Pizza, oh, pizza…. perhaps the largest of my love-hate relationships. There is truly nothing in existence that tastes as good as the first slice of pizza. Nothing. For about three years, my logic was that because it tasted so good, it was bad and OFF LIMITS. It was at the very top of my fear foods and I never went near it–it was cheesy and doughy and delicious and unhealthy and sinful to even think about. I plan on doing a post in the future about fear foods, but today… today is about where I am now – in a better place, enjoying the occasional slice…. or two…. of pizza.
Now, pizza is definitely welcome in my world, though I am more into whole wheat crusts, light-on-the-cheese, veggie pizzas. I do avoid greasier, doughy pizzas when I can, but if co-workers order a pie at work or my mom comes home with the standard pizza-shop pie when I’m visiting, I enjoy it. I can’t lie and say I don’t feel somewhat hesitant at first, or guilty afterwards, but I am more at peace.
But tonight! Tonight was about the kind of pizza that I love — tasty and cheesy and healthy and loaded with veggies. Tonight it was that guy, pictured above. This was my first endeavor making cauliflower crust pizza and it was fantastic. I’ve been looking for a good cauliflower crust recipe that didn’t incorporate cheese or egg. After finding a few vegan options, I kind of concocted my own, using bits and pieces of what I’ve found online.
Now, I’m not just saying this. I actually prefer it over regular pizza crust! When it comes to pizza, I’m very particular about the crust. Aside from it being better for you, I always opt for whole wheat crust when possible because it has that grainy texture that I love. This crust was light, grainy, chewy and crisp in all the right places. The “cheese” was gooey, and the veggies were delicious. Sun dried tomatoes added a nice briny taste while the spinach added a bright freshness. And the best thing about it is that I don’t feel guilty. Usually after having a slice of pizza I feel inclined to do some kind of ab workout or restrict myself the rest of the day. I feel pretty decent! I don’t feel weighted down and I don’t feel absolutely obligated to work out or restrict.
And so, without further adieu, here’s how to make this easy and “cheesy” cauliflower crust pizza!
For the crust:
3/4 of a medium head of cauliflower
1/2 cup of almonds
3 tbsp of chia seeds
5 tbsp of water
1/2-1 tbsp of nutritional yeast
salt, pepper, onion powder, and oregano (to taste)
For the pizza:
Cauliflower crust (from above)
1/2-ish cup of tomato sauce
Whatever ol’ pizza toppings that you’re into – I used red onion, spinach, mushrooms, and sun dried tomatoes
Cheese (normal cheese of your choice, or, in this case, a vegan cheese!)
Making The Crust:
- Preheat the over to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Process florets of the cauliflower in a food processor until they’re about the consistency of rice. Put into a medium saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and let cool.
- While cooling, mix the chia seeds with the water and let sit for a few minutes. This thickened mixture will substitute for the “egg” portion of the normal cauliflower crust. Then, process the almonds in a food processor until they’re a sandy grainy texture. I thought a grainy texture would be nice, but you can go finer, if you’d like! Just don’t overdo it or you might end up with almond butter (not that that’s a bad thing….)! At this point, you can mix the nutritionalist yeast, processed almonds, and chia mixture in a large bowl.
- Once the cauliflower is cooled, strain out the excess liquid. To do this, I placed the cauliflower onto a few paper towels and strung out the water over the sink. Get as much water out as you can! Then, mix it in with the nutritional yeast/almond/chia mix. Go ahead and get your hands in there! Mix it well with some salt, pepper, onion powder and oregano.
- Place the “dough” on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread into whatever shape you’d like so that it’s about 1/4 of an inch thick. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping over about 20 minutes in.
1. While your crust is baking, prepare whatever toppings you would like. In this case, I
sautéed red onions, mushrooms and spinach in some coconut oil. I know coconut oil
probably isn’t the ideal oil for a savory pizza, but I LOVE COCONUT OIL. I also sautéed
with a sprinkling of onion powder, salt and pepper
2. Once the crust is done baking, it’s pretty much a free-for-all in how you prepare. I
topped mine with a jar of store-bought pizza sauce, vegan cheese, and my sautéed
veggies. In this case, I used a regular bag of store-bough vegan cheese (Daiya). I’m not
really into processed vegan cheeses and I do try to avoid them, but I didn’t quite
prepare ahead of time to make a nut cheese. Once your pizza is ready, pop it in the
oven for about 5 minutes on the middle rack. After five minutes, I moved the pizza to
the top rack and broiled for about a minute, just for that extra crusted-gooey texture. 😉
Have you ever tried to make cauliflower crust? If you give this guy a try, let me know what you think!