Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

A few months back I was enjoying a post-yoga lunch with a dear friend. When it came time to make a decision (this café has a rather extensive menu) she asked aloud, “do I feel like eating with a fork or my hands?” I chuckled at the time because that thought had never really crossed my mind. Fast forward three months and I find myself asking that very same question. Sometimes I just want delicious finger food. There is something so liberating, and at times romantic, about eating with your hands. Pizza is a great example but is not always the healthiest option. Why not though?! Why can’t pizza be healthy? Or can it? J I say it can!

I have crafted a quinoa pizza crust which was quite tasty but crunchier like a cracker. Recently I spotted a crust made with cauliflower and thought I’d give it a try (or something like it) in my own kitchen. The consistency of the crust is softer and fluffier like that of tradition pizza; however, it is made up of cauliflower so it’s healthy and awesome!

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Normally when I cook I just throw together some ingredients, a little of this and a touch of that. I don’t measure and I don’t time. I add until it tastes good and looks and feels like it is done. Blogging can be a challenge because I need to provide exact amounts. So…as you recreate this recipe, I encourage you to add your own special flare! Let your creative juices flow!

What’s so special about cauliflower? Though cauliflower is less studied than its cruciferous brothers and sisters, it has been linked to cancer prevention specifically in regards to the following: bladder, colon, breast, prostate and ovarian cancers. The connection between cauliflower and cancer prevention can be explained by its support for three key systems in the body: detox, anti-oxidant, and inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system. If any of these three systems are out of balance the likelihood of cancer increases. If there is a simultaneous imbalance in all three of these systems than the likelihood of cancer increases tremendously.

Cauliflower is high in antioxidant nutrients that are key to phase 1 and 2 of our bodies detox system. These nutrients rid unwanted toxins from our body and reduce damage that increases our cells’ risk of becoming cancerous. It is also extremely high in vitamin c and vitamin k – the king anti-inflammatory nutrient.

Tips for buying cauliflower: 1) Look for a head that is creamy, white and compact. 2) Buy the full head of cauliflower not pre-cut florets. Not only is it cheaper to buy the entire head of cauliflower, but also it will last longer, and you can use the stems and greens to make your own veggie stock.

1 head of cauliflower chopped finely (I used a food processor and stopped when I achieved a rice-like texture)
1 cup of almond flour (you can create this by grinding raw almonds in a food processor or high speed blender. Whole-wheat flour would also work)
3 eggs (or flax eggs if vegan)
1 clove of garlic pressed or minced
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of nutrition yeast (optional)

* Add whatever toppings you would like. I used a fresh marinara sauce from the farmers market and topped it with spinach, artichoke hearts, goat cheese and some raw Parmesan.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Transfer the “riced” cauliflower to a large bowl; add the almond flour, eggs (or flax eggs) and salt. Stir well until your mixture becomes a doughy ball. Lightly flour a pizza stone or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and begin to roll and spread the dough evenly.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and begin to assemble your pizza. Top with sauce, your favorite veggies, and cheese if you choose. Return it to the oven for an additional 10 - 15 minutes.

Slice, serve, and enjoy with your hands! 

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