cauliflower crust pizza, part 1

In an odd set of circumstances, I was once in a hospital waiting room in Rome talking to an Italian guy and the topic of Chicago (where I’m from) came up. We had a long debate about Chicago pizza and he left me with this quote – “Well it’s not pizza, but its good.”

Not that this recipe has anything to do with deep-dish pizza – there’s no butter crust, no sausage, no brick of cheese. This “pizza”, made out of ground cauliflower and almonds, is healthy, light and gluten-free. I couldn’t wait to give this a try but I had no clue what to expect – whether it would fall apart… taste like mush…

We were pleasantly surprised that the end the result was super delicious. Our conclusion? “Well, it’s not pizza, but it’s good.”

This is not a replacement for crispy doughy crust when that’s what you’re in the mood for… I can’t turn water into wine or cauliflower into all-purpose flour, but this is a fun alternative that’s on the lighter side.

makes approx. two 8-inch pizza crusts

“DOUGH” INGREDIENTS:
Florets from 1 small head of cauliflower, yielding 2 cups ground “riced” cauliflower
3/4 cup almond flour (or more if needed)
3 eggs (not including the eggs I used as a topping)
pinches of salt
a few grinds of pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or a bit of minced garlic (optional)
2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese (optional)
garlic oil – to brush onto dough before you bake it (optional)

toppings:
whatever pizza toppings you like, I used fresh mozzarella, eggs, dollops of kale pesto, roasted tomatoes, basil, and red pepper flakes.

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Make sure your cauliflower is dry before you start. The more wet it is, the harder it will be to work with. Chop cauliflower and pulse florets in a food processor. Be careful not to puree it or grind it until it’s mushy. You’re going for a “riced” fluffy consistency. It should not be sticking together at this point.

Whisk 3 eggs and mix all of the rest of the crust ingredients together and form into a ball. It should be pretty wet but if it’s too sticky to handle, add more flour. Gently “knead” it a few times, adding some flour on top if necessary to help it come together. (note – this will NOT resemble regular pizza dough – it won’t be as easy or pliable to work with – that’s ok just do the best you can).

Press “dough” ball down onto a pizza stone or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently mold into a circle, dusting a bit more flour if it makes it easier for you to work with. I was able to lift mine up and flip it over a few times to get it to spread (if yours sticks and you can’t lift it off the pan, it’s still ok – once the eggs bake, things will bind together even if the dough itself is a little messy). Try to spread it about 1/4 inch thick.

Brush the top with a little garlic oil, or just plain olive oil before putting in the oven.

Bake crust by itself for 15 minutes. Add mozzarella on top and bake for an additional 10 or so minutes the cheese starts to bubble. Crack eggs directly on top of the pizza (carefully so the eggs don’t slide off) and bake on the broil setting for 2 more minutes or until the egg is sufficiently cooked (oven times may vary).

Remove from oven and add spoonfuls of pesto, roasted tomatoes, basil and red pepper flakes.

49 comments

  1. Jenn from vanillalemon.com on said:

    Gotta love a random conversation about food :) This looks amazing!

  2. Lily from smallkitchencollege.com on said:

    This looks BEAUTIFUL! And such thin crust! Love the idea of putting cauliflower in it.

  3. Lexi from lexiskitchen.blogspot.com on said:

    I have been wanting to try a cauliflower crust for a while. Great idea!

  4. Jacqui from goodthingsgrow.com on said:

    What a great crust recipe, I’m going to have to try! At first I thought it was socca.

  5. Love your take on this weeks Food Matters Project recipe! I wanted to try a cauliflower crust pizza a while back but couldn’t find a decent recipe. I love your recipe and I’ll have to try it now. I remember someone telling me that you have to watch it closely in the oven, if it cooks too much that it will be chewy and not taste very good. Did you find that the case at all making a cauliflower crust pizza? Can’t wait to give it a try! I’ll let you know how it goes!

