Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Cauliflower Pizza

ETA: Since this recipe, I have attempted virtually every low-carb pizza recipe. See them all at The Great Pizza Experiment.

Several years ago, a recipe for low-carb pizza crust made out of cauliflower hit the internet. Naturally, this recipe spread like wildfire, and I've seen numerous posts about it on low-carb cooking forums. The general consensus is that, while tasty, it is impossible to eat like a regular pizza. It's soggy, it falls apart, it sticks to the pan, and it's just messy. I feel that the original recipe is a great idea, but incomplete. After numerous iterations with various tweaks and improvements, I can proudly and authoritatively proclaim that I have perfected the cauliflower pizza crust. I am now sharing my secrets with you.

First, I use a bag of Birds Eye Steamfresh garlic cauliflower. You could certainly use fresh and add your own seasonings, but this is so easy and it steams in its own bag. Microwave according to package directions, then dump it out onto a clean dishcloth that has been lined with lots and lots of paper towels.


Next, lay some more paper towels on top, fold the dish towel over itself, and press hard to squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the florets. Really squish them with all your might.


Next, feed the cauliflower through the shredding disk of your food processor.


Now repeat the squeezing step with fresh paper towels. Get lots of moisture out until you have something resembling dough.


Next, combine the shreds with 4 oz grated mozzarella (I use low-fat; do not use fat-free) and 1/4 cup egg whites or egg substitute (using egg white only with no yolk seems to give a crispier crust). I used Eggbeaters, which is why the mixture looks a bit yellow. Line a baking sheet or broiler pan with parchment paper -- you MUST use parchment paper, do NOT use foil or it will stick!! Mound the cauliflower mixture in the center.


Using damp hands (shake off the excess water), work radially around the cauliflower, pressing from the center outward to create a thin crust. Be careful that holes don't form, but don't worry if it seems loose, as when the cheese melts it will help everything hold together. Gently blot excess moisture off the top with a paper towel.


Make sure to spread it as thin as you possibly can. It should resemble the thinnest of the thin-crust pizzas. If it is too thick it will be very soggy and you'll be stuck eating it with a fork.


Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes. The crust should be browned and perhaps slightly burnt in some spots around the edges. Do NOT underbake.


Now it's starting to look like a pizza! Spread this with some pizza sauce and whatever toppings you like, just don't use anything too wet or too heavy. Your toppings should all be chopped fine or sliced thin. I used some sliced olives and sauteed garlic spinach (squeezed dry) since that's what I had around. I also add a dusting of Parmesan; the crust itself already has plenty of mozzarella so I go easy on the cheese.


Pop it back in the oven for 5 minutes or so.


Voila! There you have it, cauliflower pizza! Crispy, sliceable, and you eat eat it with your hands -- no fork required.

57 comments:

Jamie aka Carbarella said...

I'm so glad you like my recipe! It's sweet of you for helping my readers out with some tips. While most I know have never had trouble handling the pizza with their hands, I know a few have.

Jamie
National Low Carb Examiner

Erica said...

Thanks for commenting!! I definitely don't think there is anything wrong with the original recipe, I just noticed that some folks (particularly inexperienced cooks) seem to need some extra hand-holding to get a crispy, sliceable pizza :)

And I keep meaning to try your oopsie rolls!

Jamie aka Carbarella said...

Hey, no worries! Sometimes adding a little less veg and some Parmesan to the recipe definitely helps when that veg just won't dry out.

It's nice to meet you, Erica!

Fondly,

Jamie

Joe (from MDA) said...

Erica - made it tonight. It was terrific. Your step-by-step left no room for error. I'm going to post the pictures on MDA.

Thank you!

Christina said...

Omg Erica, this looks incredible. I can't wait to make it!! PS cauliflower rice was so good!

melanie said...

I was wondering if you might know of a substitute I can use instead of the cheese to hold it together better? Perhaps egg whites or something?

Erica said...

Melanie, I don't know for certain, but you could try adding extra eggs and see if that works! Or you could try doing a cauliflower/almond meal hybrid crust, like this recipe using cauliflower instead of white beans.

Jamie aka Carbarella said...

By the way guys, check this out! My recipe was featured on the Dr. Oz show! http://www.examiner.com/low-carb-in-national/cauliflower-pizza-recipe-makes-dr-oz-showfo

yogamama said...

Our teen daughter has made this recipe many times now since we found it on your blog in late November. Each time it has received rave reviews. Thanks for sharing!

Nicolle said...

Hi! Ok, I've made this about 4 times now. We love the taste. My husband is diabetic and it's a godsend! However, mine keeps sticking. I see you use parchment paper. Is this the trick??? Is it completely non stick on the parchment paper. Help! I want to be able to make this just right. Thank you!

nicolle
www.boydscrazymama.blogspot.com

Erica said...

Hey Nicolle, yes the parchment paper is absolutely essential! It will stick to anything else.

Nicolle said...

