Of all the possibilities of what there is to miss when adopting a low-carb diet, three tend to come up more than anything else. Patients stare into the distance, as though embarking on a journey into an unknown desert, invariably whispering, “But… what about bread?”
“There are plenty of alternatives out there, and most of them are completely delicious.”
To which I offer, “Zoodles!”
But there is one lingering food item that just never quite cuts it.
People love pizza. Vegan. Slathered in greek salad. It doesn’t matter. It’s a hot slice of cheesy, doughy goodness. What’s not to love? That said, finding low-carb options on the outside is basically like trying to find a cat that enjoys baths. It’s not that they don’t exist, but they’re usually kind of weird and off-putting.
Thanks to geniuses on the internet, however, I now have an answer for this one too:
“Cauliflower?” they say.
Don’t knock it till you try it. The cauliflower crust is bizarre at first glance, but it’s actually among the more convincing pseudo-crusts out there these days. It crisps on the bottom nicely, it has a great texture, and it’s a fantastic canvas for all things pizza. It’s also surprisingly easy to get it thin, which is my personal preference when it comes to a good slice. Seriously, what’s not to love?
After a few test runs, I have cultivated my own version, which is based off of my own experimentation deviating from Detoxinista’s crust recipe.
Prep time: 30 minutes, Bake time: 40 minutes
Two medium-sized white cauliflowers, steamed, riced, and the water squeezed out
one large egg
1/2 cup chevre goat cheese
1/2 cup quinoa
1 teaspoon each of dried basil and oregano
salt and pepper to taste
Cheese cloth and parchment paper
Pre-heat the oven to 350.
Chop up the cauliflower into florets as shown above. Steam on stovetop until soft. Let them cool down.
Taking a few florets at a time, squeeze through cheese cloth over the sink. They don’t need to be completely dry, but if the water isn’t released, the crust won’t be as convincing.
After that, mash any of the remaining larger chunks of the florets down. It should look something like this:
Combine with the rest of the ingredients. The texture will not be like regular pizza dough, as much as a thick, somewhat lumpy and coarse batter. Dump this mixture onto a parchment paper-lined tray and use either a spoon or your hands to spread it into the shape of a pizza crust, into the desired thinness.
Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes, until firm to the touch on top and browned along the sides. Remove from the oven and layer with desired toppings.
Toppings Shown, in the order layered.
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
1 shallot, sliced thinly
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup shredded mozzerella
1/8 cup raw pumpkin seeds
It’s a little time intensive, but the great thing about cauliflower is you can keep it around for a while. I believe this crust would be easy to freeze and use later, especially in smaller, singular pizza shapes. That said, whenever I do it, I’m always so happy I took the time.
Bake until cheese has melted to desired level, typically 10-15 minutes.
Slice as one would a normal pizza. Pairs great with a full salad.