    Thanks for sharing your recipe!
    Laura :)

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Hi Laura,
      I didn’t watch it all that closely – I was mostly worried it would fall apart so I left it in until it was golden brown. It’s a bit soft in the middle, I couldn’t get the middle as crisp as the edges (I think it would have become more chewy if I had left it in longer). Also, the majority of the recipes I saw in the internet were made with mozzarella in the crust instead of the almond meal – I didn’t go that route because that’s too much dairy for me, but that might entirely change the baking time.

  6. erin from naturallyella.com on said:

    I find it sad that the version of pizza the majority of American’s love is so unhealthy and greasy. I love your version and can’t wait to try the crust!

  7. Margarita from letscookandbefriends.blogspot.com on said:

    Your picture tells it all. This is good and I want to try it! Would take this over any grease filled, thick crust pizza, anytime.

  8. Courtney Jones from thefigtree.blogspot.com on said:

    Cauliflower crust! What a fantastic idea. I find regular pizza crust to be very heavy, but this cauliflower crust looks so light & crispy. Must try this! :) Thanks for sharing. Another great post :)

  9. Sonja from acouplecooks.com on said:

    We’d always wondered about cauliflower crust! Glad to hear that it is tasty, though not entirely pizza-like :)

  10. This is gorgeous. I keep stockpiling gluten free ideas for dinner parties with gluten-free guests, but this is something I need to make for myself. And soon.

  11. Trish from dishbytrish.com on said:

    Love how there are almonds in this. I made the cauliflower crust pizza recently but without almonds. I was telling a friend it would be great if it contained something a little heartier. I thought of cornmeal but almonds sound great. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Evi from fifthfloorkitchen.wordpress.com on said:

    I’ve always wondered what a pizza crust out of cauliflower would taste like, I’m very intrigued! And the fried egg is the best thing in the world. I had it once last year (first time) and I don’t think I can ever go back to anything else. De-li-cious!

  13. Eileen from hampiesandwiches.blogspot.com on said:

    Cauliflower as a pizza base? I would never have thought to try this. Thanks for the new idea!

  14. Love the versatility of cauliflower. Will add this to my list of things I’d love to try. :)

  15. kelsey from happyolks.com on said:

    The cauliflower and almond combo sounds brilliant, I bet it helps keep everything together. I’ve had difficulties in the past with veggie-based crusts… Will definitely give this a shot.

  16. Lena from mrsgarlichead.com on said:

    I read about the cauliflower crust before, but did not bookmark a recipe. Now that I have read about it again, I really want to give this a try. Sounds like a great idea!

  17. Your pizza looks like a work of art! It’s reminding me to stop being a sissy and get over my fear of runny yolks. I’m intrigued by your cauliflower crust!

  18. Pingback: cauliflower crust pizza { veggie version } | Love and Lemons

  19. adrienne from adrienneats.blogspot.com on said:

    I’ve been wanting to try a cauliflower crust! This sounds perfect. Love the eggs on top.

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  21. Emma Galloway from mydarlinglemonthyme.com on said:

    Wow, cauliflower crust?! Awesome.

  22. Helene from tarteletteblog.com on said:

    Completely intrigued … will try this weekend!
    Thanks!

  23. Julia from fatgirltrappedinaskinnybody.com on said:

    These cauliflower crusts are one of my faves, but I usually use cheese, can’t wait to try this one out! Super pretty picture too!

  24. Jesse @ HGLV from happygoluckyvegan.blogspot.com on said:

    Your pizza looks lovely! I love the idea of kale pesto. Cheers!

  25. “pesto, roasted tomatoes, basil and red pepper flakes” – sounds like a dream topping!

  26. I’ve been meaning to try a cauliflower pizza crust — and your “pizza” looks so appetizing. YUM. I love the addition of eggs on pizza.

  27. Heidi Leon Monges from aromasysabores-heidileon.blogspot.com on said:

    cauliflower crust pizza?.
    wow, who said food blogs are over?. This “Well, it’s not pizza, but it’s good.” will be in my oven really soon!.

