For pizza crust with a big dose of vi­ta­mins, try cau­li­flower

The Hamilton Spectator - - FOOD - MELISSA D’ARABIAN

Cau­li­flower is a won­der-veg­gie. No longer rel­e­gated to boil­ing and cov­er­ing with a bright orange cheese sauce (sorry, Mom), cau­li­flower is step­ping out in the place of starch like rice in stir-fries or in­stead of wheat flour in pizza dough.

Cau­li­flower is mild, so it takes on what­ever flavours you throw at it, which helps it be the con­vinc­ing chameleon that it is. Cau­li­flower is as healthy as our moms told us, pro­vid­ing a hefty dose of vi­ta­mins, in­clud­ing C, K, B6 and fo­late, as well as smaller doses of other vi­ta­mins and min­er­als, plus fill­ing pro­tein and fi­bre. All in about 25 calo­ries per cup.

So, it’s a wor­thy veg­etable, and, it’s time to take a look if you haven’t al­ready. Let’s start with pizza crust. Steamed, riced cau­li­flower is mixed with a binder (usu­ally egg and cheese), and then shaped into a pizza crust shape, baked and then topped with tra­di­tional pizza top­pings. Bake up a few of these crusts and keep in the freezer for last minute pizza night that is health­ier than take­out.

Since my daugh­ter is gluten-in­tol­er­ant, I’ve been mak­ing pizza crust for years with cau­li­flower, re­sult­ing in a few key pieces of ad­vice from the trenches. The big­gest chal­lenge with cau­li­flower crust is keep­ing it together, since there is no stretchy gluten work­ing for you.

But, no prob­lem, if you fol­low my tips: First, once you cook the cau­li­flower, make sure to squeeze out as much mois­ture as pos­si­ble. Ex­cess wa­ter will keep the crust from stay­ing together. In fact, I like to go a tiny step fur­ther and add just a lit­tle bit of ab­sorbent flour — just a ta­ble­spoon or two of co­conut or oat flour make a big dif­fer­ence.

Next tip: bake the crust and flip it over be­fore adding any top­pings. If you aren’t flip­ping it, you can’t get the firm crusty tex­ture to form, and that re­ally helps the crust taste and feel pizza-like.

Fi­nal tip: make smaller pizza crusts in­stead of one big huge one. They are just eas­ier to man­age and keep in­tact. Top your pizza crust with what­ever top­pings you like — lots of cheese and meat if you sim­ply eat­ing low-carb, or load up with roasted veg­gies and a light sprin­kling of part-skim moz­zarella if you want to stay low-cal. But for the crust, fol­low my recipe for the no­fail step-by-step.

Fool­proof Cau­li­flower Pizza Crust


4-5 cups “riced” cau­li­flower (buy it riced, or pulse in food pro­ces­sor un­til rice-sized) 1 egg ½ cup grated Parme­san cheese ½ cup grated part-skim moz­zarella cheese 1 ½ tea­spoons gran­u­lated gar­lic 2 tea­spoons Ital­ian sea­son­ing 2 ta­ble­spoons of co­conut flour (or other ab­sorbent flour, such as oat or quinoa flour) fine corn­meal for sprin­kling, op­tional salt and pep­per

Heat oven to 400 F. Place the riced cau­li­flower in a mi­crowave-safe dish with 2 ta­ble­spoons of wa­ter, cover and cook in mi­crowave for 4-5 min­utes, or un­til ten­der but not mushy. Re­move from mi­crowave, drain off wa­ter, gen­tly press­ing out ex­cess mois­ture with a spoon, and cool.

Mean­while, in a large bowl, whisk the egg with the cheeses, gar­lic and Ital­ian sea­son­ing. Place the cooled cau­li­flower in sev­eral pa­per tow­els, or in a thin clean dish towel, and gen­tly but firmly squeeze out ex­cess mois­ture. (You may be sur­prised by how much liq­uid you can squeeze out.)

Add the squeeze cau­li­flower to the egg and cheese mix­ture. Sprin­kle in the co­conut flour, salt and pep­per and mix well. Mix­ture will not stick together like reg­u­lar dough.

Line a bak­ing sheet with parch­ment pa­per and spray with non­stick spray. Di­vide the dough into 3 or 4 mounds, and gen­tly shape them into pizza crusts, do­ing your best to push the dough together to make clean edges. Bake un­til dark golden brown, about 20 min­utes. Re­move from the oven and let cool for 5-10 min­utes. Flip with a spat­ula. If us­ing, sprin­kle the bot­tom of the sheet with a lit­tle corn­meal when you flip the crusts.

Top the crusts with any sauce, cheese, top­pings and bake un­til melted, about 10 more min­utes.

Tip: You can bake ex­tra crusts with­out top­pings and freeze them for fu­ture use.

Nutri­tion in­for­ma­tion per serv­ing: 157 calo­ries; 70 calo­ries from fat; 8 g fat (4 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 70 mg choles­terol; 495 mg sodium; 12 g car­bo­hy­drate; 4 g fi­bre; 3 g sugar; 11 g pro­tein.


Steamed, riced cau­li­flower is mixed with a binder (usu­ally egg and cheese), and then shaped into a pizza crust shape, baked and then topped with tra­di­tional pizza top­pings.

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