Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cauliflower Crust Pizza (CCP)

It's no secret that I love pizza. There are a couple of pizza recipes already on this blog, so this one is not the first and won't be the last. The thing that makes it different is the crust - it's made of cauliflower! Examine the gorgeous toastiness, the well-formed roundness. It's looks tasty, doesn't it? Well, it WAS. This recipe truly belongs here in Yummyland. The pizza got a firm two-thumbs-up from all of us at the dinner table. And crazy enough, this recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, low-carb, in high in awesomeness. 

I had a conversation today about pizza, and how even the thinnest of thin-crust is still relatively high in carbs and so not a great choice for those with diabetes or pre-diabetic, which relegates it to the rare-treat department. Which got me to thinking about the vegetable-based crusts that are out there these days....which is the best? And at it's best, can it be anywhere near as good as the "real thing"? So I did a quick cruise around the interwebs and found this one. By all accounts it seemed like a good choice. I haven't credited the original site because there are so many versions of this out there, I have no idea where it came from originally. Several people who posted on it mentioned the importance of squeezing the water out of the cauliflower really well...listen to them. I may not have squeezed adequately and so the centre didn't get crispy like the edges, needed more time to brown and firm up, but as the edges were already brown I didn't want to cook too much longer so I ended up with a pale undercrust. Next time I will squeeze more and remember to heat up pan or stone before placing the crust on it, and get that gorgeous golden crust all over. Was it the same as wheat-crust pizza? Well it was less different than expected. Was it as good as wheat-crust pizza? Hmm I didn't think it would be, of course not, but you know what? It is equally delicious! And because of it's healthiness, even better. The kind of better that makes your mouth AND body happy. 

So here it is, without further adieu, my take on the popular cauliflower-crust pizza! Welcome to Yummyland, CCP! 

1 small head cauliflower (about 500g)
¼ cup parmesan cheese
¼ cup mozzarella cheese
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp Italian herbs
½ tsp garlic powder
1 egg

Place a pizza stone in the oven, or baking sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone. Preheat oven to 450ºF. On a cutting board, place a large piece of parchment paper and spray it with olive oil (Mr. Misto is a great oil spray jar, get two and use one for olive oil and one for canola or other vegetable oil wih a higher smoke point and you will be set!).

Wash and dry a small head of cauliflower. Cut into florets. Pulse in your food processor for about 30 seconds, until you get powdery snow like cauliflower. You should end up with 2 to 3 cups cauliflower “snow”. Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl, cover and cook on high for 8 minutes OR steam in a steamer pot on the stove top, whichever you prefer. Dump cooked cauliflower onto a clean tea towel and allow to cool for a bit before attempting the next step.

Once cauliflower is cool enough to handle, wrap it up in the dish towel and wring the heck out of it. This is the exact instruction from three or four different recipes....and it's maybe the most important step. You want to squeeze out as much water as possible. This will ensure you get a chewy pizza like crust instead of a soggy crumbly mess. So squeeze and squeeze and then when you are pretty sure your hands can't take any more squeezing, tag off and get someone else to squeeze some more. 

Dumped squeezed cauliflower into a bowl. Now add Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, sea salt, dried herbs, garlic powder, and a dash of red pepper if you want. Mixy mix, form into ball. 

Now the fun part. Use your hands to form the dough into a crust on your oiled parchment paper. Pat it down thoroughly, you want it well-compressed and smooth around the edges and a nice thin-crust thickness. 

Using a cutting board, slide the parchment paper onto your hot pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 8-11 minutes, until it starts to turn golden brown. Remove from oven.

Spread with a simple pizza sauce (see below), cheeses, and whatever toppings you like, just not too much or your crust will get too weighed-down. Slide parchment with topped pizza back in the hot oven and cook for another 7 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and slightly golden.

Cool for a few minutes before cutting, then behold your delicious grain-free cauliflower crust pizza! Cut and serve wit ha big ole salad. This was such a great dinner, and not even a treat dinner, just a regular everyday healthy dinner! Who knew. Cauliflower is my new favourite thing. Remind to tell you about cauliflower rice sometime soon!

Nutritional info: for 1/3 of the crust recipe above, there are 136 calories, 6g fat, 13g protein, 8g carbs (woot!), 3g fibre, and 450mg sodium. The toppings are up to you!

Simple Pizza Sauce: 
1/3 small can tomato paste, 2-3Tbsp water, 1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs, 1/8 tsp cayenne, dash of salt and pepper. Combine in bowl, should be thick but not pasty, but good a spreadable. I find this sauce is great for pizza as it has lower moisture content (you can control that) and so does not make the crust soggy, especially important with this one. 

1 comment:

  1. What a fabulous idea! Cauliflower is the miracle veg! I use tomato paste for my pizza sauce too. If I'm feeling ambitious, I might try this crust (all that wringing sounds exhausting!).

    Hope you are well, sweetie!