Is It Actually Pizza if You Can't Pick It Up?
I have tried to make cauliflower crust so many times, but it usually ends with me eating the pizza with a fork and knife—and what fun is that? Finally, after a few tweaks, I have figured out how to make cauliflower pizza crust that you can actually hold in your hands, like a regular dough-based pizza. It's bad enough we're sacrificing our pizza dough for a healthier version, why should we have to sacrifice the integrity of the entire pizza in the process?
The trick definitely is in how you handle the cauliflower, and I'm going to hook you up with that secret today. Though this process is just that: a process. I am going to give it to you straightforward and as painless as possible, so let's just jump right in...
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 15 min
2 personal pizzas or 1 large (12x16) pizza
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Cut all of the cauliflower florets off both cauliflower heads.
- Put the florets in the food processor and grind them all up. I guess this is the part where they say, 'rice the cauliflower'. A few little chunks are okay, but basically you pretty much want it to look like rice. You'll have to load/reload your food processor a few times to accomplish this.
- Place all of the riced cauliflower on a parchment-paper-lined tray and stick it in the oven for 15 minutes. Stir it around and back for another 5 or 6 minutes. The point of this is to get some of the moisture out of the cauliflower. Removing the moisture is key to ensuring a solid crust.
- Once you have done this, take it out and let it cool down (about 10-15 minutes). Now turn your oven up to 400F.
- Line a bowl with cheesecloth and add the cauliflower to it. Let it cool more if necessary. You will be handling the cauliflower with your hands, and if it's too hot you're going to have a hard time. It's as simple as that.
- Once cool, wrap the cheesecloth around the cauliflower into a ball and start squeezing it. This requires some serious muscle. I usually recruit the boyfriend, but if you don't have a big guy's muscles lying around, you can do it just fine; it's not that difficult. Remove as much liquid as you can. When you think you're done, squeeze it some more.
- Once you feel like you've gotten out all the liquid you can, dump your cauliflower in the stand mixer. You can probably do this part manually, but I can't guarantee the same results.
- The hard part is done. Now add your eggs, seasoning, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese and mix it up. I start slow and speed up as it mixes. Once you have it mixed, add your aged cheddar. (You can use any type of sticky cheese here: mozzarella, medium, jalapeno chedder, even goat cheese might work, but I personally like aged cheddar.) Mix it up well. It should start looking 'kind of like a dough', but it isn't dough, so don't anticipate a perfect dough ball; it will fall apart a little.
- Line your 12x18 pan with new parchment paper and then butter (or grease) it. Use Pam or whatever you like; just don't skip this part.
- Place your cauliflower onto the parchment paper. Form the shape of your pizza and pack it down. I usually make it the shape of the pan. The thickness depends on you. It will not rise like regular dough.
- Put it in your 400F preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- Now here's another tricky part: you need to flip it. Remove the crust from the oven. Grease a piece of parchment paper and place it on top of the cauliflower crust, greased-side down. The easiest way I've found is to get another pan and place it on top of the crust upside-down and then flip it on top of the new pan. It's easier if you have help, but I'm sure you can pull it off alone. Slip it back onto the warm pan, adjust accordingly, and place it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes (or more if you feel it's not done yet).
- Add your favorite toppings. Place it back in the oven until your cheese melts and your satisfied with the top (about 5-10 minutes). The edges should be a bit crispy, depending on how you formed them in the pan. Voila! Enjoy!
- 2 heads cauliflower, chopped
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup aged cheddar cheese
- Mediterranean Style: Pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, spinach, red onions, feta cheese, chicken, splashed with balsamic vinegar
- Heart Healthy: Low-sodium marinara sauce, spinach, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, chicken, partly-skimmed mozzarella
- Vegetarian Option: Goat cheese and caramelized onions, arugula, red pepper, olive oil, mushrooms, red pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese
- Meat Lovers: Bacon, sausage, pepperoni, prosciutto, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, cilantro, olive oil, chives
- Classic: Pizza sauce, mozzarella, green peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni, olive oil, Parmesan cheese
You Can Freeze the Leftover Crust
Great news, ladies and gents, you can freeze the leftover crust. Just wrap your cauliflower dough in cellophane or put it in a freezer Ziplock bag, and place it in the freezer. You can freeze for up to three months. When you're ready for it, just take it out ahead of time and completely thaw it before using!
© 2021 Joanne Kristin