Do you ever have those culinary moments when you think, "Darn, I'm good!"? I had one of those earlier this week after I found a way to make a delicious pizza after realizing part way through my prep that I didn't have all of the right ingredients. OoOoops.
I had been craving pizza for a couple of weeks, but was biding my time until I could find a cauliflower under $7 that actually looked fresh. Who would have thought that would be so difficult?
If I was so eager for pizza, why didn't I just order "real pizza," you might ask? Well. Simply, I try not to make a habit of eating foods that don't make me feel good. And conventional pizza doesn't usually leave me feeling great.
Once I got home with a cauliflower in hand, I was super excited to get started on my pizza. I had a cauliflower pizza crust recipe in front of me and I was ready to roll. Unfortunately, the recipe called for 2 lbs of cauliflower and my small cauliflower only weighed 1 lb. :'-(
They say that necessity is the mother of invention and so it was for me. I decided to tweak the recipe based on the ingredients I had and hope for the best. Little did I realize at the time that I would prefer the results!
I don't always know where my culinary inspiration comes from. Sometimes, ideas just pop into my head. Since I didn't want to be bothered with using half an egg to make a half batch of cauliflower pizza crust (and likely wind up throwing out the other half), I decided to reduce the fresh goat cheese and add some coconut flour to soak up the extra liquid and thicken the crust. The result was perfect. I have never encountered a cauliflower pizza crust with a texture that would rival that of a standard pizza dough crust (let's be honest), but this one was pretty darn good. It held together, but had a soft, satisfying mouth feel.
I topped the pizza with homemade tomato sauce (a very basic mix of Italian tomatoes, sauteed garlic, a little sploosh of Acropolis balsamic vinegar, avocado oil, and Himalayan salt), caramelized onions, wilted kale, and fresh goat cheese. Once plated, I added a little drizzle of olive oil and, boy, was I one happy camper. This was definitely one kitchen adventure that turned out way better than I could have possibly hoped.
Adapted from Detoxinista
1 lb cauliflower florets, riced
1 egg, beaten (pasture-raised, if possible)
1/4 cup soft goat cheese (plain, unflavoured)
2 Tbsp coconut flour
1/2 tsp dried oregano
pinch of Himalayan salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 F. I know how tempting it is to reduce the temperature to 375 F, or even 350 F, to reduce the odds of burning the crust, but 400 F really does work better.
In order to make the crust, we need to start by making cauliflower "rice." This might sound intimidating, but is actually much easier than it seems. All you need to do is pulse raw cauliflower florets in the food processor until they reach a rice-like texture. I find it easier to do this when I put modest 1-2 cup batches of cauliflower into the food processor at once. The one time I tried to pulse the whole head at once didn't end well.
Steam "rice" for 6-8 minutes. A lot of recipes call for submerging the cauliflower pieces directly in water (and a shorter cook time), but I prefer to take a few more minutes and retain the extra nutrients by steaming.
Lay a clean dishtowel over top of a strainer. I like to position my strainer over a large pot, so the liquid has something to drain into. Scoop in the steamed cauliflower. Using clean heat- and water-resistant oven mitts (mine are made of silicon) squeeze out as much of the trapped liquid as possible. I am always amazed by how much liquid comes out--often a cup or more! Don't skip this step, as doing so is likely to result in a soggy pizza crust.
In a large bowl, mix strained rice, beaten egg, goat cheese, coconut flour, oregano, and Himalayan salt. Mix well.
Press the dough out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. It's important to make sure that the dough is about 1/3″ thick. If it's too thick, it's likely to burn before the right texture is achieved. I like to make the edges of my crust a little higher to hold in my sauce and toppings, but that is more a matter of personal preference than a requirement.
Bake for 35-40 minutes at 400 F. I usually set my oven timer for 35 minutes and then watch my crust like a hawk over the next 5 minutes, so that I can take it out when it gets to that perfect golden brown.
Top as desired with sauce, vegetables, cheese/cheeze, or whatever else appeals. Return the pizza to the 400 F oven and bake an additional 5-10 minutes. I like to wait until my cheese has reached that perfect melt.
If everything has gone according to plan, the crust should be firm enough to hold its toppings--just like a conventional pizza.Most people like their pizza best sliced and served immediately, but I like it just as much cold, as a breakfast leftover, following an evening of refrigeration.
Cauliflower--Cauliflower is a good source of glucosinolates, sulfur-containing antioxidant compounds, which increasing bodies of research are revealing support our cardiovascular, digestive, immune, inflammatory, and detoxification systems.
Egg--Every pasture-raised egg contains about 10% of the recommended Daily Value of Vitamin D.
Goat Cheese--Goat's milk has less lactose and a slightly different protein structure than cow's milk, making it easier to digest and metabolize for many people with sensitivities to cow's milk.
Coconut Flour--Coconut flour is a fantastic, filling, blood sugar friendly source of fibre. Every Tbsp contains 3 grams of fibre!