Saturday, September 1, 2012

Cauliflower Crust Pizza...Yes! That's Right...No Grain Crust







For those of you who sent such warm wishes for our "big college drop off" experience with our daughter, I thank you from the bottom to the top of my heart.

Your words were so kind.  I was emotionally prepared (no I was not and I cried for hours on the drive home) and we had a wonderful weekend getting her settled.  Her eyes were sparkling  one minute and a little panicky the next, but after her first week of a full load...all is good.

We spent two days running around town getting all of the college "necessities".  Oh, la, la!  That sure did work up an appetite.  We found a little NY-style pizza place called "Home Slice Pizza".  The pizza was amazing...one slice was about the size of my head!  






We loved the pizza so much...we got a SECOND slice.  That might have been a bit of a caloric mistake, but we declared that Home Slice definitely needed to be added to our college weekend visits...yes, in addition to Bahn Mi sandwiches, BBQ spare ribs, Vietnamese Iced Coffee, etc. etc.

But speaking of pizza, I remembered seeing a no grain version of pizza crust floating around the food blogging world.  The crust was made from...cauliflower.  That's right...a cauliflower crust.  Hard to imagine that tasting anything like pizza crust.  It peaked my curiosity but not necessarily my taste buds.

Since I've had so much luck lately using cauliflower to make "faux" Shepherd's Pie and "faux" Chinese fried rice (both coming to 'thyme' soon!)  I knew it was probably worth it to give this new role for cauliflower a try.





Our efforts to give up processed foods and white sugar and eating only "Whole Foods" meant giving up our coveted and longed for "Pizza Friday".  We have managed to track down the most amazing pizza places in each city we have lived in and that pizza find became the Friday night routine.

We tried so hard not to miss this indulgence on Fridays but after a couple of months, we decided that what we missed most from the processed white flour days...was pizza.

So this brings me to this pizza experiment this Friday night that involved making the crust out of cooked cauliflower.  I tracked down the original blog, Recipe Girl,  that introduced this idea to me and decided that we would see if it could rekindle "Pizza Friday" for us....whole foods style.





Making the cauliflower crust was great tactile fun.  After grating a head of cauliflower, it is mixed with eggs, cheese, and spices.  The resulting "dough" is wet and sloppy looking. Kids who love playdoh would love this part.  

It is dumped out onto a baking sheet (which needs to be generously oiled!!) and then "patty-caked" outward to form a large pizza circle.  If you like "playing with food" then this part continues to be fun for kiddos.





After it cooks in the oven, the sauce and toppings are added and then a quick broil to melt the cheese.  

Voila!  It smelled like pizza, looked like pizza, and had no evident cauliflower flavor.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend trying to pass it off as "real pizza" to anyone...

but...inbetween college visits and indulgences at places like "Home Slice" in Austin, it fits the bill and will be experimented with further for our "Pizza Fridays"!

"Pizza Friday" with Cauliflower Crust
(adapted from Recipe Girl blog)

Yield: One 9 to 12-inch pizza (feeds 2 to 3 people)


Prep Time: 25 min Cook Time: 18 min
Ingredients:
CRUST:
1 LARGE head cauliflower (or 4 cups shredded cauliflower)
2 large eggs
2 cups finely shredded mozzarella cheese (I used smoked gouda and cheddar b/c that is what I had)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried minced garlic (or fresh garlic)
1 teaspoon onion salt

TOPPINGS:

Fresh slices of mozzerella
basil leaves

Directions:
Shred the cauliflower into small crumbles. It should resemble rice grains and be "crumbly" Place the cauliflower crumbles in a large bowl and microwave them (dry) for 8 minutes. **Give the cauliflower a chance to  cool. You might put it in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 400˚ degrees F. Spray a cookie sheet or pizza pan with nonstick spray (or use a nonstick surface). ** The first attempt stuck to the pan so really spray or grease a pan well. 