Ok, thanks for the info Erica! Just put parchment paper on the grocery list! :)

KID, MD said...

We just had this for dinner tonight, and even my kids loved it!! Thanks for sharing the recipe! We'll definitely be having this often. I did want to add a trick that worked for me in squeezing that liquid from the cauliflower. I used a rolling pin and just rolled it firmly across the towel. It worked great!

Erica said...

KID, MD: I'm glad it worked out for you! I made it for my little niece and nephew and they liked it too :) The rolling pin is a great idea!

Janice said...

Just made this tonight and it was so good. Will definitely be making it again and playing with different flavorings in the crust.

Sarah said...

I also wonder if you could roast the cauliflower to cook it rather than microwave it. I imagine it would help reduce the moisture, and the extra caramelization would definitely add flavor. I'm looking forward to trying this.

Erica said...

@Janice: Glad you enjoyed it!

@Sarah: That would definitely be an approach worth trying! I would probably grate the raw, fresh cauliflower prior to roasting to increase the surface area (and thus get more moisture evaporation). Then you could spread it out evenly on one or two large baking sheets and roast. Let me know if you try it!

Alycia [Fit n Fresh] said...

SO. Freaking. GOOD.

I love you <3 lol

Erica said...

Alycia, I'm glad you liked the pizza!

Maria said...

This looks great! I'd love to try to cook it for my own husband :)
I'm planning on starting with fresh cauliflower -- should I use about 12oz of it?

Erica said...

Hey Maria, I'd probably use 12-16 oz :)

Anna said...

I was really inspired by your post so having successfully caught the be-creative-with-your-pizza-bases-bug I made a pizza base with jerusalems and yummm!!!
:-D
Thank you :-) looooooove the creativity of your food!!!

Erica said...

Ooh Anna I LOVE that idea, I am crazy about Jerusalem artichokes!

Julie Petro said...

Awesome recipe, thank you so much! This has revolutionized pizza night forever. Both my husband and I were amazed at how light we both felt after devouring an entire pizza even with the satisfaction of devouring an entire pizza! I added some herbs and garlic to the mixture, and baked it first on silpat, then I transferred it to a pizza sheet that has small holes all over it before I loaded it up and baked it again. The result was so crispy and chewy it was actually better than any flour-based crust I've ever had.

Erica said...

Julie, I'm glad it worked out for you! I prefer it to regular wheat crusts as well :)

Irene said...

hi,
today i was inspired by your cauliflower pizza and tried to make a.. sort of broccoli- "pizza"! (low carb)

i've posted the recipe here -->http://www.sherdog.net/forums/f15/official-low-carb-recipe-thread-1537199/index9.html#post51498777

Tell me what you think!

mht said...

OMG - I just made this yesterday, and it was FANTASTIC!! Even my non-cauliflower husband was sneaking pieces. Really, really tasty, low calories and gluten free! This is becoming a weekly meal at my house. :)

Erica said...

mht, it's addictive, isn't it??

East Coast Bill said...

I originally saw the cauliflower recipe on a blog and then I saw it on Doctor Oz. I thought I better try this, i found a site with the recipe and gave it a shot. WOW was I disappointed! It was a soggy mess.

Thank you so much for putting up these directions and photos, I will try this again next week and see how it goes with you instructions. It looks delicious in your photos. Thank you for sharing.

dianab said...

Worked out just awesome! One little tip, don't use cheap paper towels to squeeze out the water, unless you enjoy paper towel mixed with cauliflower. I squeezed out each piece of cauli when it came out of the microwave, no trouble removing enough water to make a super crispy crust. Good for grip work too LOL. Thanks!

Nahla said...

Erica,

Thanks for the recipe! I tried this awhile back and it was a mess, the added steps are definitely needed for us guys. Pizza nights are back, and guilt free.

Wesam

Sophie said...

I tried this recipe yesterday evening and the result was fantastic! I used 4 ounces of cheese too (Swiss), but I like to have cheese on top of the pizza though. So I only mixed 2 ounces of it in the «dough» and kept the rest to put on top: YAMMY! I used a whole egg and 3/4 of a whole fresh cauliflower. The crust was crispy and definitely held very well.
To get as much water out as possible, I used a salad spinner, then put the riced cauliflower in a dish towel and wrung it hard (no paper towel).

Anonymous said...

Do you know how much the cauliflower weighs after cooking and straining it?

Justine Fantastik said...

Sofa King Amazing! I made the dough into breaksticks and made a garlic alfredo dipping sauce. It was like low carb drunk food!

Erica said...

@Justine, if you liked that, you should try the pepperoni pizza puffs :) http://stuffimakemyhusband.blogspot.com/2011/02/pepperoni-pizza-puffs.html

Anonymous said...

Hey Erica -



Love your blog, everything looks amazing and you have some great tips on here. Thanks!



I tried the cauliflower pizza recipe tonight and even with the parchment paper mine stuck really badly - any words of advice or thoughts for next time?



Thanks!

