First of all, I apologize for the use of “Amazing” in the title of this post…I feel a little sheepish about throwing that in there. But hey, pizza crust made of cauliflower is pretty amazing, and pizza made of cauliflower that still tastes like pizza is even more amazing! I had to experiment with this one a little, but the end results were pretty, well…amazing.
We ended up with a pizza crust made of cauliflower, eggs and cheese that baked up chewy and savory, held its shape better than most gluten free crusts I’ve tried, and passed the taste-test with all 3 of my kids (plus my vegetable-reluctant husband). Intrigued? Read on!
You made this crust out of what?
When I ran across a recipe for grain-free pizza crust, I was excited. Many people assume that gluten-free food (my son and I both have Celiac disease) means healthy food. This is often true, but in the case of baked goods you really have to be careful. Wheat-flour substitutes like rice four and tapioca flour are free of gluten and can be baked into a wonderful product, but it’s a little alarming to think about how much ground rice you’re eating when you bite into that slice of gluten-free bread.
Tapioca flour is actually just a starch, which isn’t great for you in the amounts that you find in a lot of gluten free baked goods. This doesn’t mean that I avoid it all the time, but I try to pick and choose carefully when it comes to how much of these foods we eat. So a pizza crust that’s mainly vegetable is a great way to avoid eating too much starch and get some great nutrients in while you’re at it!
The skeptics were silenced
My family, on the other hand, was skeptical. Would the crust really hold up under sauce and cheese? And more importantly, would it taste like pizza…or cauliflower? I scoured the internet for a recipe that looked like it would really work, and found one appropriately named “The Best Cauliflower Crust Pizza” at The Lucky Penny Blog. I altered it a bit, tripling the recipe (because we’re feeding five here!) and adding some chickpea flour to the mix. It was a bit labor intensive, but well worth the effort.
My family all loved the crust, I felt great about what we were eating, and I was surprised by the not-too-dense, chewy texture of the crust. There was honestly no hint of cauliflower in the taste, and it was not at all crumbly or soggy. The recipe made more than enough crust for our family of five, we ended up with six good-sized personal pizzas! The one drawback we found is that when we wrapped the leftover pizza up and put it in the fridge, it got soggy overnight. Try storing leftovers in parchment paper and re-heating in the oven if your pizza makes it past the first dinner!
The secret to this pizza crust is preparing cauliflower “rice” for your dough. This involves processing the cauliflower in a food processor until it’s fine and almost powdery…cooked “grits” (my Southern roots are showing) is really a more apt description of the texture than rice. You then cook the cauliflower in the microwave, cool it, and squeeze all the extra moisture out of it. The squeezing makes a huge difference! Skip the squeezing step, and you’ll have a soggy mess (don’t ask me how I know this). After you’ve got the cauliflower prepared, the rest of the crust is even easier to make than a traditional, yeast-rising pizza crust.
- 3 heads of organic cauliflower, florets cut from stems
- 1½ cups grated organic, raw milk mozzarella cheese
- 1½ cups grated organic, raw milk parmesan cheese
- 3 free range eggs
- 1 teaspoon crushed organic dry basil
- 1 teaspoon crushed organic dry oregano
- 1 teaspoon organic granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ⅓ cup organic garbanzo bean, coconut or almond flour (like this) (or omit and add an extra egg)
- Preheat oven to 450 F
- Process cauliflower florets in a food processor, pulsing until fine grains form.
- Place cauliflower grains in a microwave safe bowl, cook for 5- 7 minutes on high (depending on your microwave...look for steam rising from the cauliflower)
- Spread cauliflower out on a clean dishcloth or cheesecloth and allow it to cool enough to handle. You may need to use 2 cloths for this.
- Wrapping the dishtowel around the cauliflower, wring out the water as best you can. You might have to work at this for awhile, but it's worth it!
- Put the wrung-out cauliflower into a large bowl, and add the cheeses, eggs, flour (if using) and spices. Mix well.
- Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper. Pat out the dough in 8-10 inch circles on the paper, about ⅓ of an inch thick. You might want to create a bit of a lip along the edge of the crust, to better hold in the sauce!
- Bake the crusts in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until they start to turn golden-brown.
- Remove from oven, and top with homemade pizza sauce, grated raw milk mozzarella, and whatever all-natural toppings you'd like!
- Return to oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Enjoy! Store leftover pizza in the fridge, wrapped in parchment paper.
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What do you think? Have you ever tried a recipe that sounds crazy and found that you loved it?