Pizza CAN BE healthy! The crust alone offers plenty of protein minus the fat and some of the carbs. I used to love pizza when I was a vegetarian. After my transition to being vegan I missed traditional pizza initially and was always search and working on creating a substitute recipe that would satisfy my pizza cravings.
It also triggered a question as to why I missed it? Aha! it was the look, the practicality of a meal especially in the fast paced society we live in. Pizza can be a nutritious meal in itself if creafted thoughtfully. Any food that I can eat with my fingers is the most satifying, pizza certainly tops the list!
I came across several recipes before I perfected this one but most say to grate and squeeze the cauliflower juice. That I feel is is much of the cauli nutrition down the drain.
With this recipe you use the whole vegetable even the tender leaves and the stalk. Most herbs such as coriander, parsley, thyme, rosemary and oregano work well with the crust however I used coriander. If you’re not a coriander fan use one or multiple of the others, the more the merrier. Garlic not only gices the crust a punch but aids in disgestion and reduces the gassy effect of cauliflower:) Chilli, very hard for me to omit but you suit your palate.
Besan flour is one of my favourite among all flours for its nutty earthy texture, colour, protein content and versatility. It can be used in sweet or savoury dishes to create crunchy or smooth texture. Tradition besan with made with black gram (variety of chickpeas) available in Indian grocery stores.The more commonly available besan in the western world is generally ground garbanzo.
- ½ head cauliflower (about 2 cups grated)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup besan flour
- 1/4 cup almond meal
- 1 flax egg
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- Salt and chilli to taste
- Oil to grease tray
- 4 medium beets, peeled and chupped
- 1 small red onion
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp rosemary
- 1 cup rocket
- 1 punnet cherry tomatoes and 1 miediun tomato sliced
- 1 medium avocado
- Olive oil to drizzle
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For pickled beets: cook all ingredients in a medium saucepan overlow heat until beets are tender. Allow to cool before using on the crust.
- Topping: saute shiitake in teaspoon of oil for 2 mins until hot.
- Pre-heat oven to 400° F.
- Grease a cookie sheet or pizza stone by oiling ir or laying baking paper to prevent the crust stick if you don't grease it properly!!
- Chop the cauliflower stem, leaves and the florets into chunks (remove the the hard skin from the stem).
- Add chopped cauliflower, parsley and garlic to a food processor and pulse just until the texture is similar to rice. You can grate the cauliflower using the side whith the biggest round wholes or finely chop it.
- In a large bowl combine cauliflower with all remaining ingredients until it forms a soft dough.
- Spread dough out evenly over baking sheet or stone by softly pressing with your fingers or the back of a large spoon till ¼ inch thick.The pizza should be about 9-10 inches in diameter. For individual pizzas divide the dough into two.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the crust is golden, crispy on the edges and cooked through the middle.
- Remove the crust from the oven.
- Top with pickled beets and sauce and toppings. Be careful not to add too many heavy toppings as you don't want to weigh down the crust.
- Allow the crust to cool for 2-3 minutes. Spread a layer of pickled beets and top with remaining toppings.
Pickled beets are great with burgers, pizzas, sandwiches or even as a dip and can be prepared days or week in advance. The balsamic keeps it preserved for up to a month in refrigerator.
Pesto is great substitute for pickled beets.
The cauliflower crust freezes well, heat in a pre-heated oven for 5-7 minutes before topping and serving.