Sophisticated Savories

Sophisticated Savories

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cauliflower Pizza? Umm...

Healthy Cauliflower-Crusted Pizza - sb style

Pizza.  You’re Un-American if you do not love it… right?  And no wonder the US is struggling with obesity… pizza is offered everywhere you turn – fast food, chains, mom-and-pop restaurants, frozen at grocery stores… whenever you heart desires pizza, you can be sure to fix that craving within the hour.

Except it’s not exactly “healthy.”  Right?  Now in moderation, enjoy a slice or two.  But on a daily consumption, your arteries will clog, you will gain weight and that heavy, lethargic feeling will decrease your energy level.  Just stating the facts, folks.

I have several friends who are on weight-loss challenges… yet have a craving for pizza from time to time.  Again, while I encourage a “cheat day” once a week (enjoy that cheese, ladies!), I kept thinking to myself that there had to be an alternative… a healthy route towards pizza. 

Since I am a huge fan of vegetables, I love to experiment and transform them in the kitchen.  Cauliflower never has too much of a flavor when enjoyed raw… why not turn it into a crust?

Cauliflower Comes in a Multitude of Colors
The following recipe is encouraged for those who are gluten-free or on a weight-loss plan.  A healthy alternative to pizza which actually tastes pretty darn good (I was pleasantly surprised).  Remember, the more herbs added to the crust, the more flavorful the pizza will become!   Try it… I dare you…

1/2 LARGE head cauliflower (or 2+ cups shredded cauliflower)
2 egg whites
1 cup finely shredded fat-free cheddar cheese – other cheeses are acceptable (feta, mozzarella, parmesan)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic (or fresh garlic)
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
(May also add in Cayenne Pepper, Italian seasoning/herbs, etc.)

½ c. Marinara sauce/pizza sauce/Stewed tomatoes.  You may also forgo the sauce and simply dice tomatoes with a hint of olive oil, sea salt and cayenne. 
½ c. Fat-free cheddar cheese (or desired cheese)
Cooked chicken/turkey/sausage/pepperoni/steak/bacon – whatever protein you desire, make sure to chop it small (and already cooked, as this phase of cooking is simply to warm the toppings and help the cheese).
Vegetables – anything your little heart desires.  The more the merrier.  Choose vibrant colors and dice small.  The small the cut, the faster it will cook (the sooner you may enjoy!)
Heirloom Tomatoes Make For a Flavorful Marinade Sauce
As a Pizza Topping (and they look gorgeous!)
Herbs – fresh or dry
Fruits – often, pineapple is tossed onto pizza… nice sweet/savory combination
Jalapenos – sometime you have to spice it up a little.  And by “sometimes,” I very much mean “all of the time.”  Why not?


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Using a food processor, finely chop raw cauliflower into small crumbles of florets (not quite a puree).  You may also use a cheese-grater to grate the cauliflower, if you so choose.  The intended amount of chopped cauliflower should yield about 2 cups (from ½ large cauliflower).  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop chopped cauliflower in boil water – only for 2 minutes.  The intention is to soften the cauliflower, without turning into mush.  After 2 minutes, remove the cauliflower  (using a strainer) and transfer cauliflower into ice water.  The ice water immediately halts the cooking process for the vegetable.  After the icy-shock bath, place cauliflower on paper towels, in order to dry and cool.

Pre-Made Balsamic Vinaigrette
In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together.  Cut a piece of parchment paper and lay on baking sheet. Lightly spray with non-stick spray.  Form the “crumbled crust” into a circle (about 10-inch round).  Spray the crust lightly with non-stick spray and bake until golden brown (about 12-15 minutes).  Remove crust from oven.  Switch oven setting to that of a broiler.

Add sauce/tomatoes to pizza, leaving a ½” border from the edge.  Load with toppings and stick in oven.  Since the broiler radiates immense amounts of heat, the pizza will only need a few minutes to cook.  After about 2-3 minutes, remove the pizza (toppings should be warm and cheese melted).  Since ever single oven is different, keep a close eye on the pizza as it bakes… you do not want to throw away your hard work over a burned pizza!

Cut into shapes and allow your artistic side to flourish.  White plates are best, as they allow the vibrant colors to put.  Personally, I love reduced balsamic vinaigrette… so I will often draw designs with the reduced sauce.

Most importantly, share with those that you love and enjoy!

All my love from Dallas, y’all,

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