Cauliflower Pizza Crust a Delicious Work in Progress
Not exactly finger food.
Photos by Christina Uticone
Like many, I'm trying to take this first month of the New Year to detox a bit, by making better food choices and upping my workout schedule. We tend to throw it down during the holidays, and the cumulative effects of rich food, plentiful booze and sleep deprivation had me scouring the Internet for some new, healthy recipes. After seeing a dozen Tweets and Facebook status updates about cauliflower pizza crust, I set out to give it a try. My husband loves cauliflower, and I liked the idea of a lower-cal version of a favorite dish.
The recipe is pretty simple, especially if you have a food processor (which we do not), but even if you have to chop the cauliflower yourself, it's a pretty fun project.
• One head cauliflower • One egg, beaten • Salt, pepper, herbs and spices to taste (dried or fresh) • One cup shredded mozzarella cheese • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced • Toppings of your choice
Preheat the oven to 400° F. After chopping the entire head of cauliflower into rice-sized pieces (this is where a food processor would have come in awfully handy), I put everything into a microwave-safe bowl and nuked it for about eight minutes, until the cauliflower was translucent. One of the recipes calls for boiling the riced cauliflower and then draining the water, and then further squeezing out moisture with a dish towel, claiming that this method will result in a drier crust, one that can be picked up and eaten like a regular piece of pizza. After ricing an entire head of cauliflower by hand, that sounded a little labor-intensive, so...maybe next time.
After the cauliflower was softened in the microwave, I added the egg, salt, pepper, cheese, some dried basil and three cloves of minced garlic. Onto a pizza stone I pressed the mixture into a pizza crust shape approximately 1/3 inch thick, and then popped the whole thing into the oven for about 25 minutes, until the crust browned on the edges and top. I removed it from the oven, added toppings -- not a lot, as a veggie crust didn't seem likely to hold much weight -- and the whole thing went back into the oven, where I broiled it for about three minutes. (In addition to a schmear of Don Pepino pizza sauce, I added some chopped olives, spinach and cherry tomatoes, plus another quarter-cup of mozz.)
The crust stays quite moist, so it doesn't exactly make a clean getaway from the stone.
On the plus side, this is truly a yummy alternative to a traditional pizza crust. On the negative side, there was no way to eat this with our hands -- the dough was still somewhat wet, and didn't easily separate from the pizza stone. This was definitely a fork kind of meal.
It was a nice change of pace, though, and filling enough to count as dinner, especially with a side salad. A bit of experimentation is in order -- especially if the claim that the crust can be prepped for a drier outcome is true. Overall, one of the better versions of a healthy pizza I've tried, and great for anyone who is going for gluten-free.
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