Sara said...

I've found that using our Breville juicer and processing raw cauliflower takes about as much juice as you can get, out! It was still a bit damp, but firmed up really nice in the oven. I baked it on a pizza pan then flipped it onto another to cook the other side, firming it up a bit more. It IS really good, and my poor pizza-deprived husband thought it was good. Now I'm going to work on a soup recipe for the leftover juice!

Julianne said...

I just made this successfully for the first time (my first attempt burned) and OMG, it was amazing! I used a tiny smear of pesto, a little mozzarella and mizithra cheese, sauteed mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and Aidell's artichoke and sundried tomato chicken sausage. It was orgasmic. As good as or better than any pizza I've had in a high-end restaurant, and it got rave reviews from my boyfriend. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Erica, I'm wondering if this crust or any of your others are good for freezing either alone or with toppings. We are always looking for a good primal insta-dinner! Thanks, September

Erica said...

@Anon, you can make and freeze the Sicilian-style crust or the meatza...cauliflower does not freeze well.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have made this pizza several times now, always using parchment paper and it sticks really bad everytime!! Am I doing something wrong? Any advice? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I've made this crust a couple of times now, and it's pretty great! I hate cauliflower, however, so I use zuchinni instead - same process, slightly different texture, but less "taste" - but I like it so much better!

I have been using a few layers of cheesecloth to squeeze as much water out of the veggies that I can, and then a tea towel or about 4 paper towels to get out the leftover juice. Works great!

My husband just said to me - "Couldn't we use these as tortilla shells?" GENUIS! We'll be trying it later this week, I have a feeling it'll be great for that too! Thanks for a great recipe :)

Anonymous said...

I made this pizza tonight and it was absolutely wonderful! My husband would'nt believe that it was made of cauliflower (which he hates). Tank U very much for this fantastic recipe!
Regards from Denmark - Karen.

Keira said...

This is my go to crust for pizza. It is wonderful! Thank You!

Nora Rubinoff, MVA, IVAA EthicsCheck™ certified said...

Hi there - this sounds great. I'm very curious though - how big a pizza does this make? 11"? 13"? Something else?

Erica said...

Nora: It really depends on how thin you spread it. I've never measured so I can't say. I think it serves 2 very hungry people or 4non-athletes along with a salad or side dish.

thecolor said...

So far so good... (since we've started using your method).

We've added a few extra steps (my wife and I.)

First, we juice it (the cauliflower) and use the pulp (much easier then grating, etc.) It also helps greatly with the removal of extra liquid. I get 2 cups of juice from one head of cauliflower that way, (a lot removed) and you can drink that for some more health! :D

Then an 8 minute nuke (as mentioned elsewhere) to help evaporation a bit more.

Then after the massive squeezing (you mention) we roll it out on this normal size pizza pan we have (15 1/5 inches) with parchment paper on top (to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin.) This gives us a "full size" pizza 12+ inches or so.

Lastly, we bake it on the pizza pan (I just mentioned), it's metal (or something) with holes in it (for a more even heat in the oven and of course use the parchment paper to keep it from sticking to the pan.

So farm we've come out with an near cracker like crust (at about a cm thick) and so easy to hold! Awesome, AWESOME!

Thanks for the tips, it's really made it JUST like a pizza crust!

Left over pulp (if any) we've done hash-browns and tater tots. We plan to try gnocchi next (a semi-fried style. ) :D

Aimee said...

Found your blog when trying to find a recipe for a potato pizza crust. I need a lower carb recipe, rather than potatoes, so I am very excited to try the cauliflower crust. I am curious, I was thinking about using a potato crust recipe and use jicama instead of potatoes. Have you tried that by any chance?

Prairie Political Ponderings said...

You think that this would work with Daiya and flax seed goo, or Ener-G egg replacer? :)

Jenny Marie said...

Does this work on a non-stick pan? I didn't know that wax paper and parchment paper are different things, so my first attempt was a total bust.

Jenny Marie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erica said...

Jenny Marie: It would probably work on a greased silicone mat. Not sure about nonstick like teflon. Good luck!

noodle restaurant Brisbane said...

Pizza looks good on the photos! Recipe is good explained too.

Dave said...

Tried this recipe on the weekend, turned out fabulously! The only problem was I didn't make enough! I am going to try and make a full sized pizza next time with a full head of cauliflower.

I sprayed my parchment paper with Pam and had no difficulty removing the pizza intact - I even cut it with a pizza cutter. Pizza held together perfectly and tasted just like pizza. Very satisfied.

Pic: http://xandor.ca/images/cauliflower-pizza-crust.jpg

Chinese food Brisbane said...

This recipe seems very interesting, i like that combo for pizza!

Laura said...

hi! Does anyone know how many calories this has?

Stacey Beck said...

I just had this at a restaurant and loved it. I didn't think I would like it at all but my sister convinced me to try it. I want to try making it at home, we'll see how it goes.

http://www.ilgrecos.ca/

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