Have you ever tried making a pizza base out of cauliflower?
I remember my first attempt. It. was. terrible.
Soggy, with a really strong overcooked cauliflower aroma and flavour.
It was so bad that I decided it wasn’t a place I ever wanted to go to again. Like never (and normally I’m a firm believer in ‘never saying never’).
But a few months ago I was thinking how nice it would be to have a low-carb dinner option that fitted the space we used to have for Friday Night Pizza. And how nice it would be to get Fergal, my 3-year-old, to eat more vegetables.
So I did some research and decided to try again.
This time I used raw grated cauliflower instead of steaming it. And I added some almond meal and grated parmesan to give it more of a ‘bready’ consistency.
The first time I made it my Irishman said it was good but refused to call it pizza. However I noticed he didn’t have any problems polishing off the last slice. So I figured it must be doing something right.
Then a few weeks later when he was actually excited about Friday Night Cauli ‘Pizza’ and we were both eyeing off the last slice. I knew this new style of ‘pizza’ was going to stay in our repertoire. Regardless of what we called it.
Oh and Fergal gobbled up his as well. So it really can’t taste like there are any vegetables in it ;)
I was tempted to call this a tart rather than set the expectations that pizza involves. But really it is closer to being a pizza than a tart. Either way it’s delicious. And I love that it’s low-carb so I don’t have to limit myself to only 1-2 modest slices.
make 1 large pizza – enough for 2
takes about 40 minutes
500g (1lb) cauliflower, about 1 medium
100g (3.5oz) grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon psyllium husks (optional)
100g (3.5oz) almond meal
your favourite pizza toppings
1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).
2. Whizz your cauliflower using your food processor until it looks a bit like fine couscous. Or chop as finely as possible.
3. Add parmesan, eggs, almond meal and a really generous pinch of salt. Stir until combined.
4. Line a baking tray with foil or baking paper. Tip the cauli mixture onto the lined tray then using your hands smooth into a pizza shaped circle about 28cm (11in) in diameter. I like to make a ‘crust’ by shaping the edges to be taller than the middle.
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pizza is deeply browned and feels cooked.
6. Increase the heat to to 200C (400F) add your toppings and bake further 5-10 minutes or until you’re happy.
psyllium alternatives – psyllium is a form of fiber. The pizza is perfectly fine without but you could use oat bran, ground chia seeds or ground flaxseeds if you like.
dairy-free – replace parmesan with extra almond meal. If you have some nutritional yeast lying around a tablespoon or so wouldn’t hurt.
nut-free – replace almond meal with bread crumbs or extra parmesan.
egg-free – use your favourite egg replacer.
martian ‘green pizza’ – replace cauliflower with broccoli.
do ahead – you can bake the base ahead of time and then just continue from step 6. Will keep in the fridge for a week or so or in the freezer for months. Defrost before baking.
smaller pizzas – feel free to make into whatever size (or shape) you like. Smaller pizzas won’t need quite as long so check after 20 minutes.
other veg – also thinking it would work well with spiralized zucchini instead of the cauli. Haven’t tried this yet so if you do please report back in the comments!
ps. What do you think?
Would you be willing something made with cauliflower to be called pizza? I’d love to hear in the comments below.