Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Give cauliflower crust pizza a try– a great way to replace bread with vegetables, a no-guilt pizza recipe.

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I’m fully on board with the cauliflower craze. Cauliflower Faux Fried Rice is now a standard in our house when I’m making something Chinese for dinner. And whoever invented cauliflower cream sauce deserves some kind of Nobel Prize. I made a variation of The Lemon Bowl’s Cauliflower Mac and Cheese with Crispy Panko Topping that’s based on a cauliflower sauce but forgot to take photos so I’ll make it again soon and share that recipe here. It’s a keeper!

When I’m done writing this post, I’m heading over to Pinch of Yum to plop down $9 for her eCookbook (my first!), The Creamy Cauliflower Sauce eCookbook. She says, “The eCookbook has 30 recipes that use a creamy cauliflower sauce in place of ingredients like Alfredo sauce, canned condensed soup, or heavy cream.”

Have any of you ever grown cauliflower successfully? Jim tried growing broccoli this year but worms or moths or something wreaked havoc on it. Next year, he’s going to get some organic spray to prevent that. His rainbow Swiss chard was plentiful, thankfully. But maybe next year, I can convince him to grow some cauliflower too.

One night while losing hours on Pinterest, I saw a pin for The BEST Cauliflower Crust Pizza from The Lucky Penny. The photo of her pizza looked so good, I had to click. She’s done her research, trying several bloggers’ versions of cauliflower crust and tweaking her recipe until she came up with this one. She says it’s “picky husband approved.” I can vouch that it’s not-as-picky-as-he-used-to-be boyfriend approved too.

Unbaked cauliflower pizza crust | Grabbing the Gusto

Unbaked cauliflower pizza crust | Grabbing the Gusto

This is not an entirely crisp crust like a regular yeast-risen flour crust, but it takes much less time and is better for you. The middle of the pizza is a bit floppier than the edges. You’ll need a knife and fork for the middle pieces, but you can pick up the pieces along the edges and eat them from your hand.

I did try to dry out the cauliflower “snow” after nuking it by spreading it out on a sheet pan in a low-heat oven for about 30 minutes to see if that would dry it out even more and make the crust crispier. But, I don’t think it did anything, so don’t bother trying that.

Cauliflower crust pizza is becoming one of our favorite Sunday suppers. Guilt-free pizza! Yeah yeah yeah, there’s still the fatty cheese and meat, but I really don’t care. It would be a sad sad world without pizza.

I’ve made three different pizzas with this “dough.”

  • A traditional pizza with marinara sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, pepperoni, and basil.
  • A thin layer of basil pesto on the crust, mozzarella and fontina cheese, roasted red bell pepper strips, sliced shiitake mushrooms, and chopped mortadella. I sautéed the red bell pepper and shiitake with garlic beforehand.
  • A thin layer of mashed-up butternut squash (roasted beforehand with sliced red onion and thyme), red onion and thyme, mozzarella and fontina cheese, kale (sautéed beforehand with garlic), and prosciutto.
Butternut Squash & Kale Cauliflower Crust Pizza | Grabbing the Gusto

Butternut Squash & Kale Cauliflower Crust Pizza | Grabbing the Gusto

I’m thinking about a white clam pizza for next time – the easy way with canned clams, fresh oregano, garlic, and a little bit of bacon or pancetta. And maybe a Hawaiian pizza too.

What kind of cauliflower crust pizzas have you made or plan to make?

Mortadella, Red Bell Pepper & Shiitake Mushroom Cauliflower Crust Pizza | Grabbing the Gusto

Mortadella, Red Bell Pepper & Shiitake Mushroom Cauliflower Crust Pizza | Grabbing the Gusto

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Makes one 10-12 inch pizza.

You’ll need a pizza stone or baking sheet, parchment paper, food processor, microwave-safe bowl, microwave (or try baking cauliflower at a low heat instead), and a towel.

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, washed, dried – should yield 2 to 3 cups once processed
  • 1/4 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon black garlic sea salt, sea salt or kosher salt, or 1/8 teaspoon regular salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Optional: 1 egg white
  • Sauce, cheese and toppings

Place a pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Preheat oven to 450. Spray a piece of parchment paper the same size as the stone or sheet with cooking spray. I sometimes forget to do this.

Core the cauliflower and cut it into pieces. Pulse the pieces in a food processor for about 30 seconds, until the cauliflower becomes powdery and snow-like, about 2 to 3 cups total.

Place the cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and microwave for 4 minutes. Dump the cooked cauliflower onto a clean towel and allow to cool for a bit. Once it’s cool enough to handle, wrap it up in the towel and wring the liquid out of it. You’ll be amazed at how much comes out and how little cauliflower is left. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible – it will help the crust bind together instead of crumbing apart.

Dump the cauliflower into a bowl. Add parmesan, mozzarella, salt, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and flour. Stir to combine. Stir in egg. Work the dough together with your hands. It should be a bit sticky. Add an egg white if it isn’t.

Once mixed together, use your hands to form the dough into a circle or rectangle on the parchment paper. Pat it down so it’s tightly formed together.

Remove the stone or baking sheet from the oven. Transfer the parchment paper onto the stone or sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until it starts to turn golden brown. Your oven may not take as long. Check it every 5 minutes to make sure it doesn’t overcook. The edges should be crispy light brown but not dark since it will be cooked again. Remove from the oven.

Add your sauce, cheese, and toppings. Slide parchment with topped pizza back in the oven and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and slightly golden. Let cool a bit before cutting and serving.

Thanks to Michelle at The Lucky Penny for the original recipe: The Best Cauliflower Pizza

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