In a medium bowl, mix the cauliflower crumbles with the remaining crust ingredients. Pat the "crust" into a 9 to 12-inch round on the prepared pan. Spray the crust lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 15 minutes (or until golden). Remove the crust from the oven and turn the heat up to broil.

Prepare the pizza: Spread the sauce on top of the baked crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Arrange the fresh mozzerella slices in a circle.  Add fresh basil leaves.  Broil the pizza 3 to 4 minutes, or until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Let cool for a few minutes.  Cut into 6 slices and serve 
immediately.

The pizza looks like you could eat it by hand but we had to use a fork.  We enjoyed it!  You should try it!  It does not duplicate pizza but..it's good!





33 comments:

  1. I love cauliflower pizza, it's amazing how easy it is to make too!

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  2. I have just printed out another recipe for a cauliflower pizza base but this one had 1 cup of almond meal with it. I wonder if that gives it more substance. I will have to try. But I would eat yours any day. It looks lovely and crusty.

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    1. oops Suzanne...my reply is down there below...don't know why it didn't attach it to your comment.

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  3. So glad the drop off went well...you and yours have been in thoughts! We drive my daughter and her boyfriend to the airport tomorrow!

    I love the idea behind this recipe .... I might even have to try it! As always Sarah thanks for sharing your hearth and heart!

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    1. I will definitely be thinking of you!! I am assuming this is for the Italy adventure. Oh, don't you wish you could go too (maybe separately...) I love how my conversations with M. over the phone have taken a dramatic shift. I feel like we are chatting person to person instead of Mommy to little girl. I love it really! So far...

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    2. Yes, it is definitely the Italy adventure .As a matter of fact it does so make me want to go travel,,,and yes separately...and then to meet up for a bit. i have actually never traveled to Europe...but it was always my dream to study in France. So much so i remember breaking up with several boyfriends because i was afraid they would take me off track of my dream....so tomorrow i know ai will miss her...but I am so very excited for her...and all that she will see and learn. For now i will travel vicariously through my daughter.

      So happy to hear about the conversations you're having..it is truly a wonderful thing to be able to relate person to person... you sound really well adjusted with the move,..great job! I remember the first week being the hardest...i cried straight for at least a day and into a week...you seem much better off... well done my dear!

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  4. Hmmm...almond meal. I would agree...I think that might give it more structure. The flavor would probably be delicious. I've thought about crushing up a little "All Bran" cereal and adding that to the mixture just to give more strength to the crust as well. I would love to make several versions using things like buckwheat, teff, or what about oatmeal? Could be fun!!

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  5. Oh, you did it! I'm so glad it went well and that you had some fun and delicious meals despite the bittersweet emotions. I'm very intrigued by this cauliflower crust -- and it also sounds like it could be used in other ways, like a base for sauteed mushrooms, perhaps? Did the pizza hold up enough to be eaten by hand, or were a knife and fork necessary?

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    1. Hi Ann...no the pizza didn't hold up entirely to be eaten by hand. The crust had some crisp edges to it but the rest was the consistency of eggplant (my son came up with that comparison). We cut it with a fork to eat it. I'm not gluten free so I might try adding a bit of all-bran cereal, or buckwheat, or whole grain flour the next time just to play with it. Another blogger suggested almond flour...

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  6. I'm speechless! It's so much fun to really experiment with food, and your pizza looks amazing. At least this should keep your mind off 'Home Slice' between college visits!

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  7. Well, now that is very interesting! It looks delicious! Some time you'll have to tell us if you feel any different..good or bad with your food changes...any weight changes, energy levels...stuff like that.

    now I can almost smell that lovely pizza! Sigh! :)

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    1. We've all dropped 10 pounds! I still struggle with "portion control"...doesn't matter how healthy the food is...I just have to watch how much I eat. We're doing a combo of tennis and running so that keeps up the exercise bit.

