This grain-free pizza crust recipe is cauliflower-based with some sweet potato, which lends a slight sweetness and softness to each bite. Almond meal replaces grain flour and flax-seed gel serves as a binder. The result is a delicious grain-free pizza with slices you can pick up without it falling into pieces…unlike several of the recipes I tried.
A crust without flour is simple, but requires a little more attention to detail. First, it is necessary to squeeze the excess water out of the steamed cauliflower to avoid a dreaded soggy crust. Cutting or breaking the florets into the smaller, bite-size pieces will ease this process. Only the cauliflower needs wringing, but if you find it easier to drop everything into the towel, including the sweet potato, that will work as well. Don’t worry about getting the last drop, but put a little muscle into it!
Next, if you want to eat the pizza by the slice -with your hands, instead of scraping it off the pan with a fork (this has happened) you will need to flip the pizza half-way through the cooking process. I thought this seemed like a bigger hassle than it really is. Simply make sure you have your second sheet of parchment paper and a cutting board (at least the size of the baking pan) ready to go. Pull the pan out of the oven, place the second piece of parchment over the crust, place the cutting board on the top, then flip it, slide the parchment and crust back to the pan and place it back in the oven. You’re good to go.
Finally, if you want your crust to be a perfect circle fitting perfectly on your baking sheet, one pound (before steaming) of combined vegetables seems to be about the right quantity. And, to eliminate the guess-work about crust size, I recommend placing your first piece of parchment paper into your baking sheet, then making crease marks at the edges to use as a guide when spreading the ‘dough’.
GRAIN-FREE CAULIFLOWER SWEET POTATO PIZZA CRUST
Inspired by Michelle Babb, MS, RD, CD
Yield: One 10-inch pizza (2-4 servings)
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- Food processor or high-speed blender
- Sauce pan and steamer basket
- Baking sheet
- Cutting board
- 2 pieces of parchment paper, size of the baking sheet
- 1/2 medium head cauliflower, broken into bite-size florets (up to 4 cups).
- 1/2 medium sweet potato, unpeeled and diced into 1/4 inch pieces (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup filtered water
- 3 tablespoons whole flax seeds, freshly ground
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1 tablespoon dried italian herbs or oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided (some for the crust and some for the vegetables)
- 3 tablespoon coconut or olive oil for greasing the baking sheet and sautéing vegetables
- 1/2 medium red onion, sliced into thin rings
- 1 cup thinly sliced shiitake (or cremini) mushrooms, 4-6
- 1/3-1/2 pesto (regular or dairy-free)
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (optional)
CAULIFLOWER AND SWEET POTATO CRUST DIRECTIONS:
- Preheat oven to 400º F.
- Place your baking sheet in the oven.
- Combine the water and ground flax-seed. Stir intermittently until it forms a gel, about the time it takes to steam the vegetables.
- Place a steamer basket inside of a saucepan or stock pot with a few inches of water.
- Place chopped sweet potato and cauliflower florets into the steamer.
- Steam vegetables until both are easily pierced with a fork, about 12 minutes.
- Wrap the cauliflower into a tea towel, twist it and press firmly to wring out as much of the excess water as you can.
- Transfer the steamed vegetables to a food processor or high-speed blender.
- Add the flax gel, almond meal, Italian herbs, 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Blend until smooth. The ‘dough’ will not be like regular pizza dough. It will be fairly wet.
- Lightly grease one piece of parchment paper. Transfer the cauliflower mixture to the center of the paper. Using a rubber spatula, spread the dough out from the center until it is evenly about 1/8th inch thick, but no less.
- Remove the baking pan from the oven.
- Transfer the crust and parchment paper to the baking pan.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- While the crust bakes, sauté vegetables toppings (see Vegetable Directions below)
- After 20 minutes. remove the pan from the oven. Place the other piece of parchment paper on top of the crust. Placing a cutting board on top, flip the crust, then slide the crust back to the baking sheet.
- Bake for another 20 minutes, until the top appears dry and slightly toasted.
- Remove the pan from the oven. If possible, slide the crust and parchment paper to a cooling rack. Let the crust rest for at least 5 minutes to release steam.
- Assemble the pizza per below, or as desired.
VEGETABLE DIRECTIONS AND PIZZA ASSEMBLY:
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add the onions and sprinkle lightly with some of the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Saute until softened, between 2-4 minutes.
- Remove the onions from pan and set aside.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan and allow it to heat up.
- Add mushrooms to the pan and sprinkle lightly with some of the remaining salt and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until soft and slightly browned.
- Spread the pesto evenly over the pizza crust.
- Spread the sautéed onions, then the mushrooms and red chili peppers (optional) over the pizza crust.
- If topping the pizza with cheese, turn on the broiler and place the crust under the broiler for 2 minutes or until the cheese melts. Otherwise, place back into the 400º to rewarm for 5 minutes.
- Slice and serve!
NUTRITION NOTE – GETTING THE MOST FROM YOUR CAULIFLOWER:
To get the full nutritional benefits of cauliflower, chop it up at least 40 minutes before cooking. This is enough time for the chemical reaction to take place which produces sulforophane, the compound most responsible for cauliflower’s health benefits. This reaction won’t happen if the cauliflower is heated immediately after being broken apart by hand or cut by knife.
Have you tried cauliflower pizza crusts? Willing to try this one? Please leave a comment below!