And, it is something that has had special meaning for us ever since listening to Jimmy Valvano's inspiring 1993 speech at the ESPYs.
We hadn't completely given up, but we had definitely put this on the back burner.
We had tried - unsuccessfully - many times - we couldn't figure out how to come up with a version that we considered "website worthy" for Eat REAL America (easy to prepare, affordable, delicious, and nutritious).
We are talking about cauliflower pizza crust.
When the cauliflower pizza crust rage hit the scene a couple of years ago, we really did try!
We tried steaming the cauliflower, squeezing out the water...we tried roasting the cauliflower, still squeezing out the water...we were frustrated...we always ended up with a mess and a soggy pizza crust! We tried making smaller pizzas...still too soggy! So, after many unsuccessful attempts, we halted our cauliflower pizza crust journey.
Then, recently, we stumbled upon a trick that inspired us to try again...and this time?
HUGE success -- ladies and gentlemen, we found a winner!
But first, why cauliflower in a pizza crust?
This is the ideal way to remove grains from your pizza crust for those who are looking for grain free options, but the most important reason? This is an excellent way to exponentially boost your veggie intake and make a cancer-fighting cruciferous veggie an integral part of your pizza. Plus, it's delicious!
What is the trick to avoiding the mess and the soggy crust?
The secret is processing the cauliflower so it is finely chopped, like cauliflower rice, and then sautéing it in a dry non-stick skillet to help evaporate and dramatically reduce all that natural moisture!
Here are some tips we learned along the way:
- Fresh or frozen! Our recipe for a pizza crust that will serve 2 people calls for 3 cups of "riced" cauliflower. You can either use fresh cauliflower (about 1/2 of a large head) or a 12 oz bag of frozen "riced" cauliflower. The moisture will evaporate as you sauté it, whether it is fresh or frozen.
- Cool it! It is important to let the cauliflower cool after sautéing it. If you are in a hurry, you can spread it onto a baking sheet and place it in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes to speed the cooling process along.
- Hold it all together! The egg and shredded parmesan act as the "binder" to hold everything together, and we added almond flour - or you can use oat flour - to give the crust additional structure. Both of these work really well to also help absorb any excess moisture.
- Homemade oat flour! You can easily make your own oat flour by processing old fashioned rolled oats into oat flour. 1/3 cup of rolled oats will result in just about 1/3 cup of oat flour.
- Use parchment paper! Cooking the cauliflower pizza crust on parchment paper keeps it from getting too brown and sticking to your pizza pan or baking sheet.
So, how do you make cauliflower pizza crust? It is incredibly easy!
- Process 3 cups of cauliflower so it is finely diced, like riced cauliflower. (Or use a 12 oz bag of frozen "riced" cauliflower, thawed or not.)
- Sauté the cauliflower rice in a large dry non-stick skillet over medium high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower is dried, there is minimal steam and the cauliflower is almost making a popping sound.
- Set the cauliflower aside to cool.
- Add the cauliflower to a large bowl, along with a lightly beaten egg, 1/2 cup of freshly shredded parmesan, and 1/2 cup of almond flour or 1/3 cup oat flour. Stir to combine.
- Line a pizza pan or baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the cauliflower mixture onto the parchment paper and shape into a pizza crust, about 1/2 inch thick.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden brown on the top and around the edges.
- Top with your favorite pizza toppings and bake again for about 8 minutes until topping are warm and cheese is melted.
- Let sit for a few minutes before slicing and serving! Enjoy!
Remember, pizza can absolutely be part of a healthy lifestyle, and can be made using all REAL ingredients!
You can make a crust using whole grains or vegetables like zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, portobello mushrooms, and now cauliflower! For your sauce, in addition to a tomato-based sauce, you can also use pesto, hummus, guacamole or just a light coating of olive oil. Then, you can load it up with fresh, in-season veggies...and even fruits! Of course, add meat and cheese in moderation, and remember, you can easily make your own sausage using REAL ingredients!
We encourage you to celebrate pizza night each week, preparing a delicious and nutritious pizza at home – using REAL ingredients! You may just discover that delivery or takeout no longer seem near as appealing!
Even though it may not feel like it at the time, a breakthrough may be right around the corner!