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    2. Wow...that is really great! I think the food you're making sounds amazing. It's a huge jump and I admire you for making it!

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  8. Congratulations on the college drop off!! Love the pizza - for someone who loves pizza but doesn't want the carbs - it's perfect!!
    Mary x

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    1. Thank you Mary! College drop off is an emotional experience for sure. Glad we're on the other side of it and moving forward instead of waiting, waiting, waiting all summer long. Yes, this pizza is perfect for carb counters!

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  9. I am so making this. I was just going to try the Low Carb High Fat diet and this would be a perfect recipe! My little one is just 6 months old, can't imagine college :)

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    1. This would be a yummy choice for the low carb...as long as the sauce isn't loaded with sugar...but you could always roast some cherry tomatoes and put them on as a topping...oh, that would be a yummy combination!

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  10. Glad you & daugther are surviving. The first week was pretty rough for our girl, but she seems to be thriving now.
    The pizza crust is very intriguing - definitely worth looking in to.

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    1. Cher, she did have some rough patches too. They were with her scheduling. She practically has to change her entire schedule around because of one class she couldn't get into. She was very stressed about not getting into the class and working the "drop/add" system. But...she did it! Good luck to your daughter!

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  11. Oh yeah - Home Slice is SO GOOD. And YAY for the first Longhorn win of the season

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    1. Oh, Rooth...I cannot wait to take my pizza loving son to Home Slice Pizza next visit. It was just fantastic pizza. And...after having lived in NYC, they nailed it in Austin. M. said the sea of orange parading to the stadium was like nothing she could have imagined.

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  12. This is genius! Lately I have problems having pizza, so maybe I could give it a try!
    It made me smile thinking at you crying all the way home... when my little sister (nine years younger than me) went to Stuttgard for a six-month Erasmus experience, I went with her to help her settling in her new life. Well, I started crying as soon as she left me at the airport and cried all the way back home, like a crazy girl! After a while everything became normal, but at the beginning I was so whining! :P

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  13. I think it is worth the try. It looks good and crusty.
    I am glad the drop off went well and I am sure she will be so busy that the semester will fly by. So how often will you visit? :))

    I cried a lot when I came here as well , and I am sure my mom did cry more. However,you settle into the new normal after a while. Still hard to say goodbye,though. Even after 12 years.

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    1. I have several friends who are on overseas expat assignments. They had to move their kids to college a continent away. As adventurous as I am for myself, my heart just went out to them and I felt like I wouldn't have the strength to deal with that type of arrangement. It is baby steps alright...

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  14. My heart hurts to think of college drop off. I am thinking of you. I know that the feelings aren't just immediate, but keep cropping up. I am glad those moments went well. I know you've prepared her for this, even as your own heart aches. I am thinking of you, friend.

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    1. Thank you Relyn. I can't believe how much this online community has helped me share this transition. I thought I was the biggest cry baby clingy parent but I am glad to know...I might be pretty normal!! :)

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  15. Hey there Sarah, I hope you are adjusting to your partially empty nest. I'm guessing your girl is probably settling in by now.

    And I'm enjoy your kick with whole foods. I've found that once you give up some of our American staples like sugar and white flour, it's so fun to play with all of the other ingredients out there. Cauliflower pizza sounds tasty to me!

    Have a good week,
    E

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  16. I was at a friends house recently and she made a cauliflower crust pizza…it was wonderful! Yours looks beautiful…such beautiful photos!

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  17. I was looking for something like cauliflower crust pizza-) Sounds really healthy to me, I wonder if it will work with broccoli?

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  18. I'm just now getting to your older posts, but I'm incredibly interested in trying this pizza out. If we hadn't just made pizza last night, I'd suggest having this tonight. Maybe next week:)

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  19. Look so yummy. I just found your blog. I started last week and made my first weekly menu plan this week. We made these Monday and I love them! Thanks for all the great recipes! Find Here

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How wonderful to hear from new friends...