Cauliflower is one of the most underrated vegetables ever. It has this amazing property to lend so much richness to a dish (see my lasagna with cauliflower bechamel sauce recipe for proof) in a healthy way. I’ve really discovered it in the past few months and use it in several ways to make unhealthy foods healthy. I’ve used it in gnocchi instead of white flour as well as in cheese soufflés (will post about those in the coming weeks). I decided to try my hand at cauliflower pizza for my latest experiment.
I will admit that I don’t love the taste of cauliflower on its own; seasoning it in the way the dish calls for overcomes that fairly quickly. I reminisced about a focaccia pizza I had eaten in Rome at a lovely pizzeria called ‘Gusto – the foccacia was simply flavored with garlic, rosemary and a generous helping of olive oil (classic Italian pizza). I channeled that here and chose to highlight those flavors.
I’ll be honest with you – this doesn’t taste like ‘normal’ pizza. Bread is irreplaceable, especially that crusty wood-fired pizza dough that you might be dreaming of. BUT I will say it’s a great dish to eat as a meal by itself and one of the best ways to skip the bread, make yourself eat vegetables and be full at the end of a meal almost entirely based on veggies.
Read on for the recipe:
- 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 500g)
- 1 tsp dried rosemary (use more if using fresh rosemary)
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp olive oil, to grease the baking tray
- 5 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 small piece of carrot
- 1 tsp coconut sugar or sugar of choice
- 1 tsp dried oregano (use more if using fresh oregano)
- 8-10 basil leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Crushed red pepper, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 100g cheese, shredded (I used cheddar)
- 1 small onion, sliced long
- 8-10 mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tsp truffle oil (optional)
- Start by cooking the cauliflower in boiling water on a stove until softened.
- Once cooked and cooled, use a cheesecloth to squeeze out all the excess water. This step helps to form a stronger pizza base, so squeeze with all your strength until there is no more water!
- Puree the cauliflower with the herbs, garlic salt and pepper.
- Spread on a greased baking sheet in your desired pizza shape and bake for 30 minutes at 200C. The top should be slightly browned.
- While your cauliflower is baking, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onions, stirring them until they are somewhat transparent.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and turn up the heat a notch.
- Add a chunk of carrot (to be discarded once the sauce is cooked), sugar and crushed red pepper and oregano. Allow the tomatoes to reduce, about 10 minutes.
- Tear the basil leaves and season with salt and pepper while the tomatoes are cooking. I find that the chunk of carrot and coconut sugar help to reduce the acidity of the sauce without making it overly sweet.
- Cook the mushrooms in a skillet on medium heat (iron skillet is best if you have one) until all the water is released from them, about 10 minutes.
- When your cauliflower crust is browned and ready to be topped, spread the tomato sauce, followed by the cheese, mushrooms and sliced onions.
- Top with crushed red pepper if desired. We went all out and drizzled a little truffle oil as well!
- Cook on 200C for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and onions are browned.