My new friend, Patricia (Rosebud), turned me onto a recipe for Cauliflower Crust Pizza and it was such a surprising combination of ingredients, I had to try it. The only problem was that the recipe called for egg and cheese, and I'm generally not eating
dairy these days.
So I searched the web for other Cauliflower Crust Pizza recipes that didn't include dairy product but I came up empty handed. I'd need to "veganize" the recipe using my own wit and wisdom (some jazz cooking). No problem, thought I. I've just finished reading
"The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook" which offers an alternative to egg (ground flax seeds and water). And, as for the cheese, I'd use nutritional yeast flakes and Veggie Rice Cheddar Flavor Cheese. The results were almost perfect.
For those of you interested in making the recipe as it's found elsewhere (non-vegan), here's one of them:
Preheat oven to 450°
1 c. riced cauliflower
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. parsley
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
garlic powder to taste
Steam the cauliflower, and when it's done, grate it into rice size pieces.
Sautee the topping veggies.
Mix together the crust ingredients and stir well, then spread evenly onto a metal pizza pan which you've lightly coated with olive oil. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the crust begins to brown at the edges.
Remove crust from the oven. Add the toppings. Set oven to broil, and broil pizza with topping for 4-5 minutes, until crust is crispy.
And here's my vegan version:
Preheat oven to 450°
Prepare yourself for flying bits of cauliflower which will find unbelievable places to land throughout your entire kitchen.
Also, ensure the flax seed container hubby hands you is actually ground flax seeds and not still whole. In other words, look more closely than I did. I can't tell you how hard, and messy, it is to grind wet flax seeds.
1 c. riced cauliflower (blended in a high-speed blender, in 3 batches)
1 c. nutritional yeast flakes (the cheese ingredient)
2 tbsp. ground flax seeds mixed with 5 tbsp. very hot water (the "egg")
2 tbsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
a touch of salt
olive oil (enough to sautee the veggies in)
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
1-1/2 c. sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. dried fennel
1/2 c. pizza sauce (ideally organic with no preservatives added)
Veggie Rice Cheese (I used Cheddar flavor 'cause it what I had on hand)
I opted to cut my large size cauliflower into small bits, about 3/4-1" in circumference. Then I ground them in a high speed blender (using the "ice crush" setting) until it took on a rice looking texture. It took me three batches to get it all done and
looking nicely "riced". Of course I ended up with roughly 4 cups of riced cauliflower, and needed to use only one cup for the recipe, so the 'fridge is now saving the rest of the cauliflower for more pizza or for mashed "cauliflower potatoes". Either option
will be tasty.
Next, I microwaved the cauliflower for 8 minutes (on high).
Then I mixed together the one cup cauliflower with the flax seed "egg" mix and the nutritional yeast flakes. I also added the seasoning to the batter and stirred well. The results were sticky, so I had to coat my hands with olive oil in order to spread
it evenly on the lightly oiled metal pizza pan. (Why metal? I don't know yet.)
I placed the crust in a 450° oven for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, I sauteed the veggies for the topping in some olive oil.
When the crust was done, the edges were slightly burnt, which was okay because hubby and I both love it when that happens. Anyway, I removed the crust from the oven, and then topped it with about 3/4 c. of pizza sauce, then with the sauteed veggies, then
with about 3/4 c. Veggie Rice Cheddar cheese. I popped it back in the oven (which was now set to broil) and cooked for 5 minutes, until the cheese was melted.
The problem with my version is that the crust didn't fully bake. It was toasted at the exterior, but mushy in the middle. That didn't stop either hubby or me from devouring it though. He's quicker than I am, so he downed nearly 3/4ths of it before I got
to it. To say he was enthused would be an understatement. He's been living with my efforts to make tasty nutrient-dense foods for several months now and although he's been supportive, he's missed his old favorites. Texture issues aside, this tasted exactly
like the pizzas I made using flour dough crusts. Whoever thought to use cauliflower instead is WAY more imaginative than I, and I tip my hat in their direction.
It took forever for me to clean up, given the flying bits of cauliflower and flax seeds, but I learned a few lessons about it in the process and suspect all with go smoother next time. I might (just maybe) use a real egg in the crust next time to see if
that's the problem. Otherwise, I've got a home run on my hands.
Try it: you'll like it!