A pizza has two components to make it great: the crust and the toppings. When ordering out you are at the mercy of how your pizza joint likes to prepare your pizza. While some places get it right, there are many that leave you disappointed; usually by making the pizzas too oily or not adding enough of your favourite toppings. We try to make pizza at home but making the dough is a long and challenging process. What if I told you that you could make a delicious, healthy and quick pizza from start to finish while getting the family to eat their vegetables!
The main ingredient that you need is, a head of cauliflower. Yes, cauliflower! Now stick with me as you will be amazed at how easy and delicious this pizza dough is, and won’t even taste like cauliflower. Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables and is loaded with health benefits. You still get all the amazing attributes of cauliflower; low in fat, low in carbohydrates, high in dietary fibre, vitamin C and folate, and it contains cancer fighting compounds – this really is a super vegetable; you can have it all and eat your pizza too.
The process is easy, and the key to a great crust is squeezing as much water out of the cauliflower as possible. You will be gifted with an outstanding, healthy crust that holds together and even has a bit of a crisp to it. Did I say loaded with cheese?
Photo by Natalie Findlay
500g cauliflower, core removed and grated (approximately 1 small head of cauliflower)
75g cheese, grated (asiago, parmesan, pecorino, mozzarella, goat all make great choices or substitute your favourite)
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper, to taste
herbs and/or spice blend of your choice
- Preheat your oven to 425F. Remove core and leaves from cauliflower. If you don’t have a food processor then you can use a hand grater. If you are using a food processor, roughly chop the cauliflower into 4cm size pieces.
- Put grated cauliflower in a medium pot and add 150mL (2/3 cup) water and stir. Place pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 8 minutes.
- Once cauliflower has cooked, press out as much water as you can and pour into strainer. Let drain until cool enough to handle.
- Turn cauliflower onto a clean kitchen towel. Close up the towel and ring out as much water as you can - this process will make sure your crust will be crispier and hold together better. Place “dry” cauliflower into medium bowl.
- Add cheese, salt, pepper, herbs and spices and stir to combine. Add egg and stir to combine all ingredients. Form “dough” into a ball.
- Line your baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment and add a small amount of oil to make sure the crust doesn’t stick to the parchment. Press the “dough” into a circle or square approximately 1cm thick with your hands.
- Place baking sheet or pan in the bottom third of your oven and bake for 10 minutes at 425º F then turn down to 400º F and cook another 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and add your toppings. Return to oven for another 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is golden and toppings are warmed through. Let cool slightly before removing from pan to give the crust time to set.
- Serve with side salad and enjoy all your veggies.
Here is the fun part: the toppings.
Please feel free to add your favourite pizza toppings or try one of these creations:
- pesto + roast chicken + mozzarella - pizza sauce + sautéed onions + cambazola + mozzarella + olives, topped with arugula after removing from oven - pizza sauce + roasted pineapple slices + ham + smoked mozzarella - barbecue sauce + thinly sliced steak + goat cheese + grilled onions - salsa + refried beans + corn + mozzarella + queso fresco, with sliced avocado added after removed from oven
Notes on Freezing - any extra cauliflower should be formed into a crust, cooked and completely cooled before freezing. Wrap in both plastic wrap and foil. When you are ready to use - remove foil and plastic wrap, bake from frozen for 6 minutes at 400ºF then add your toppings and bake another 8 to 10 minutes or until toppings are warmed and the cheese has melted.
Natalie is a freelance writer, photographer and pastry chef. A graduate of Cordon Bleu’s pastry program, she manages her own business too to create custom-made cakes.