Cauliflower Crust Pizza.... Gluten-Free, Grain-Free. Since I recently shared my now favorite flour-based thin crust pizza, I could not not share a gluten-free version:). This gluten-free pizza crust has swept the blogging world like fire over the past year or so.... although it's been made long before that. But I've been lazily procrastinating making the crust. I'll be honest, I'm not much of a follower of most trends. I say most, because every once in a while, something that's trending may catch my eye... and I'll add it to my to do list, especially if it sounds like something I might enjoy or can tweak. And truthfully, I wasn't really keen on the idea at first. I mean really, cauliflower? But....
I finally made it. And the crust far exceeded my expectation. It's really good. I'll be honest, it's not like a real pizza dough, but it does satisfy! The crust, while you can hold it up with your hands, has a slight "vegetable-y" flavor... according to my husband:). Personally, I felt the flavor slightly reminded me of a quiche or a zucchini fritter.... I say slightly, because it wasn't overpowering. Anyway, you won't get the extra crispy crust associated with a regular pizza, but the crust isn't soft and mushy either. And for being gluten-free, it's excellent. The pizza can be a great appetizer or even made into a meal, by simply adding a salad.
I'm mostly posting this recipe for myself, as a reference... because I plan on making it again:). And if you haven't yet heard of this crust before, it's worth making. At least once. I love making it in my toaster oven... no need to heat up the big oven. Now, I've even seen a carrot pizza! Hmmm.... Hope you enjoy...
Note: There are all sorts of variations on this recipe... some simply skip the pizza sauce and topping and just add cheese... to make them more like "breadsticks". Other versions double the amount of mozzarella cheese and skip the parmesan. Others add more egg... feel free to play around with the crust to your liking... but it is important the cauliflower be squeezed dry.
Tip: For a different variation try a BBQ sauce/chicken pizza...
You will need:
Crust: makes 2(6 inch) pizzas
1 head of cauliflower, cut in florets
1 ex-large egg
1/2 scant lightly packed shredded mozzarella
1 tsp Italian seasoning (you could also use oregano only)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
Toppings of choice: * denotes toppings I used
mozzarella cheese*, fontina, or mixed cheeses, shredded
thinly sliced onion*
chopped bell peppers*
pepperoni*, ham, cooked chicken
pizza sauce*, barbecue sauce
dried pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 400 deg F. I used my toaster oven.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then brush parchment paper with oil
1. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and add a pinch of salt.
2. In the meantime, cut cauliflower in florets and place florets in a food processor bowl. Pulse raw cauliflower florets until you achieve a rice-like texture.
3. Add the rice-like cauliflower to the boiling water. Cook for 3-4 minutes.... you don't want to over cook it and get mushy.
4. Get a large colander and place a clean, thin dish cloth inside.
5. When the cauliflower "rice" has cooked a bit, pour the hot water and cauliflower over the dish cloth. Allow to drain and cool somewhat.
6. Twist cloth around the cauliflower rice to remove as much of the liquid as possible... mine was still hot to handle with bare hands, so I used my tongs. When you think there's no more liquid, squeeze again. This is essential... and key to a non-soggy crust!
7. In a large bowl, mix the strained rice, egg, mozzarella cheese, and spices.... season with a bit of salt and pepper. Go light on the salt as the toppings can get to be salty later on. Divide mixture in 2.
8. Place about 1 TBS of the shredded Parmesan on the left side of the baking sheet( that has been lined with parchment paper and oiled lightly)... sprinkling the cheese to form a rough circle about 6 inch in diameter. Add another 1 TBS of shredded Parmesan cheese on the right side of the baking sheet and repeat another circle of Parmesan cheese. You are basically making the base for 2 cauliflower crusts.... it will help with crisping up the crust and give it extra flavor.
9. Add half the mixture of cauliflower on top of one of the Parmesan cheese circles. Using your hands, spread out the cauliflower mixture to form a round circle... roughly 6 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. You can form a "lip around the crust, if you like... really, not necessary. Sprinkle crust with additional 1 TBS Parmesan cheese on top of crust. Repeat with the second half.
At this point, if you want to use your toaster oven you will need to bake in 2 batches. Just place the formed crust with parchment paper in the fridge while the first is baking. Otherwise, use a regular oven and bake both at the same time.... or make a rectangular pizza that will fit the toaster pan. I personally like the round smaller pizzas because they are easier to handle.
10. Place crust to bake in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes.... or until nicely browned. I ended up flipping the crust for the last 5 minutes of baking just to further crisp the bottom of the crust. If you don't want to be bothered, you can skip this step.
11. Remove crust, add sauce and toppings of choice. Bake for another 10 minutes or so... or until cheese is bubbly.