It’s officially time for Sherry Petersik and Katie Bower’s Pinterest Challenge! While I’ve been soldiering on with recipes this year in the spirit of their challenges (such as this one, this one, and this one), I can now officially submit mine to the Petersik’s blog paradise. Hurrah! For the official Pinterest Challenge submission, I decided to tackle something that I’d seen repeatedly in the hallowed … pages (?) of the Pin: Flour-free Cauliflower Pizza Crust.
While I’m not vegan, nor am I gluten-free, I like exploring veggie-based meals for both environmental (fewer methane emissions? Woot.) and health (fewer calories + more nutrients? Dietary goodness FTW.) reasons. With more than a few friends and relatives with Celiac’s disease and other gluten struggles, I’ve explored gluten-free baking and cooking with mucho curiosity. And with pictures like this circulating on Pinterest, my interest was officially piqued:
No, but seriously. Come to mama.
So, I hunted through Pinterest and my food board, Nosh, and found this gem from Cook Lisa Cook. Using her recipe as a guide, I crafted my own Cauliflower Crust Pizza with toppings, cheeses and sauce that I had in my fridge and pantry. While my recipe isn’t vegan, it’s definitely vegetarian-friendly. For a vegan version, I’d suggest using egg substitute (flaxseed meal comes to mind) and daiya or another vegan cheese to substitute for the mozzarella. If you try a vegan version of this crust, let me know how it turns out! (And for all things vegan, check out one of my favorite blogs, Vedged Out. Somer’s take on vegan, veggies & more is oh-so fabulous.)
Here’s my almost-finished pizza (the cheese just needed to be broiled for 6-7 minutes), which the History Teacher and I noshed upon for dinner a few weeks ago:
The Verdict? 3.5 out of 5 Pinterest P’s.
The recipe, as a head’s up, takes a bit of time. The “Cauliflower ricing” process was more labor intensive than I expected — and probably would be really challenging, if not almost impossible, without a food processor or blender. As it was, I used my mini-processor, and it took me a good 20-25 minutes to completely chop, process, and thus “rice” the cauliflower. However, once that process was complete, the rest was very, very easy. The resulting pizza was light and flavorful, and I felt like a health food master after nomming upon its tastiness.
The only other drawback? Since it’s essentially veggies, cheese and tomato sauce, it needs some substantial salad or other side dishes (erm, a gigantic glass of Chardonnay is totally a side dish) to round out the meal if you’re sharing the pizza with another person.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust — serves 2-3 (easily doubled into two crusts). Adapted from Cook Lisa Cook.
- 1 head Cauliflower, prepared into Cauliflower Rice (see below)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tsp dried basil, or 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano, or 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Pizza toppings: cheese & sauce of your choosing; if you’d like meat (say, chicken or pepperoni), it should be pre-cooked. The pizza only broils with cheese for about 7 minutes, which doesn’t leave enough time to cook protein toppings
Here’s what you do:
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- To make the Cauli-rice, chop the cauliflower into small chunks. In batches, process in a food processor or blender until you have fine crumbs, about the size of cooked couscous grains. Transfer to a microwave-safe dish and microwave on HIGH for 7-8 minutes.
- Using a dish towel in the same way that you might with frozen spinach, squeeze the water out of the cooked cauliflower until the “rice” is as dry as possible. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Add the egg, cheese, spices, salt & pepper. Mix thoroughly until well combined. This is your pizza “dough,” friends!
- Spray a cookie sheet with baking spray, or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat silicone mat. Spread the mixture onto the cookie sheet until it is about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick and either circular or rectangular in shape. (Your preference). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until browned at edges and firm-ish in the middle.
- Remove crust from the oven. Top with sauce, cheese and cooked toppings (if desired). Broil on HIGH for 5-7 minutes, oruntil cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.
- Slice and enjoy!
I’ll definitely be making this recipe again — if anything, I’d love to perfect its veggie goodness for a vegetarian dinner party with friends. I may also try different sauces and toppings; pesto and fontina, perhaps, or a thin bechamel, parmesan and caramelized onions? Let me know how yours turn out!
Do you folks ever cook gluten-free? What sorts of recipes would you recommend to others looking for such recipes? What are your go-to products, substitutes, and recipes?
This post is also participating in Homemade Ginger’s Jamboree.