower for the pizza. They vary in size so what you're aiming for is about five cups of cauliflower once it's grated. This cauliflower gave me five cups and change.

You're going to need to grate the cauliflower, so I recommend slicing it into quarters. It will make things easier.

Grate the cauliflower and add it to a large bowl.

Grate about a cup of mozzarella and add it to the cauliflower.

Add the thyme, cayenne and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bear in mind that there is already some salt in the cheese.

Crack two eggs into the mixture and stir until everything is evenly combined. 

Lay some parchment paper over a baking tray and dump the cauliflower mixture on top. Use a rubber spatula to spread it into an even layer about one centimetre in thickness. Drizzle with about 2 tbsp of olive oil.

Place in the middle of your preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until lightly golden and crispy.

This is the fun part, where you have total creative control. Dress up your cauliflower crust like you would a pizza. Start out with the sauce of your choice. Here I'm using a garlicky tomato pesto. Don't be overly generous with the sauce. Use the back of a spoon to smear a thin layer over the crust leaving a small border around the edges.

Then add any toppings that your wee heart desires. Here I'm using slices of sautéed cremini mushrooms, red onion, green pepper, bell pepper, miniature tomatoes and wilted kale. The rest of the cooking won't take long so some of your toppings may require some cooking before they go on. Obviously any meat that's not already cured or smoked must be fully cooked before being added. 

Then top with any cheese that you like. I grated more of the mozzarella and some freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. 

Return the pizza to the hot oven and let it bake for 12-15 minute or, well, until it looks done to you. 

Leave the pizza for a couple minutes before slicing into it then cut into whatever size pieces you like. Enjoy warm.

Important Disclaimer:

This is a knife and fork pizza. You will not be able to pick up a slice and eat it like you would a regular pizza. Remember, it's grated cauliflower barely held together by a little cheese and egg. So unless you want to make a huge mess and a waste of food, use a spatula or fish flipper to transfer the slices to plates and get out your utensils.

This recipe is very much intended for health conscious followers of the blog. In no way am I declaring that this is a traditional pizza in any form. One of my passions is the cultural integrity of dishes and in that respect, I admit that this is a healthy imitation of pizza. What makes it worth sharing is that it's easy, delicious and an interesting approach to a worldwide favourite. Not to mention this is fairly inexpensive to put together and can feed several people. You have very little to lose by trying this out. It's a fantastic way to fit a variety of vegetables into one meal. Your body can only thank you for that and in return provide you with a long and fulfilled life. That's what recipes like this are all about.

That wraps it up for now, folks. I have another recipe in the works that is coming up very soon that you won't want to miss. Thanks again for the support and the feedback. Until we meet again,


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