Cauliflower Crust Pizza
By Diana Earnshaw
Cauliflowers are available all year round, but they are probably at their best during autumn and winter. Along with the other cruciferous vegetables (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbages and many more), cauliflower has an impressive supply of nutrients. It is a very good source of the antioxidant sulforaphane – known to help the prevention of some cancers. There are many more antioxidants too, which help keep our bodies in fighting fit condition.
Other nutrients include several B vitamins plus vitamins C and K1. Cauliflower provides a wonderful array of minerals including magnesium, but of course the levels of these will depend upon the quality of the soil (which is always better if organic methods are used).
For a while during my life, I decided that it would not feature as a boiled or steamed vegetable any longer (other than an occasional cauliflower cheese). I just didn’t like the smell which lingered after cooking. However, cauliflower is now enjoying a “come-back”, especially amongst the Paleo/Primal eaters. It certainly features in my repertoire again!
Cauliflower is so versatile. Boiling and steaming are just not the most interesting ways to cook it! It can be roasted – on its own or broken into small florets and added to other diced vegetables. It can be “riced” – just blitz it in a food processor and steam for 10-20 minutes, depending upon how you crunchy you want it to be. Use in Chinese fried rice, biryani, kedgeree or just as a base (with seasoning, herbs and spices) for a chilli, curry or stew. It can even make a great pizza base!
For the crust
- 1 medium cauliflower (outer leaves removed, rest chopped and blitzed in a food processor)
- 1 large egg
- 80g grated mild cheese
- ½ tsp black pepper and ½ teaspoon salt
For the topping
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ thinly sliced red onion
- 1 small thinly sliced red pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Grated cheese
- Olives, ham, pepperoni, mushrooms etc. Choose your toppings!
Preheat the oven to 180C fan/gas mark 6.
Steam the cauliflower ‘meal’ for 15-20 minutes or until it is soft. Transfer the cauliflower to a clean tea towel and allow to cool. Now SQUEEEEZE out all the excess moisture – brute strength required!
Put the dry cauliflower into a mixing bowl and add the remaining base ingredients. Mix together then tip into a pile on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper (or parchment). With your hands flatten the cauliflower dough out into a circle approximately 12-inches in diameter, the edges slightly thicker.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges start to brown and crisp. At this point, I remove it from the oven, cover it with another piece of parchment and flip it over. Then I cook for another 5 minutes to remove more moisture. Not essential.
In a small pan, heat the oil and add the onion and peppers. Cover with the lid and over a low heat, allow to sweat for about 10 minutes until soft. Spread the tomato puree over the base, leaving a small gap around the edge. Lay on the onion and pepper mixture and anything else you wish to add then sprinkle on the oregano. Add enough grated cheese to cover the top and then bake for about 15 minutes.
This feeds two greedy people or three with a side salad. Enjoy!