Pizza w/ Cauliflower Crust

12 Dec

While you may or may not have read about using cauliflower as a substitute for potatoes and in crust, I’m here to tell you that regardless of anything else, this crust is now the only crust I will use.  Ever.  Seriously, it is that good.  Not only does it have more flavor and taste waaay better than any crust I’ve ever had, you can eat it as “bread sticks.”  When my baby sister and I are finally reunited, I’m going to make this for her and watch her happy gorgeous face light up.  Yep, baby girl has celiac’s (booo).  She was a pasta and bread lover to the Nth degree (come on, if it wasn’t so bad for you wouldn’t you be too?) , so for her to be diagnosed was extra hard.  But I think this recipe will help anyone who has an issue with gluten.  Or just doesn’t want to deal with a wheat-based crust!

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Here’s the recipe for the crust.  The original made teeeeny little crusts, so I automatically doubled it:

1  head washed cauliflower with leaves and bottom of stem removed, (this makes two crusts, and trust me this stuff vanishes…make two), grated or put through the grater in a food processor (super easy that way)

2 cups mozzarella cheese (I use a mix of low fat and fat free)

2 eggs (I’m gonna see what happens with egg whites tonight)

4 tsp dried parsley

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp fennel

Any italian seasoning combo will work, but I HIGHLY recommend the fennel.  It added an amazing flavor to the crust that has my mouth watering now.

Preheat the oven to 450 and spray your pan with non-stick spray.

Heat the grated cauliflower in the microwave for 4 minutes.  You’re not cooking it, you’re just softening it a little.  Then set it aside but fluff regularly until it’s slightly cooled.  This prevents it from cooking the egg you’re gonna add.

Once it’s cool enough not to make scrambled eggs, scoop out two cups and add the cheese, eggs, and spices.  Mix well and shape into a pizza crust shape on the pan.  However deep you make it is how deep it’s going to be.  There is no rising or expanding that’s going to happen here.  I recommend aiming for a half inch. Thinner and it’ll fall apart pretty easy.  But the thicker crust held up great for us, was even foldable, and did not need anything but hands.  Pop it the oven for 15-20 minutes, and pull it out when it looks browned and the bottom looks a little black (trust me, this is good.  It means you have a solid base and it’s done)

You can then take it out and use it right away OR freeze it after it’s cooled (put the whole sheet in the freezer til solid, then wrap it up and store it in the freezer).

Top your crust with whatever you want, put it under the broiler until your topping cheese has melted (I don’t mean the crust…and as a tip, you don’t need a lot of cheese because of the base in the crust.  Cheese in this is more of a garnish.  Your ingredients are the “meat” of the recipe, literally or figuratively depending what you use.)

Eggplant Parm pizza

1/2 eggplant, cut into rounds or strips

Breadcrumbs (I used the plain old italian seasoning kind but you can use anything…gluten free, whole wheat, panko…whatever!)

1 egg, beaten

This one you’ll do while your crusts cool a little.  Leave the oven on 450.

When making eggplant, the first step is to sweat your eggplant.  This removes some of the liquid in it and along with it some of the eggplant’s natural bitterness.  Lay your rounds out on a couple layers of paper towel.  Sprinkle the rounds with salt, and let them rest.  You’ll see the liquids bead up like sweat.  Flip and repeat.  You can wipe off some of the salt with the paper towel after.  Dip the rounds in egg, then bread crumbs and place them on a cookie sheet.  I season them a little more at this point, with garlic, pepper, a little shot of cayenne, and whatever else I feel like on that day.  Then bake until they’re browned, flipping half way through.  It doesn’t take long.

Top your crust with sauce, mozzarella, and the eggplant.  Season as desired.  Sprinkle on a little cheese for some “pretty,” then bake under the broiler until the cheese is melted to your liking.  Done!

 

I also did a pepperoni and mushroom pizza.  For this, I sauteed the mushroom ahead of time in salt, pepper, and garlic.  Because all you do is broil the pizza on a pre-cooked crust, cooking time is fast and the mushrooms will come out mostly raw if they’re not cooked a little ahead of time.  Sauce, turkey pepperoni, mushrooms, and cover in cheese.  Again, under the broiler until it looks the way you want it.

I cannot say enough about how good this was.  The crust all on its own can be pressed in a loaf pan and made into bread sticks.  Dunk it in sauce and it’s sooooooo amazingly yummy.  I made this for my boyfriend, his brother, and his roomate…both pizzas vanished almost instantly with all of us wishing we’d made more.  I don’t know how the cauliflower in this doesn’t taste like cauliflower.  It really tastes like crust…but 100x better.  I’ve been challeneged by AB’s (awesome boyfriend’s) roomate to make this with a healthy version of white sauce with a ton of flavor to enhance the eggplant.  I’ll let you know how that goes 🙂

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