Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

My husband sent me the link to this recipe over a month ago saying that I should try it....on a night when he was going to be eating his favorite frozen pizza. (He's not a fan of cauliflower.) It looked interesting to me, but I kept putting it off and putting it off. One day last week, while cleaning out my e-mail inbox I came across the recipe again and decided I was just going to make it. The next day I went to the store and got a giant head of cauliflower.

Steve absolutely hates when I try to sneak healthy foods in "where they don't belong". When he asked what was for dinner on Wednesday night, I simply replied, "pizza". (Don't worry, I made sure there was a frozen pizza and a hot oven ready to go, just in case he couldn't eat it.) He started to realize that I wasn't making regular pizza when I was cooking the cauliflower in the microwave. If that vegetable didn't stink up the whole house then maybe he wouldn't have figured it out....that is, until he tried to lift the pizza off of the plate.

On my first attempt, the texture of this pizza was rather soupy. There is no way that you could lift it like you would a normal slice of pizza. The flavor however, I adored. Steve, not so much, but he was a trooper and ate all of his toppings of choice (which included bacon and he definitely wouldn't throw that out!) and part of the crust. He said it wasn't horrible but he would probably call it something more like "white pie" or "cauliflower, cheese, and garlic mush with pizza toppings". This would be the end of his cauliflower crust days. I was happy that he at least gave it a try.

I, on the other hand, was not finished. I was determined to figure out what I needed to do to make this recipe a success. Obviously there was too much moisture. After cooking the cauliflower in the microwave I measured out the amount I would need and I dumped it onto some paper towels and squished it until the paper towels were soaked. I repeated this a few times.  I also baked the crust about 5 minutes longer than what it called for on my second attempt. It was still a little bit squishy but I could lift it in the air!


Cauliflower Pizza Crust (adapted from: Eat.Drink.Smile.)
  • 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 (we did a few different pizzas, 1.turkey pepperoni and green olives, 2. turkey pepperoni, red and green peppers, and bacon, 3. turkey peperoni and black olives, and 4. red and green peppers.) 

Make sure all of your toppings are precooked  since they are only getting  broiled for 3-4 minutes.


To "Rice" the Cauliflower:
Chop cauliflower florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Make sure to watch carefully, DO NOT PUREE IT! (If you don't have a food processor, you can grate the florets with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. The moisture from the cauliflower is enough to cook itself. After the cooking process is when you want to squish some of the excess moisture out with paper towels. The more you can get out, the sturdier your crust will be.

To Make the Pizza Crust:
Preheat oven to 450. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together 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. Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning. (optional)

No toppings yet, doesn't it already look delicious!?

Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes, checking it every so often to make sure it is cooking evenly.
Remove from oven. Add sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes).

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