And here it is… Pizza that is also healthy and filled with vegetable goodness ?
Cauliflower based pizza, please stand up and take a bow.
Alright, I’m not going to try and convince you that cauliflower based pizzas are better than regular, stoned-oven-baked, pizza-dough pizzas from you favourite pizzeria. Because, let’s get real for a second, walking home with a warm pizza box containing your favourite pizza with all that gooey cheese, those wonderful, colourful toppings, and that thin and crispy (or thick and dough-y, however you like it ) pizza base is just so gooooooood.
It cannot be replaced. NEVER!
No, I’m not going to try and convince you that cauliflower based pizzas are as good as that….
Or am I?!?!
Don’t get me wrong I was also a skeptic. I mean…. cauliflower…. on a pizza?
What kind of quinoa-stuffing, kale-blitzing, chia-seed-inhaling, hipster-foodie tomfoolery is this?
But you know what? I did make it…..
And, I have to admit, it was good.
If I’m really honest with you it was delicious.
In fact, seeing as I’m all about honesty right now, I might as well say it was so delicious that there was not a single crumb left on the plate within a few minutes of it coming out of the oven.?
Yes, there it is. I’ve said it. Cauliflower based pizzas rock my world.
Sure, they will never replace the greatness of an authentic pizza-dough-based pizza; it’s never quite going to fill the comfort food spot on lazy Friday, pizza-beer-and-movie nights – you know, when all thoughts of healthy eating fly out of the window.
However, for a crazily healthy lunch, an alternative dinner option, for a snack (or for those on gluten free/ grain free diets) these cauliflower based pizzas are rockstars.
Low carbs, low calories and yet packing a mighty nutritional punch….
Yes, yes and more yes!
And for my first attempt at making this cauliflower based pizza I’m keeping things very simple; as pizzas should be. I’m not loading them sky high with toppings. Just a simple sauce and cheese deal with a sprinkling of fresh basil.
So here’s what we have:
The Cauliflower Base
I’ve already talked so much about these that I will keep this quick. Cooked cauliflower, a couple of eggs and some seasoning is all it takes to make these amazing bases. That’s right, there’s no need to worry about yeast, and kneading, and resting time, rolling etc
Just mix together, spread onto a baking tray and cook. Simples. ☺️
In my cauliflower pizza base making experiments I tried a lot of different variations such as including cottage, and several other types, of cheese in what I can only assume is a method of reducing the cauliflower-ness of the base.
But they are not necessary.
Salt, Pepper and some herbs – and even a pinch of a few spices – can hold that cauliflower taste at bay because that’s not really the main flavour we want when eating pizzas, right?
The cheese can, however, helps as a binding agent so if eating pizza with your hands is important to you – as it should be – you may want to look at adding the optional cheese into the base.
Classic tomato based sauce is what beautiful, traditional pizzas call for but, seeing as cauliflower based pizzas are just a little left of field, I thought we would need something a little different, something that tickles the tastebuds…
And this is where the Thyme to Mango 5 Minute Red Pepper Sauce comes in. If you’re not familiar with the sauce it is my go to recipe for whenever I want a tomato sauce – or chopped tomato – alternative.
Tasty, nutritious and so quick and easy to make (it really does just take 5 minutes) it certainly adds a new dimension to all your usual recipes. If you don’t believe me, you can always see the 5 minute red pepper sauce magic happening is several other recipes including:
- Red Pepper Spaghetti Puttanesca
- Quinoa and Red Pepper Quinoa Bowls
- Gemista: Greek-Style stuffed tomatoes, eggplants and zucchini
- Feta and red Pepper Mac and Cheese
- and Chilli con carne with red Pepper sauce
For this pizza recipe, a cup of the Red Pepper Sauce is reduced down to a thick pizza-sauce like paste and this creates a wonderfully rich and tasty flavour to pair with the cauliflower.
Alright, the cheese may not add any health value to this pizza but, when the pizza dough and sauce are this healthy, I feel a decent helping of cheese can balance things out a bit.
Because what is pizza without cheese, am I right?
I went with mozzarella because… Pizza… but you can definitely swap that out for any other cheese you want.
So before your skeptical mind dismisses the cauliflower based pizza, I urge you to give it a try because you may just be surprised how good it can be.
And, if it doesn’t work for you, I think Brussel sprouts may be the next so-called “superfood” so you can surely try making a pizza dough with those. ha ha ha!
Cauliflower Based Pizza – with Mozzarella and Basil
Prep Time: 30 mins || Cook Time: 40 mins || Makes: 1 Pizza
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FOR THE BASE:
- 1 Large head of Cauliflower, separated into florets (about 700g)
- 2 Eggs
- 80g Parmesan (optional)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Dried herbs (of your choice, mixed herbs or even just oregano work great)
- Pinch of salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 Cup of Roasted Red Pepper sauce *see note
- 100g fresh mozzarella, sliced
- handful of fresh basil leaves
- Place the cauliflower in a food processor and blitz until it resembles rice. Place into a pan of boiling water and simmer for several minutes or until cooked. Strain and allow to cool.
- In batches, place the cooked caulifour into a towel (or muslin cloth) and squeeze out as much excess water as you can. Just when you think you can’t squeeze any more, squeeze again, until the cauliflower becomes quite dry and comes together into a ball when squeezed.
- Meanwhile, place the 5 minute red pepper sauce into a pan and bring to the boil. turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and allow the sauce to reduce by half or until it takes on a thick, paste-like consistency
- Preheat you oven to 220°C/ 410°F
- In a bowl whisk together the eggs, parmesan cheese (if using), herbs and salt and pepper. Add the cauliflower and mix until well combined.
- On a lined baking tray, or pizza stone, spread out the cauliflower mixture in uniform thickness, and shape into desired Pizza shape. Press it light down with your fingers or the underside of a spoon
- Place in the oven for 35 minutes or until the edges and top are slightly browned. Remove from the oven. Spread over the Red Pepper sauce and top with mozzarella. Place back in the oven for 3 – five minutes or until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with fresh basil and serve.
- The Red pepper Sauce can be replaced with a few tablespoons of regular pizza sauce or even pesto.