All right! So you want to make a pizza that won’t make you feel gross about yourself once you realize you’ve eaten half of it in one sitting? Don’t worry, I got you.
No Shame Pizza, that’s what we’re making here, people.
The idea of this recipe is very simple: grate the cauliflower, add everything else, flatten on some parchment, and bake! There is some time that needs to go into it though – especially if you’re going to add more ingredients than just cheese and sauce – those toppings should be cooked or sautéed ahead of time. No one likes a raw green pepper messing up their pizza experience.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust (makes 2 10″ crusts)
1 head raw cauliflower, grated
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c shredded Mozzarella
2 Tb minced garlic
Salt and Pepper
1 Tb oregano
Red pepper flakes (to taste)
2 whole eggs and one egg white, whisked
Oven: preheat to 450 degrees
Tools: parchment paper, sheet pan or pizza stone, saute pan, 2 large mixing bowls, whisk
Misc: Pizza toppings, sauce and cheese
Start by getting yourself a box grater and cutting your cauliflower into hunks that you can easily hold.
Ahem. After you begin grating and have a nice pile growing in your box grater, I have a helpful tip for you: slide a spatula under the grater, holding all your grated goodness inside, and bring the whole contraption over to empty into the bowl. Easy! Keep on until you have a nice pile of rice-like cauliflower, like this:
You can take all the cauliflower scraps you couldn’t grate and either use them in a salad or take a knife and mince them up to add to your pile.
Next, pick your oil of choice, and saute the cauliflower in 3 batches (I picked 3 because that’s the batch size that fit best in my pan, you can do what works for you). While it’s sauteing, add your seasonings. I used salt and pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes and garlic. Use the real stuff, if you can, no powdered garlic should come near this crust unless you’re in some sort of a crisis. Take it easy with the salt, amigo, because the parmesan cheese you’re going to be mixing in later adds some saltiness. Add the garlic near the end of the cooking time though, burnt garlic is a bad thing. After about 5 minutes, your cauli should be nice and fragrant, and you can transfer it into a large bowl. Keep working your batches until it’s all cooked and amazing.
Side Note: If you stopped everything right now, you would have in front of you a super-tasty side dish that would be a great replacement for couscous – for those of us avoiding gluten or carbs. Add some other kinds of sautéed veggies and maybe some feta, and man, you’ve got something good going.
If you’re adding veggies of meat to your pizza, now would be the time to cook those ingredients. I sautéed red onion, green pepper, turkey pepperoni and mushroom for this pizza, but next time I think I would like to try something with chicken and a barbecue or white sauce…I think they would both be amazing with the cauli crust.
Grab your eggs and whisk them up all nice in a bowl. That’s a technical term – “all-nice”. In the bowl you have your cooked cauli, add the 2 kinds of cheese and your all-nice whisked eggs, and mix together with either clean hands or a large spoon.
The texture should be about the consistency of cooked rice that clumps together.
If you’re making 2 crusts, divide the mix in half, placing one half on your cutting board and leaving one in the bowl to be stored in the fridge.
You don’t want the mix to be too wet, the goal is to keep the crust from becoming a soggy mess once it’s done. So grab a handful of mix and squeeze, getting most of the extra juices out. I realize that some of this is going to be egg, but it’s going to be fine. Just hang in there with me, okay?
Now grab a piece of parchment, give it a spray of oil or Pam, and put the mix in the middle of it. Squish it down with your hands, try to make the thickness as uniform as you can without getting all ADD over it. You want to end up with a circle about 1/2 inch thick, with slightly raised edges around the outside, like this:
You can bake it on a sheet pan, but if you have one, it would be better to transfer this loveliness onto a pizza stone to really maximize its crispy potential. Let it bake for 20 minutes, you want crisp edges and a dry, spongy center.
Now just pull the oven rack out a bit and add your toppings. I used a gluten-free pizza sauce, my cooked veggies, and a pizza cheese blend. Pop it back into the oven for around 5 minutes, and when it comes out you will have something you can feel good about inhaling gracelessly.
The question is, of course, did the crust hold up? Did it get all soggy and weird, did it crumble like so many gluten-free foods? Nope, it stayed together, tasted great, and was never crumbly or soggy! I let it cool a few minutes, cut it and could pick it up and eat it without needing a fork. I mean, let’s be real here, this is not the same thing as traditional pizza dough. But it’s healthy and close enough to make me really happy to eat it when the rest of my family is eating their wheat version! Not to mention, I’m getting a ton of veggies and my tummy is happily full instead of sad and crampy from giving in to gluten.
As for the rest of the family, the kids ate it – although pretty begrudgingly. I just remind myself that kids need repeated exposure to things before they come around to it, so I’ll keep trying other versions of toppings hopeful that one day they’ll just go for it.
The husband liked it, and said “Be sure to tell them that it reminds me of eggplant parm and that sausage would have been better.” Sigh.
He was right, though, this kind of crust needs to be thought of as something different from pizza dough. It’s a cauli-crust, and if you think of it as a base for foods in that way, your options open way up. Bechamel sauce and broccoli, barbecue chicken and banana peppers, alfredo and shrimp, they all would be fantastic on this crust.
Lastly, I decided that my favorite part of these crusts were the crispy edges! The next time I make this, I will divide my mix into 4 portions and make smaller individual pizzas to maximize my crust happiness.