I recently heard about this from some trusted foodie friends on Facebook. I immediately loved the idea. I could easily be a vegetarian, and I love cauliflower. But in pizza crust? I wasn’t sure. Pizza is my holy grail and I am pretty snobby about my crust. Still, it gnawed at me, bothered me, and stayed in my mind until I was at the market and had to lob a head of cauliflower into my basket. I had my doubts…I figured it couldn’t possibly been someone Italian who invented this…I told myself it wasn’t an expensive thing to try…and promised myself I would not blog about it if it was a total failure. I planned my toppings carefully, in case I needed something to distract me from the weird crust.
I started with my sauce:
I put grape tomatoes (you could use cherry tomatoes as well) in a glass pie dish with some olive oil and chunks of fresh garlic. A little salt and pepper, basil and oregano, and roasted it in a 450 degree oven for 15 mins or so. Smashed it with a fork when I took it out…leaving the sauce fairly chunky…DONE.
For my toppings, I wanted to keep things healthy. My friend Angie turned me onto these sweet little bell peppers. They are delish! I sliced them up with some red onion and fried them in olive oil in my cast iron skillet until they were carmelized and sexy. Yes, sexy. You know it’s true.
Finally, to top it off…a 1/2 cup of chopped spinach…and fresh mozzerella slices. Nothing beats fresh mozz…it beats the rubbery bagged stuff anyday. And it looks so darn beautiful and rustic. I need a moment…I get misty.
Ok…I know, I know…you want the crust recipe. Geez you’re so impatient. I’m trying to get you to see the whole picture/pizza…Ya pickin up what I’m layin down here? Huh? Ok…here it is:
Cauliflower Crust Pizza
1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 1 egg, beaten 1 tsp dried oregano 1/2 tsp crushed garlic 1/2 tsp garlic salt olive oil (optional)
pizza sauce, shredded cheese and your choice of toppings*
To “Rice” the Cauliflower: Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-do pulse or you will puree it. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself.
One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
To Make the Pizza Crust
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt, stir. Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9″ round. Optional: Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning.
Bake at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until crusty.
Remove from oven. To the crust, add sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes).
*Note that toppings need to be precooked since you are only broiling for a few minutes.
This crust is very wet when you shape it on the cooking sheet. You may have to eat it with a fork on a plate…especially if your toppings are heavy. But so what…it’s worth it to have such an indulgent delight and not have to feel the guilt. Dont be dumb…try this. My skeptic family went bizerk. Honestly.