Sometimes you just need a slice.
And let’s be honest, in the battle of pizza vs. diet, pizza always wins. Well, it does for me.
But that doesn’t mean you have to go crazy on the carbs or calories. In fact, you can make a pretty damn good pie that satisfies that cheese monster inside you while packing in some healthy veggies.
Yeah, I am talking about a cauliflower pizza crust. And yeah, I know it’s nothing new. But sometimes you just need to be reminded that it is OK to indulge and that you can even do it in a way that doesn’t make you feel overly greasy or bloated.
I love cauliflower pizza crust because of just those reasons. I never feel like my stomach is going to burst from all the dough — a huge issue with most crusts. I also really enjoy cauliflower, and it always pairs well with some sauce and cheese. Throw on some pepperoni and basil, and you’ve got a a meal that hits all the right spots.
Now, I wouldn’t be fair to you if I didn’t mention my least favorite part of this dish: the cook time. If you want a truly crispy crust that will hold when you pick it up, you need to bake this for a fairly long time. And probably even longer than when you think it might be ready. Really push for that golden brown. And stick a fork or knife in to test it.
Cause no one likes a soggy bottom.
PEPPERONI AND BASIL PIZZA WITH A CAULIFLOWER CRUST
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook time: About an hour. Serves: 3-4.
1 head cauliflower (about 16-18 oz)
1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup pizza sauce
6 ounces white cheddar cheese curds
8 ounces Italian blend shredded cheese
4 ounces pepperoni
1/4 cup basil (I got mine straight from the garden)
Or whatever you like!
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. To make the crust, first shred or pulse the cauliflower into fine pieces.
3. Strain the cauliflower through a cheesecloth or thin towel to get rid of excess moisture. This is very important: Get out as much liquid as you can as any extra will prevent your crust from cooking properly.
4. In a bowl, thoroughly mix together the cauliflower, cup of shredded cheese, eggs, pepper, salt, garlic and Italian seasoning.
5. Line a baking sheet with parchment. (You could also use a baking stone.) Spread the cauliflower mix out, shaping it into a circle about a centimeter thick. The thinner you can get it without creating holes, the better.
6. Bake the crust about 45 minutes or until the edges are crispy and the center is golden brown and very firm.
7. Remove the crust from the oven, but leave it on.
8. Add toppings, starting with the pizza sauce, which should be spread evenly around the crust with a spoon or spatula. Then sprinkle the shredded cheese in a single layer and place curds a couple of inches away from each other and the edge of the crust (they will spread out). Finish with the pepperoni and basil, or whichever toppings you like. If you’re into cured meats, I’d recommend prosciutto or pancetta as a pairing with the basil. Or go with simple slices of fresh tomato and basil. Honestly, it’s all good.
9. Bake until the cheese melts and bubbles up golden brown. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes.
Cut and serve.