Cauliflower crust pizzas have been on my to-bake list since I’ve heard of them last year. Late to the party, I know. The first time, I made a palm-sized one for experimenting, and well, to use up all the leftover mishmash of things I had in the fridge, which included some leftover cauli purée and carrot purée. The mister scrunched up his nose when I told him what I had for lunch, thinking I had made cauliflower pizza, and not cauliflower crust pizza. An honest mistake, really, since some of my friends on Twitter had also mentioned not being able to spot roasted cauliflower florets anywhere.
One thing they got right though is that you can’t spot the cauliflower here; neither on sight, nor in taste. My first attempt was a thicker crust, which resulted in a texture not unlike Nigella’s crustless pizza, almost akin to a yorkshire pudding or popover of sorts. It was good, but admittedly, not great. Though I must accede the fact that my odd misfits of toppings might have contributed to the lacklustre in flavour. This second attempt at a thinner crust and fiddling of ingredients sparked an almost a-ha moment as I took my first bite, when I finally understood what the whole #cauliflowerpizza (that hashtag on Instagram leads to hundreds of cauliflower pizza fans!) fuss is all about.
A common gripe I’ve noticed from reading various blog and Instagram posts on the cauliflower pizza is its crumbliness; the inability to hold together, let alone hold up the toppings, which on hindsight sounds unworthy of the ‘pizza’ title. Such pizzas have to be eaten with a fork and knife, all hoity-toity sounding, which for some could be its appeal, but for me, what use is a pizza if you can’t hold it in one hand and eat it, preferably while typing the said blog post. To counter this problem, you’ll have to be sure to wring the cooked cauliflower rice dry of its water content. Much like venting your frustrations through pounding a chicken breast with a rolling pin, go ahead and picture your worst experience of the day, and squeeze and strangle the daylights out of that cauliflower in your tea towel.
Now, whilst it inevitably lacks the doughy bread texture of regular yeast pizza, the cauliflower crust has certainly earned its place on the pizza wall of fame. Lower in calories, and a great way to sneak in those veggies, this soft (and a little chewy) -crusted pizza is a great alternative for days when you feel like having a lighter lunch or dinner, without any compromise in flavour. With a great tomato sauce, and a generous serving of cheese (of course, that means higher calories, but life’s all about balance, right?), this just might knock the ball out of the park for you even if you’re neither a fan of cauliflower, nor a fan of the blasphemous idea of a vegetable-crusted pizza. All I’m saying is give it a try, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Cauliflower Crust Pizza
(adapted from here)
350 grams cauliflower
3 – 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or any gluten-free flour, like almond flour)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
pre-cooked toppings of your choice
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Grate the cauliflower florets (just the florets will do) into a bowl.
Steam / microwave the cauliflower ‘rice’ for about 4 -5 minutes.
Pour the cooked cauliflower rice onto a clean tea towel, and wring it as hard as you can.
You’d want to get as much water as you can out of the rice, to ensure the pizza holds together.
Dump the cauliflower ‘flour’ into a bowl, and add in the rest of your ingredients.
Combine well, adding less or more flour so it resembles a dough you can work with (a lil sticky is fine).
On a (oil) greased baking pan, dump the dough and pat it out into a 6-8 inch circle, of about 1/2 inch thick.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 -15 minutes (depending on the thickness, you may need to bake longer), until the edges have firmed up and becomes golden brown.
Remove from the oven, and place your sauce and toppings, and return to the oven for about 5 minutes.
(Note: I’ve kept my pizza dairy-free with a homemade chunky tomato sauce, sautéed shrooms, and poached flaked salmon.)