Disclaimer: This blog includes sub-par camera photos. It’s all I gots people!
My friend Lindsey
and I finally tackled this dish a couple Saturdays ago. Not only was this the first time I have made pizza from scratch, but we took it up a notch and decided to tackle a Cauliflower crust! Versions of this recipe is all over the blogosphere right now. Check this out. Doesn’t it look amaze-balls? And it was soooooo flavorful. Maybe better than…… NORMAL pizza!!!???? yep.
There are definitely a lot of recipes out on the web and Lindsey
found this one from Michelle over at The Lucky Penny blog
. She calls the recipe ‘The Best…” and I am thinking she may be right about it. We made a few adjustments, but all credit should be given Michelle.
The texture was very surprising. It really was bread-like. The added seasoning to the crust itself made all the difference. Even though it wasn’t a super crispy crust like you can get from regular pizza dough, it did hold its own and the end pieces still had a nice crunch. I thought we might need to use forks to eat it, but it wasn’t at all!
For toppings we went with simple. We weren’t sure how much weight the crust would be able to carry so we played it safe with good quality cheese, sundried tomatoes and fresh basil. But you really can put what ever you like best on it. You can’t go wrong!
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Cook at 450 F degrees
1 medium sized head of cauliflower (we got a huge on and had left overs. We got 3 cups after processing)
1/8 – 1/4 tsp sea salt (this is by taste in my opinion)
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp of garlic powder
¼ tsp of crushed red pepper (optional. Omit or put more!)
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg (we ended up using 1 egg and 1 egg white because we had a lot of cauliflower)
Optional 1 Tbsp flour (this is optional, all depends on texture of the dough. To keep it gluten free use almond meal as suggested in original recipe)
The whole thing, prep and cooking took about 2 hours. We got all the ingredients at the local grocery store and headed back to Lindsey’s apartment to put our chef’s hats on. It would be nice to share how much this meal cost, but we did not keep track of the cost. I can tell you we did buy organic as much as possible. Nice thing is, cauliflower is really affordable. I think it is about $2/lbs for organic at Whole Foods.
The oven. You want to pre-heat it to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. And the key thing here is to put a cookie tray in the cold oven because you want that thing piping hot when you put the pizza crust on it. If you are awesome enough to have a pizza stone then use that! We are not cool like that, but we had a nice cookie tray to work with 🙂
First things first. The cauliflower. We washed (and dried) the cauliflower and then cut off the florets. You want to chop the florets finely(food processor) so that you get what Michelle called “snow”. You can use the stems too, but you really don’t get the texture you want. Just save them for another time and roast them with some olive oil, salt and pepper….finish them off with lemon and grated parmesan? Mmmmmm. But I digress.
If you do not have a blender or food processor you can use a cheese-grater on the cauliflower. We tried both.
The mini food processor clearly won out. Same amount of time, probably faster even. If you don’t have one, the mini food processors are worth it and you can usually find them under $30. Pulse the florets in your processor until you get a powdery consistency.
This took about 3 or 4 batches in the mini food processor.
You want about 2-3 cups. I say go big or go home. Try to get 3 cups. Better to have too much than too little, right?
Pop the processed cauliflower in the microwave for about 4 minutes. (remember to use microwave safe bowl + cover!)
The point of heating the cauliflower is it will make it easier to extract as much liquid from the cauliflower as possible. (I have read that you can omit this part and still squeeze the liquid out, but I expect it to require a lot more muscle). The more liquid that stays in the cauliflower can cause your crust to be too crumbly and not stick together. You want a nice chewy crust right?
Once the cauliflower cooled enough to work with (about 15minutes) we dumped in onto a clean kitchen towel and proceeded to twist the crap out of it. I might have used my elbow at one point. (I think we squeezed at least a cup of liquid outta that stuff!)
Now that you have nice dry, packed together, cauliflower to work with you can add all the other ingredients!
Your parmesan, mozzarella, salt, oregano, basil, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. (Not to mention the wine bottle in the background. We treated ourselves because we are awesome chefs 😉 ) The mozzarella was a bitch to grate because it was the fresh stuff, but it was worth it. Maybe next time we will remember to put it in the freezer beforehand to make it a little easier to work with….. (Tip: whenever using dried herbs, it helps to activate their flavors by crushing the leaves between your fingers as you add them to your recipe.) Then we added the egg and 1 egg white and Lindsey mixed it all together with her hands. We thought it was a bit too wet so we added about 2 tbsp of flour to it. You want it to be sticky, moist. But be aware that it is not going to feel like sticky floured yeasty dough.
I wanted to include a close up picture, you can kinda see the moisture that is still in there. This is what I mean by not sticky like a regular dough.
Then lay the dough out onto a lightly greased piece of parchment. (If you don’t have parchment, go get some. Trust me. Or else the clean-up will be monstrous). Now just press with your fingers to shape a round pizza crust! About a foot in diameter. We went with a thin, but not too thin width. I tried to get a good picture to show you want I mean.
I would say that is about 1/8-1/4inch thickness.
Now it is ready for the oven! Stick that puppy on your heated tray/stone for 10-20 minutes. We used the underside of another cookie tray to shimmy the dough and parchment onto the hot surface. Michelle recommended 8-11 minutes, but ours took a little over 16 minutes. Every oven is different so don’t stress too much on the timer, go by the color of the crust. Below is what ours looked like when we pulled it out, but I say you could even go for darker, just watch those edges.
Once the crust looked to be at our preferred doneness we added a step to help the crust crisp up a bit more. This was removing the pizza crust from the oven. Turning the broiler on and broiling each side for a few minutes each, all the while the dough was on a piece of parchment. We might have been fine without it, but we didn’t want to chance the crust sticking to anything. This broiling step is completely optional and somewhat complicated (careful of burns!), but we think it helped.
Look how beautiful!! The above photo is of the bottom side of our crust. You can really tell how much the broiler helped darken and make it that more sturdy.
Ready for the toppings!
I made the pizza sauce the night before, again based on Michelle’s recipe found here.
It was super easy and I had all the ingredients were pantry items! Best part was I was able to set it simmer and reduce for over an hour, because of this it developed a dark, rich color. This made plenty and I ended up freezing the rest for future pizzas and future pastas because it would be great as a simple marinara too.
Toppings were thinly sliced/pulled fresh mozz and sun-dried tomatoes. We also added salt and pepper at this point, you know, just cause.
Back in the oven.
Just needs enough time for cheese to melt, about 8 or so minutes, and then you need to try to resist the urge to dig in right away. Let it sit a few minutes. I think we waited 5 minutes much to Lindsey’s
Pictures do not do this pizza justice. Trust me. It looks simple but the flavor was amazing. This recipe was just perfect for me. It was flavorful, healthy and fun. Healthy and flavorful being the most important because I am trying to eat better and lose a weight/get in shape/all of the above.
– I will try dough with 2 egg whites instead of an egg and an egg white.
– cook crust a little darker
– definitely do extra step of broiling the two sides
You better believe we finished the whole thing! (and yes I am talking about the pizza AND wine)
P.S. I have heard that you can make the crust ahead of time and freeze it. I have not tried it myself, but I think the next time I make this I will definitely make extra so that I can test that out. I would love to be able to make some personal size pizzas, freeze them and have them ready to eat on those days that when I just don’t have the time, but still want something yummy. I will be sure to share the results!
Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions or feedback!