When you live and grocery shop in Abu Dhabi, you come to appreciate the vast array of produce available at the store. Even with one particular types of fruit/vegetable, you may find multiple options from different locations. When you find multiple options, you may also find ridiculous price differences for the same product, so you must always be mindful of prices.
I found cauliflower on sale the other day and immediately thought: cauliflower pizza crust!
I have has a long and frustrating history with making cauliflower crust pizza, starting with the very first attempt when I actually spat out my first and only bite. I have tried (and disliked) almost every version out there, but luckily for you, I am not one to admit defeat! After trying many, many recipes I have developed (what I think is) the best recipe out there...my own!
WHY CAULIFLOWER CRUST?
Cauliflower crust has been around for quite some time, but it started to really started to appear on my Pinterest home feed around the time that the Paleolithic (or “Paleo”) fad diet became popular. Let’s eat like cavemen.
(Personally, I’ve enjoyed the comforts of the grocery store, butcher, organic market, and currently, the fruit and vegetable souk, as I no longer have to hunt and gather my food. However, I’m neither a dietitian nor a doctor, but it makes sense that processed food probably isn’t doing much for my bikini bod.)
I don’t necessarily follow any sort of diet (Paleo, Gluten-Free, South Beach, Atkins) but eating a cauliflower crust can be a great way to incorporate a serving or two of vegetables and cut calories and carbs. Think: More toppings! MORE CHEESE!
I will be completely honest. This crust will NOT look or taste “just like” regular pizza crust. It’s made with cauliflower for crying out loud! It will, however, give you the full flavor of pizza and will act as a vessel to shovel those delicious toppings in your mouth, which is what crust is there for anyway. You may end up liking the crumbly, slightly fragile texture of this “crust” more than pizza dough. My fiancé does. I’m not quite there yet. I will choose to humble brag here that this crust has held up a lot better than ANY other recipe I’ve tried. If you don’t overload the pizza with toppings as we did below, it should stick together and resist falling apart all the way to your mouth!
If you’d like to omit the cheese for a true Paleo or vegan version, I’d recommend this vegan recipe on Nutrition Stripped. They even offer some pizza topping combinations that sound delicious!
Please enjoy and share your comments below. Happy eating!
Crispy, Crunchy Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes, Additional 5-10 with toppings
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
2 pounds of cauliflower, raw or frozen
1 whole egg
1/3 cup goat cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
3 garlic cloves, minced or ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground chia seeds (optional)
Sea salt to tast
1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Pulse batches of cauliflower florets in a food processor until it is a “rice” like consistency. If using frozen cauliflower, thaw and crumble with your hands.
3. Boil raw cauliflower rice in pot of boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and then let cool. For frozen cauliflower, simply set aside until the next step.
4. Once cauliflower has cooled (I repeat COOLed), place it onto a cheesecloth. A dish towel will work fine if you don’t even know where to get a cheesecloth in Abu Dhabi. Squeeze the excess water from the cauliflower, over the sink please! Let it sit for about five minutes and then come back and squeeze the heck out of it again. The result should be a firm puree, almost resembling grits, if you’re from the South!
5. Combine the cauliflower with the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Two of our grocery stores were out of goat cheese, so I used Anari cheese. It most closely resembles ricotta, and it ended up working out OK.
6. Spread the “dough” onto a parchment paper lined pizza stone…or baking sheet if you ain’t as fancy, like me. Hey, square pizza tastes the same as round pizza. Amirite? Spread the dough about ¼” thick and build up your edges a little higher for a crust that keeps all of your cheese in tact! Rub a little olive oil on the top of the dough before placing in the oven. Note: Don’t leave out the parchment paper, as it’s what keeps the dough from sticking. Parchment paper and wax paper are NOT the same thing, btdubbs.
7. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 400F, depending on your oven. You’ll know it’s ready when the crust is firm and golden brown all the way around.
8. Now the real fun starts! Place your favorite toppings on the pizza always remembering that the best layering goes as follows: 1. Sauce, 2. Cheese, 3. Meat, and 4. Veggies. We decided to go for a more meat-atarian pizza for my hungry hungry husband-to-be, including green peppers, mushrooms, and pepperoni. Yes, we took to the black market to get the pork here in the Middle East. Only kidding! Look for my upcoming FAQ page for the deets on the pork situation. We (admittedly), have a topping problem in general, so I would suggest a more moderate serving if you’d like this pizza to hold up. Here are a few of our other favorite pizza combos, named after some of my friends. I hope this makes them sufficiently uncomfortable :)
- The Lizzy: Tomato sauce, sliced buffalo mozzarella, arugula, capers, shaved Parmesan and lemon zest
- The Kendra: BBQ sauce, pepper jack cheese, grilled chicken, red onion, fresh jalapeno, fresh cilantro
- The Kellr: Dijon mustard vinaigrette, mozzarella and crumbled blue cheese (or some leftover goat cheese from the crust), prosciutto, pears, and walnuts.
- The Danya: Thai chili sauce, mozzarella cheese, grilled chicken, scallions, bean sprouts, shredded carrot, fresh cilantro, peanut sauce drizzle
- The Anne: Tomato sauce, Manchego, chorizo sausage, sliced sweet peppers, cracked black peppercorns
- The Ashley: Alfredo sauce, mozzarella cheese, shrimp and crab meat, garlic, parsley
9. Put pizza back in the oven for 5-10 more minutes or until cheese is melted and toasted to perfection.
10. Slice and grab your pieces immediately before they are all gone!
Yields 1, 8” round pizza crust
Note: The iPhone pictures don’t do the dang thing justice. Try to imagine that I’m not a glutton that was too hungry to properly plate and photograph it with a fresh salad.