  28. Pingback: Gluten-free pizza crust (aka cauliflower crust) « Eat All of the Things!

  29. Sarah on said:

    I’m having some trouble with the ‘dough’. Is it supposed to be 3 eggs in the crust? I’m wondering if perhaps it’s only supposed to be one in the crust and the other two on top? It says “whisk eggs” – plural, but my dough was so wet it was more like a batter at 2 cups cauliflower & 3/4 c almond meal. I added about another 1/2 c almond meal and it was still like a batter. I added the rest of the head of cauliflower – probably another 1 1/2 – 2 cups cauliflower, and it was still nowhere near a dough that you could shape into a ball/ lift up/ flip over. I added a bunch of ap flour (being out of other options) and got it to a really sticky scone dough kinda consistency, but when I put it on my Silpat, it was still too loose to do anything other than kind of smear/ pat into shape. I’m guessing it could still taste good, and if nothing else, I could make croquettes out of the other half of the batter, I just thought I’d check in to see if 3 eggs was right for the future. Great idea – I’m just trying to figure out what’s going wrong for me!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Yes, I put 3 eggs in the dough – the eggs are what really bind this together. I added more flour as needed, but not as much as it sounds like you’re adding… and I never really had a “batter” consistency. Also, when I added extra flour, I didn’t mix it in completely, I sprinkled it more on the outside as I was forming it into a ball. This won’t be as dry of a dough as regular flour pizza dough and it won’t have the same kind of elasticity. (It shouldn’t resemble regular pizza dough at all).

      The only thing I can think is that there could be a difference in how wet your cauliflower could have been vs. mine. The second batch I made, my cauliflower had sat for awhile and more water released so it wasn’t as dry as my first batch, but I still just spread as thin as I could and it worked out fine.

  30. Sarah on said:

    Thanks Jeanine- I just ate a couple slices and it turned out pretty good, even with all of my makeshift ‘corrections’! I think next time I might start with two eggs, and then add a third if necessary. The ap flour I threw in there didn’t ruin it, but I think it made it a little more bland. My cauliflower didn’t seem especially liquidy – a little damp, but not mushy- about as damp as freshly cooked rice. I guess maybe I panicked a little too much that I couldn’t shape it into a ball. Next time I’ll just go with it!

  31. jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

    Hi all, some of you had some questions issues getting this dough to form together – I just updated the recipe description with a few more specific details about how I got mine to come together.

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  34. Felicia from dimplesinthekitchen.blogspot.com on said:

    I made this last weekend, and I almost prefer it to regular pizza. Like I said, almost. It really is delicious! The crust is slightly softer, and the garlic throws it over the edge. I also feel a lot better about eating it, which makes the taste somehow even more delicious. Thanks for sharing (:

    I even posted this recipe as a reference back to your blog, here:
    http://dimplesinthekitchen.blogspot.com/2012/05/cauliflower-pizza-crust.html

  35. just made this–fantastic recipe! i subbed out half the almond flour with coconut flour which also works very well. definitely making this again!

  36. Rahlee on said:

    Do you think that substituting flax meal + water for the eggs would be ok?
    thanks!

  37. Molley Mills from amotherlife.com on said:

    I made this tonight. It worked very well. I will enjoy making differnet varies of toppings :) Thanks.

  38. Pingback: Super-foods Here and There and Everywhere! | Hummusapien

  39. Have been wondering what to do with half cauliflower head sitting in fridge! This looks such a yummy idea..was little worried about how it goes so went through all the comments as well! Hope it comes out good. :)

  40. WOW…this is a stunning-looking dish and SUCH a unique and delicious-sounding recipe! All my favorite things in one. I can’t wait to make this. I just found your site via a post from another food blogger on my Facebook page (recommending one of your other recipes) and I am hooked. Such amazing recipes with gorgeous photos and website. I look forward to seeing more! I was so enamored with this recipe, I posted it on our Facebook page as I know our followers would love it as well. I thought you’d like to see it: http://www.facebook.com/DeliciousKarma

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  43. Jols on said:

    Hello! Could spelt be used in place of almond flour? I’ve already got some at home, so would be great to use that instead. Really enjoying your recipes! Thanks!

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