Perfect Pizza with a Cauliflower Crust
Prep time: 20 min • Cook time: 20 min • Yield: One 9 to 10” pizza
- Pizza stone or sheet pans
- 1 medium sized head of cauliflower to yield about 3 cups
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, or a blend of basil, marjoram and oregano
- 2 tablespoons almond meal
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil if you cook with it
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons mozzarella, Romano, or Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Coconut oil cooking spray or olive oil spray if you cook with it
- Preheat oven to 450o F. Place pizza stone or 2 sheet pans (one pan on top of the other) on the middle baking rack. (Double panning prevents the pizza from burning on the bottom.)
- Cut florets off cauliflower and pulse in a food processor for about 30 seconds or longer to form a fine meal. Place in a microwave-safe covered bowl and heat on high for about 5 minutes to soften the cauliflower. Drain cauliflower and let sit in colander for a few minutes until it is warm, but comfortable to the touch. Pour onto a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much water as possible. Do this several times. You will be surprised at how much water is in the cauliflower. You are essentially making “cauliflower flour”.
- Place cauliflower in mixing bowl and add salt, pepper, seasonings, almond meal, oil, egg,( and optionally cheese) and mix well using your hands. Cut a parchment sheet large enough to hold a 9 to 10-inch round pizza crust. Spray parchment with oil. Turn out “dough” onto parchment, and form into a 9 to 10-inch circle, patting down thoroughly just as you would traditional pizza dough. Spray top of pizza dough lightly with oil.
- Slide parchment sheet onto the preheated pizza stone or pan and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the crust starts to turn golden. (You will be baking it further after adding toppings so don’t over bake.)
- Remove from oven, top with desired toppings, return to oven for 3 to 5 minutes to warm through. Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes before slicing.
Because the pizza will only be in the oven for a few minutes after you top it, it is prudent to precook the toppings. (Pepperoni and salami do not need to be precooked.) You can quickly sauté any of your favorite vegetables: red, green, yellow, and orange bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, etc. and meats: meatballs, sausage, bacon, chicken, etc.
If you allow yourself to have cheese occasionally, go for it! For pizza sauce you can use organic bottled marinara or other pasta sauce. For a white pizza, brush the precooked pizza shell with olive oil and a sprinkling of finely minced garlic, top with pesto, fresh mozzarella, and heirloom tomato slices. Add fresh basil leaves dipped in olive oil when the pizza comes out of the oven. Here are some of my favorite toppings. You can optionally omit the cheese on any of them:
- Pesto, fresh mozzarella, Romano, sliced tomatoes, and fresh basil
- Spicy buffalo sauce, cooked chicken marinated in the sauce, mozzarella, and fresh baby spinach (put the spinach on after the pizza comes out of the oven)
- Tomato sauce, caramelized onions, bacon, and arugula (put the arugula on after the pizza comes out of the oven)
- Olive oil, thin slices of grilled steak, caramelized onions, and spring mix (put the spring mix on after the pizza comes out of the oven)
- Pesto, roasted red peppers, and sausage