Cauliflower Pizza with Spring Vegetables and Goat Cheese
I know I’m just getting on the bandwagon with the cauliflower rice trend, but really there’s no such thing as being too late when it comes to being healthy. Many of you may be wondering why cauliflower is taking over the kale craze. Well, not only is it an excellent nutrient filled with vitamins, minerals, and even fiber, it also makes a tasty low carb substitute for our paleo and gluten-free friends!
Cauliflower can be roasted as we all know, but it can also make a great cream sauce alternative for vegan cooking. The very trendy version of this cruciferous beauty right now is the cauliflower rice. When it is broken down in a food processor (blender or grater as well), it makes these fine granules that literally look just like rice. From there you can sautee or simmer as you would imitating your favorite rice dish, but it can also magically be made to resemble pizza dough. The best part is that this did not take a while, and it was quite fun!
One very important part to keep in mind is to make sure you get most of the moisture out of the cauliflower. Without these next two steps your pizza can come out like a pizza scramble (which also doesn’t sound too bad). First, make sure to cook the cauliflower by roasting, steaming, or microwaving the florets. Most stores (like my favorite Trader Joes) sell them already as granules and those can be found in the freezer or refrigerator sections. Second, after cooking the cauliflower you must press with a towel or paper towel to wring out excess liquid. I placed paper towels underneath and above the granules and pressed firmly. The blogger from A Sweet Pea Chef had very helpful (and beautiful) images and tips; highly recommend viewing her website.
Another part to mention about this dough is that it needs to be baked before the toppings can be added. It almost reminded me of a hybrid of naan bread and a potato pancake latke before baking in the oven (also sounds yummy). After baking, you can add the toppings and place back in the oven to melt the cheese. My lesson I learned in this recipe adventure is that I placed the raw spinach in with the other toppings too soon; I should have either sauteed the spinach first, or thrown on top for the few minutes remaining for the final baking session. They came out sort of dry and lifeless looking!
Lastly, I mentioned cauliflower being so nutritious, but here’s why. It is a member of the cruciferous family that is packed with lots of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, potassium, and folate, and may even act as an anti-inflammatory and cancer fighter thanks to the compounds, Indole and Sulforaphane (a sulfur compound). Feel free to explore other cruciferous vegetables for more health benefits, such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage!
I hope you enjoy this italian food favorite (without the calories)!
- 2 cups Cauliflower rice
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup mozarella, shredded
- 1/2 cup English or green peas
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 ounces goat cheese
- 1/2 cup baby spinach, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Microwave the cauliflower rice for 5-8 minutes on high, stirring halfway through cooking time.
- While cauliflower rice is cooking, steam the peas until bright and tender, about 4 minutes.
- Once cauliflower is ready, place on multiple layers or paper towels or a clean towel and press with another towel on top to remove the excess liquid. Can also use a cheesecloth to wring out the liquid.
- The cauliflower will look somewhat pasty as it gets less moist. Add the cauliflower to a bowl and mix in the egg and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese; stir ingredients until it forms a dough.
- Place the "dough" on a pan lined with foil or parchment paper (I used the foil and lined it with cooking spray). Shape it as a square or circle of your choice. This can also be made on a pizza stone, but keep it on the foil or parchment paper.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until it starts to get firm and becomes more golden.
- Remove the dough from the oven and throw on the toppings except the spinach. Bake for 5 minutes and then add the spinach and bake additional 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Carefully remove from the pan as it is less firm than regular pizza.
This recipe did not include pizza sauce because I used a good amount of cheese. Please feel free to add your own sauce, but only add it after you have baked the dough first.