Cauliflower Crust “Pizza”

Buffalo Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Cauliflower “Pizza”

If you’ve been making the rounds in the low-calorie food blog world lately, you’ve probably seen this recipe come up again and again. Apparently, it showed up on Pinterest sometime in April and caused quite a stir. I missed this craze, so I only found out about this recipe in the last couple of weeks ago. What stuck me is how much it looks like a pizza –  it must tastes like pizza too, right? Delicious, crusty, melty pizza, now without the guilt. It tastes nothing of the sort. Don’t get me wrong, the result is good, just not the way pizza is good. It’s good the way a latke would be if it were made with cauliflower and topped with cheese.

Roasted Vegetable Hot Salad

If I were in charge of inventing this recipe, I would absolutely not call it “cauliflower pizza.” Maybe I would call it a “cauliflower flat thing” or “hot salad” but definitely not anything with that would make the diner expect something as glorious and satisfying as pizza.

Buffalo Chicken Cauliflower Flat Thing

That said, this recipe really stretches a single head of cauliflower. I was able to make two 10″ pizzas with one medium sized head. On the first try I decided not to mess with meat and just threw on various veggies that were in the fridge. The result was okay, but the tomato sauce I used was a bit runny and caused the crust to get soggy.  It also didn’t have punch of flavor I wanted. On the second try I tossed the tomato sauce and made a buffalo chicken pizza with faux-blue cheese dressing. This was much better, and the crust was less soggy. Later on, while doing some post-cooking reflection/research, I found a blog that recommends squeezing the water out of the cauliflower after it is cooked, which I think would help give the crust some much needed crispness.

If I could do it all over again:

  1. After microwaving, squeeze the hell out of the cauliflower until it’s bone dry
  2. Cook on parchment paper or some equivalent nonstick surface (the tinfoil I used managed to fuse with the crust while baking)
  3. Use a thick sauce on top

The cauliflower crust makes a very neutral base, so I recommend robust toppings like chicken tikka masala topping or goat cheese crumbles with balsamic vinegar glaze. 

Recipe

Each pizza serves 6-8, recipe adapted from recipegirl.com

CRUST

(recipe makes two 10″ crusts)

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cored and separated into medium florets (approx 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • Buffalo chicken topping or Roasted vegetable topping (recipes follow)

1. Using a food processor, pulse the florets until it looks like rice. Place the cauliflower crumbles in a large, microwave safe bowl and microwave them on “high” for 8-10 minutes, or until softened. Allow to cool a few minutes.  Using a clean dish cloth, a sieve or a ricer, squeeze as much water as possible from the cauliflower.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine1 1/2 cups of cauliflower, egg, cheese, oregano and garlic salt. Pour the mix onto the pan and shape the crust into a  9 to 12-inch round on the prepared. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Roasted Vegetable Topping

  • 1 cup tomato sauce (I used Rao’s Homemade Arrabiata sauce)
  • 1/2 cup grated part skim mozzarella
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 yellow onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup asparagus, cut down the middle
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup yellow squash, finely sliced
  • Basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy)
  • Kosher salt

1. Heat the tomato sauce in a saucepan over medium low heat until thickened.

2. In a separate pan, heat canola oil over medium heat and add yellow onions. season with a pinch of salt and drop heat to medium low until transluscent. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are soft and the onions begin to caramalize, approximately 10-15 minutes.

2. Spread the tomato sauce on top of the baked crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle 1/4 cup mozzarella on top. Add the mushrooms and onions, spreading it out around the pizza. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Add asparagus, bell peppers, squash and basil leaves. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper and season with kosher salt.

3.  Set the oven to broil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the toppings are cooked and the has melted and bubbled. Cut into 6 slices and serve immediately.

Buffalo Chicken Topping

  • 3 oz plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 chicken breast, thinly sliced and wicked of excess moisture
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup grated part skim mozzarella

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and coat with all purpose flour. Shake off the excess and set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat the 1/4 cup canola oil on high heat. Slowly add the chicken pieces and cook until crisp and golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Remove from the oil and transfer to a paper towel. Combine with the Frank’s Hot sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

2. To make the faux-blue cheese sauce, combine the yogurt, vinegar, lemon juice, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle the sauce on top of the baked crust. Add the chicken and hot sauce to the top. Sprinkle 1/4 cup mozzarella on top.

3.  Set the oven to broil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the toppings are cooked and the has melted and bubbled. Cut into 6 slices and serve immediately.

The Breakdown

Roasted Vegetable Pizza

Calories 125
Calories from Fat
Total Fat 6.4g
Saturated Fat 2.6g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 10mg
Sodium 371mg
Total Carbohydrates 10.8g
Dietary Fiber 3.7g
Sugars 5.5g
Protein
Vitamin A 8% Vitamin C 92%
Calcium 17% Iron 6%

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Calories 160
Total Fat 5.1g
Saturated Fat 2.8g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 35mg
Sodium 1080mg
Total Carbohydrates 11.3g
Dietary Fiber 2.6g
Sugars 3.6g
Protein 17.1g
Vitamin A 2% Vitamin C 76%
Calcium 19% Iron 6%
This entry was written by Slavy Seconds and published on August 29, 2012 at 11:22 pm. It’s filed under Easy, Entrée, Low Calorie, Salad and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Cauliflower Crust “Pizza”

  1. Margo Lang on said:

    For the nutritional breakdown, is one serving one slice of pizza?

  2. Margo Lang on said:

    Great blog, btw!

  3. elemcee on said:

    I just tried the Buffalo Chicken version, with a few modifications. I used store-bought grilled chicken strips and just tossed them in the Frank’s, sans oil and flour. And instead of the faux blue cheese, I used a low-cal blue cheese yogurt salad dressing by Bolthouse Farms. Would’ve been perfect, but I didn’t watch it close enough during the broiling phase, so the edges got a little burnt. But definitely a good recipe. I could even see making the crust “naked” and eating it as a snack like a cracker.

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