This Cauliflower Crust Pizza is low-carb, grain-free, and gluten-free. It's a great nutritionally-dense option for those who follow the primal-paleo lifestyle, or for anyone who wants to eat fewer carbohydrates.
Now that I am eating (mostly) grain-free, I've been missing my pizza! This Cauliflower Crust Pizza recipe really satisfied my pizza craving. I was surprised at how good it was!
With one large cauliflower, I was able to make two small pizzas, one sausage, and one white clam. The white clam pie looked delicious, but sadly, it wasn’t. I won’t be posting the recipe for that one 🙁
Happily, the sausage pizza was actually really yummy, not New Haven pizza or anything, but pretty good for made-at-home, never mind grain-free. Did you know that New Haven has the best pizza in the world? I’m not kidding… it’s the best… in the world!
I had the privilege of spending half of my childhood in the New Haven area of Connecticut, which at the turn of the last century had a large influx of immigrants from the Amalfi area of Italy. Wooster Square was New Haven’s Italian neighborhood. Like New York’s Mulberry Street, many of the Italian families (including my step dad's) have moved from the neighborhood, but Wooster Street is still a hub for Italian restaurants, and Pizza!
The three heavy hitters on the New Haven pizza scene are Sally’s, Pepe’s, and Modern Pizza. They all make pizza in the Neapolitan style, thin crust, sweet tomato sauce, and the most importantly, they use brick ovens!
The question of who has the best New Haven pizza is hotly debated. My personal favorite is Sally’s white clam pie, (ergo my failed attempt above). Unfortunately, Sally’s has gone the way of Rao’s and allowed people “in the know” to call a special number for reservations. The effect is that the rest of us rabble can’t get a table in the tiny restaurant.
So now I am a Pepe’s fan, and Pepe’s pizza is also amazing. It’s a long wait for a table on the weekends, but it is worth it! The place ain't fancy. The waiters will slap down sheet pans of pizza and pitchers of soda or beer. No plates or utensils folks, you eat right off the pan, wipe your fingers with paper napkins, and say thank you for the privilege.
For this recipe, you can make two small round pizzas, or you can just make one big rectangular pizza on a sheet pan. Just be sure to preheat the pan as you would the pizza stone. Obviously, for one large pizza you would not need to divide the topping ingredients between two pies.
A word about portions: I usually make six servings for my family of four. My husband and my teenage son together can put away about four servings, and my younger son and I finish last two. For regular wheat crust pizza, my family would order two large (24”) pies, and we would have some slices left for the next day. Unfortunately, this pizza does not make good leftovers, it should be eaten right away or the crust starts to get soggy. This pizza is also more filling than ones with a wheat crust; I love that about nutritionally-dense foods! The two 12” pizzas, along with some salad, was just the right amount to serve my family dinner.
This recipe is a mix of many different versions that I found on the web, however, the one on The Lucky Penny Blog is what inspired me to give it a go.
Start by preheating your oven, along with your pizza stone, to 450 degrees.
Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Pulse the raw cauliflower in a food processor with the blade attachment. It should become the texture of couscous, or grits if you’re from the South. I had to pulse several batches. Be careful to cut your florets small enough, otherwise they will just spin around the bowl of your food processor.
Place the cauliflower grounds into a large microwavable bowl, cover with a plate and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Stir the cauliflower, cover, and microwave for another 3 minutes. Note: microwave cook times can vary so adjust accordingly.
While the cauliflower is cooling, you can brown your sausage. Remove the sausage casings, I find it easiest to just squish the insides right out of the ends. Brown and crumble the sausage in a frying pan, then remove to a paper towel-lined plate, to drain.
Once the cauliflower has cooled somewhat, place the grinds on a clean kitchen towel. Wrap up the towel and wring out as much moisture as you can, you can do this over the sink for easier clean up. I wore some clean kitchen gloves, as the grounds were still pretty hot, and I’m a wimp.
I got over a cup of liquid out of one large cauliflower. Yes, I measured.
Return the wrung-out cauliflower grounds to the large bowl. Beat the two eggs with 1 tsp garlic powder and ½ tsp kosher salt. Add the egg mixture to the grounds, along with ½ cup shredded low moisture mozzarella and 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese. Mix well with your hands, until all of the grounds are sticking together.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on a large cutting board and add a thin coating of olive oil to the paper. I sprayed it with my Misto Oil Sprayer and then used my hand to smear the droplets. You could also use a brush… whatever works for you.
Dump half of the cauliflower “dough” onto the center of the oiled parchment paper, and smoosh/pat it out into the shape of a 12" diameter pizza crust. If you are making one large pizza on a sheet pan, you can use all the grounds and make a large rectangle instead.
It is important to pre-bake the crust or your pizza will be soggy! Slide the parchment paper and uncooked pizza crust onto the preheated pizza stone. The cutting board and parchment sort of act like a pizza peel. Bake the first pizza crust on the stone for 7 minutes then remove from the oven. Slide parchment onto another large cutting board.
While the first crust was baking, you should have patted out your second crust. It can now go onto the stone and bake for 7 minutes, and then be removed to a cutting board to get toppings. Here is a shot of it after the first round in the oven:
For the toppings, first sprinkle ½ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, This first layer of cheese acts as a moisture barrier, as the crust can become soggy. Be sure to leave a rim around the edge with no toppings. Spread a layer of half the marinara, and then sprinkle with ½ cup more of shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle half the grated parmesan cheese, then half of the herbs, and lastly, half of the cooked sausage.
Slide topped crust onto your stone and cook for 5 minutes, or until the crust starts to get a bit browned and cheese is bubbling. Let pizza sit for five minutes before cutting.
I love adding a whole, unprocessed and healthy twist to classic recipes. My food is often grain-free, usually gluten-free, and always unprocessed.