Cauli-pizza: Veggie crust cuts down carbs
When I first encountered the recipe for cauliflower pizza, I was more aghast than intrigued.
"Why would anyone put cauliflower on a pizza?" I thought. "That's not a good combination."
But I kept reading the blog post by friend and former Daily Globe colleague Jody Johnson, who now lives in Greensburg, Pa. She moved east to study art therapy, and recently received her credentials in that field.
In early 2012, Jody set out on a quest to live a healthier life and lose weight, and as of late last year had dropped 75 pounds. (Way to go, Jody!) She shares her adventures in living the low-carb life in a blog she calls "Bacon Bits: The Ramblings of a Woman on a Journey to Health and Happiness" (http://baconbitsramblings.wordpress.com/ ).
And it was there that I first read about cauliflower pizza earlier this year in a post she titled "Football and Pizza."
Pizza is a major splurge for people who adhere to the low-carb way of eating (WOE), and Jody had searched for an alternative to the carb-filled crust. After seeing numerous postings about a cauliflower pizza crust, she gave it a try and was delighted by the results.
Once I understood she was talking about cauliflower in the crust, not as a topping, and read her raves about it, I went right out and bought a big head of cauliflower and the other crust ingredients. We've been trying to limit carb consumption in our household, too, although we haven't been as devoted to it as Jody.
She gives credit to another blog, http://yourlighterside.com, for the recipe, but Jody put her own spin on it and even concocts her own low-carb pizza sauce.
I didn't go that far with my version, relying on a canned sauce instead, but I did top it with healthier toppings, including turkey pepperoni, mushrooms, tomato slices and fresh basil.
I have now made the cauliflower crust several times in my kitchen with good results. No one would ever guess that there is cauliflower in it.
The texture is slightly different, and it doesn't turn out as crisp as a flour crust, but the flavor is very good. I would highly recommend this to moms trying to sneak more veggies into their children's diet or for anyone trying to follow a low-carb or healthier diet.
Notes from the kitchen:
* The raw cauliflower can either be grated or riced in the food processor. In my experience, the food processor is easier on the knuckles. You just want to get it down to rice-sized pieces.
* Don't forget to buy enough cheese. You need cheese for inside the crust and to sprinkle on top of the final product. One 2-cup bag is not enough. (This tip comes from experience.)
* Jody uses Chef Paul Prudhomme's Herbal Pizza & Pasta Magic, sprinkling it on top of the crust before baking it. Since I didn't have this on hand, my version calls for a basic Italian seasoning blend, which I mixed right in with the crust.
* Jody says that each slice (figuring 8 slices per pizza) comes out to about 4 net carbs with her healthful toppings and sauce; compared to 27 net carbs in a piece of a commercial pan pizza.
Pizza with Cauliflower Crust
2 cups riced raw caulifower (process with a grater or food processor into rice-sized bits)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients until well-incorporated. Butter a cookie sheet or metal pizza pan and form mixture into a crust, patting it out with hands until about 1/4-inch thickness. Put a strip of foil around the outside edge of the crust to protect it from burning.
Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, removing foil strips about halfway through, until crust is golden brown. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
Spread pizza sauce over crust and add your favorite toppings. Place under broiler for about 5 minutes, watching carefully to prevent burning, until toppings are sizzling and cheese is melted.
Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers
can be reached at 376-7327.