I love to cook. Which is good, because I eat a lot. And I have some pretty serious food allergies. So whether it’s making homemade energy bars for mid-workout, or a tasty recovery meal for after, you’ll often find me in the kitchen immersed in my next foodie creation.
I also love experimenting in the kitchen. Sometimes it works out great. When it does, I’d like to share some of my tasty, healthy, and nut-free recipes with you! So keep an eye out for more Foodie Fridays. They probably won’t happen every week, but they will always happen on Friday (it’s alliteration, folks, bear with me!)
This week’s Foodie Friday is an excellent low-carb and gluten free alternative to regular pizza. In addition to my nut allergy, I eat largely gluten free these days because my housemates are both gluten intolerant. They avoid nuts, I avoid gluten, everybody stays happy and healthy. In honor of May being Food Allergy Awareness month, here’s my latest GF, nut-free experiment! (This one took a few tries to get right.)
The most important part of this recipe is getting as much moisture out of the cauliflower as possible. For this reason, I like to let my cooked cauliflower dry on the counter for a while, so be sure to start this recipe long before you want to be eating it! You will need:
For the Crust:
1 large head of cauliflower
½ cup cheese of your choice (I used a mix of parmesan and cheddar)
1-2 t dried herbs
salt and pepper
For the Topping:
Store-bought pizza sauce, or to make your own:
½ cup tomato paste
1 t minced garlic
3 T olive oil
1 t dried herbs
I like to throw a drop of Dijon mustard in my sauce…it gives it a kick that I really enjoy, but it is unconventional
1 cup mozzarella (shredded, fresh, whatever you like)
other topping ideas: spinach, olives, pepperoni, shredded chicken, onions, basil etc
Y’all know how to top a pizza. Or if you don’t I have confidence you can figure it out. The real trick to this recipe is the crust, so here we go!
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Clean and chop your cauliflower. Using a food processor, “rice” your cauliflower into little bits.
You have some choices for cooking the cauliflower. The way that has worked best for me is to microwave it for 8 minutes. I’ve also tried steaming it, roasting it, and boiling it, but found the microwave leaves me with the least moisture in my cauliflower rice.
Now for the fun part. Using a cheesecloth, wring the cauliflower until your wrists give out. Seriously, you want to get every ounce of water out of it. I go through several cloths. Then I lay the rice out on a dry cloth and let it dry for several hours. (If you don’t want to wait several hours, be warned, your crust will not hold together as well.)
Mix your super dry cauliflower rice with an egg, a half cup of cheese, and your herbs, salt and pepper. On a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, shape this mixture into a dough about ¼ inch thick. Bake at 425 F for 20-25 minutes. At this point, the crust is supposed to be turned over. Mine is never sturdy enough to do so by turner. Instead, I grease another sheet pan, place it face down on top of my pizza, and flip the whole pan over. Then I stick the crust back in the oven. Elegant? No. Effective? Good enough.
Bake it for another 10 minutes. Take it out and top it with your sauce and toppings, then crisp it up for another 5–10 minutes.
In theory… the crust should stick together. If it doesn’t when it’s hot, it might do better the next day when it’s cold. Even if you can’t hold your cauliflower crust like a real pizza, it’s still so freaking delicious!
Exchanging cauliflower for gluten is a super healthy dietary substitution. Reducing simple carbs helps stabilize insulin and energy levels and is a great way to stay or get lean. Topping the pizza with protein is, in my opinion, always a good idea.
If anyone has tips on improving my cauliflower crust, I’m all ears. I’m on a huge gluten-free baking kick right now, and have been having fun with these pizzas, but hey, until that crust could fool my Italian friends, there’s plenty of room for improvement!