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Pizza crust with cauliflower and not flour

By Katie Scarvey
kscarvey@salisburypost.com
I think one of the greatest things that’s happened to cooking is the internet. It seems like everybody is writing about cooking these days. I often discover cooking blogs by Googling the name of an ingredient I want to use. This week I was looking for some interesting almond butter recipes to go with a wire story. Well, I did find some, but a non-almond-butter-related recipe on one of the sites I visited (the Detoxinista) intrigued me more.The recipe was for a pizza crust made not with flour but with cauliflower. I know, some of you are saying “ewwww,” but if you’re looking for ways to eat more vegetables and fewer grains, this is a delicious strategy, I promise you.
You don’t have to be allergic to gluten to want to reduce grains (and yes, even whole grains) in your diet. While it’s too much to get into here, a lot of people (including Dr. William Davis, the cardiologist who wrote the book “Wheat Belly”) believe that the hybridized form of wheat we’re eating now – which is not the wheat our grandparents ate – does bad things to our bodies and has driven the obesity epidemic in this country. More and more people, including physicians, are weighing in to agree that eliminating wheat from our diets can be very beneficial.
But what about all the foods we love that contain wheat, like pizza?
You can still have them, but of course you have to re-think the crust. Some ingenious cooks have figured out that you can make a delicious pizza crust with cauliflower. Yes, really.
I used the recipe below, from detoxinista.com. I substituted feta cheese instead of chevre, and I think others have substituted mozarella.(I’m looking forward to experimenting). Because feta is a briny cheese, my crust was probably saltier than it would have been otherwise, but it was still quite tasty (and did not taste like cauliflower, if you’re wondering).
4 C. steamed cauliflower rice (about one medium head)
1 egg, beaten
1/3 C. soft goat cheese (chevre)
1 tsp. dried oregano
pinch of salt
The first step is to make what is sometimes called cauliflower “rice.” Simply cut up your cauliflower head into florets and then pulse batches in a food processor until you get something with a rice-like texture.
Take the processed cauliflower and then steam it. (You could probably use the microwave, but I prefer to avoid that when possible.) Drain into a strainer.
Transfer the cauliflower to a clean dishtowel. Wrap the rice in the towel and then squeeze out as much moisture as possible. This step is important if you don’t want mush for a pizza crust.
After you’ve gotten all the water out you can, put it in a large bowl and mix the cauliflower with a beaten egg, the cheese and spices. Mix well. It won’t feel like regular pizza dough, so not to worry.
Press the dough out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (I used a silicon liner, which worked as well.) The dough should be about a third of an inch thick.
Bake your crust at 400 degrees until it’s firm and golden brown. (The original recipe called for 35-40 minutes but mine took less than half an hour.)
Then, add whatever you’d normally add to the crust – a traditional tomato sauce and mozarella cheese, if you want. Return the pizza to the oven and bake another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is hot and bubbly.
Adapted from detoxinista.com.

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