I need to know who the creative genius is who came up with the cauliflower pizza crust, because we really need to be friends.
You know me well enough by now to know that I am a sucker for squeezing in more vegetables any way that I can, and when the veggies come into play to replace things like carbs and gluten … I am all about it.
I'm sure you've seen plenty of cauliflower crust recipes floating around, and maybe you've even tried a few yourself. I've always been very curious, and slightly skeptical.
I've seen some vegan versions without eggs or cheese, many versions with eggs and lots and lots of cheese. I just couldn't imagine the ones without eggs would hold up well at all, and the ones with loads and loads of cheese … well …. doesn't that defeat the purpose of making this healthy alternative to a regular pizza crust?
I've been on a mission to come up with a recipe that kept the balance of healthy + delicious in check. What I found was that you do need egg, you do need some flour, you do not need gluten and you do not need cheese. Bring it on.
Some other things to note about cauliflower crust:
This will in no way replace the taste and experience of a real pizza crust. I live in NYC, home to some of the best pizza in the world, so I can hardly tell you, in good faith, that the cauliflower pizza crust will be just like eating real pizza. It won't.
What this does do is give you a little bit of a pizza experience with none of bad stuff. So if you want to have a friday night pizza party, but you don't want the dairy and the gluten there, then this is absolutely your best bet. And when you load it with lots of delicious topping like caramelized onions and brussels sprouts, then who cares if it is a real pizza crust or not.
cauliflower + brussels sprout pizza with a white bean spread, caramelized onions + shredded sprouts
several people at an appetizer, or 2-4 people as an entree
1 large cauliflower head, separated into florets
8-10 brussel sprouts, bottoms removed and halved
1 cup of chickpea flour
1 teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon of salt
a pinch or two of red pepper flakes
for the white bean spread:
16oz can of organic, low sodium white beans
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
cracked black pepper
a couple of pinches of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon of water
for the caramelized onions:
1 large red onion, sliced
a couple of tablespoons of grapeseed oil
a pinch of salt
for the shredded sprouts:
6-8 additional sprouts, shredded
1 teaspoon of sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
3 tablespoons of olive oil
a pinch of salt + pepper
*Pre-heat the oven to 400º
Prepare the cauliflower dough:
- Place the cauliflower florets into a food processor and pulse until they are a fine consistency, like quinoa.
- Transfer the ground cauliflower to a bowl lined with paper towels or cheese cloth and squeeze the paper towel or cloth to release the moisture from the cauliflower, then allow it to sit for a couple of minutes and squeeze it again. Do this a few times until you feel that most of the moisture has been removed. This is a crucial step, because the more water you remove, the less likely your chances are of having soggy crust.
- While you're removing the moisture from the cauliflower, place the spouts into the same food processor and pulse several times until the sprouts are finely shredded.
- Then, in a separate (dry) bowl, combine the cauliflower and sprouts, and add the chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir until everything is combined, and then make a well in the center and add the eggs. Work in the eggs by folding into the mixture until a dough is formed.
- Shape the dough into a ball, and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Using the palm of your hand and fingers, work the dough into a circular pizza shape, creating a small lip around the edge.
- Bake the crust for about 30 minutes before adding the toppings. When the crust is starting to brown on top, remove and set aside until you're ready to add the toppings.
While the crust is baking, prepare the toppings:
- Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, and add the onion. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until the onions start to become very soft, brown, and caramelized.
- While the onions are cooking, prepare the white bean spread by placing all the ingredients for the spread in a food processor and blend until it is very smooth. Taste and adjust any seasoning as necessary.
- For the sprouts, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, oil, salt and pepper, and then drizzle over and massage into the sprouts.
Assemble the pizza:
- Spread the white bean spread in a thin layer over the crust. Top with the caramelized onions. Place the crust with the white bean spread and the onions back in the over for another 5 minutes.
- Remove and finish with the shredded sprouts, and any additional toppings that you like.