Cauliflower pizza crust

I try to prepare healthy meals. McB and I both exercise and eating a good diet is part of the equation for good health. The healthy meals also make us feel a tiny bit less guilty when we indulge at The Chocolate Moose.

I ran across this recipe for pizza with a cauliflower crust and decided to give it a go. McB is picky and doesn’t like cauliflower so I knew it was a gamble. It’s not his favorite pizza, I knew it wouldn’t be. As a Brooklynite he is pretty particular about which pies can even be called a pizza, so I knew this would not be a love story. It’s a “like” story with lots of veggies so I call it a victory.

You can view the original recipe at Eat. Drink. Smile. My version with little tweaks and notes is below.

Here’s what you’ll need to make the crust. You are on your own for the toppings.
– one head of cauliflower (You’ll need 1 cup of cooked, riced cauliflower for the final product. You should be able to get at least two crusts from a single head.)
– various dried Italian herbs (My mix consisted of 3 tbs basil, 1 tbs oregano, 1 tbs McCormick Italian blend from the grinder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp reduced fat Parmesan cheese, and a dash of black pepper. You might not need as much seasoning. I was trying to erase all traces of a cauliflower flavor.)
– one egg (beaten) or 1/4 cup of egg substitute/egg whites
– one cup reduced-fat, shredded, Italian cheese blend

Begin by removing the leaves from your cauliflower. Wash it and allow it to dry before breaking it apart.

Remove the stem pieces and keep the florets. It is best to go ahead and break up the cauliflower into small pieces at this stage. For me, ricing is easier if you are already working with smaller bits.

I used my Bullet (OK, the faux Black & Decker version) to rice the cauliflower. You want to mince it down to the consistency of rice (thus ricing) and you want to avoid pureeing. Since I am using a small device, I riced in four small batches. I ended up with 1.5 cups of uncooked, riced cauliflower. It loses some volume as it cooks so you’ll want to have more than one cup raw. I added half my seasoning to the cauliflower at this point. I wanted it to meld with the flavoring as soon as possible.

Riced cauliflowerThis is my very lovely riced cauliflower and seasoning.

At this point, you need to cook the cauliflower. The original recipe calls for microwaving the cauliflower for eight minutes. I took advice from one of the commenters and nuked the cauliflower for 90 seconds at a time, stirring in between each time.

When the cauliflower was done, I let it cool a bit before adding in the rest of the dry seasoning, the egg, and cup of shredded cheese.

cauliflower crust uncookedAfter everything was combined, I poured the mixture onto a sheet of parchment and made a circle. I decided a thin crust would crisp better.

The crust baked at 450 for 12 minutes. I then added my toppings – chicken breast with BBQ sauce and spinach. This was already cooked and warmed in the microwave. I then topped with cheese.

I baked the pizza for another five minutes at 450 and then when the cheese wasn’t browning, I decided to use the broiler. There was a broiler mishap (first use for the new oven’s broiler) so I had to scrape off all the cheese and put the pizza back in for five minutes. This time I used a cheddar/moz mix and had much better results.

Here’s our finished done You can clearly see that the broiler mishap left a mark on the parchment. The edge of the dough looks black but it really isn’t burnt.

I put too much saucy topping on the pizza. I was able to pick it up (at least in parts) but it was just too heavy flavorwise.

I performed a correction-of-errors and removed the toppings from McB’s second piece. He saw it later the same night recycled as his snack. There is no sauce on this piece other than a bit of residual BBQ.

We’ll see this on the menu again. I have ideas for tweaks. I might try fresh basil and some crushed red pepper to season the cauliflower mixture.

For McB’s benefit, I promise this will never replace our every-other-Friday pizza.

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