Last week, I had a health scare and for a minute (a day, actually) I awaited to hear test results. It could have been the kind of news that tells me I won’t see a walker or failing eye sight or hip replacements because my time is up. During those 24 hours, old age seemed like a prize. I have always felt a heavy dose of compassion for my mother in law, because she is in her late 80’s and her body is showing the signs of well-deserved wear and tear. She uses a walker, her eyesight and memory have lost their way a bit. Her hip needs replaced again.
But during that waiting period, my perspective changed and I now see old age as good fortune. She has made it through life without a premature illness, car accident, or assault. She is not at the end of her life, for her family tends to live into the 90’s and one grandmother lived to be 106. It’s not the fullness of life one still has in their 60’s, maybe even in their 70’s. But, these aged survivors get to see their children grow old, their grandchildren graduate college and even their great grand children walk and talk. It’s such an honor to be witness to that, even with some disabilities.
What was the secret to living so long? I can’t scientifically claim to know, and although they weren’t drinkers or smokers, I think their secret was in their food source. They lived almost exclusively from the food they raised on the farm. As I thought about this and the good phone call I received, I fell even more in love with food from my local farmers.
The cauliflower and the arugula were purchased from local Amish farmers at the Tuesday Franklin Farmer’s Market. I had both items in my refrigerator nearly two weeks before I was able to use them. Amazingly, they were still good enough to make this pizza with.
Cauliflower is Healthy
Cauliflower has the disadvantage of being white. White foods don’t have the same healthy zing appeal as the green or purple food, so I wanted to make sure you knew that cauliflower is high in Vitamin C, omega 3 fatty acids and has special properties (as all cruciferous vegetables do) to fight cancer. It contains allicin, which helps prevents strokes and improve heart health. It also helps to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol, and helps with cancers that primarily affect woman, due to indole-3-carbino, which which helps metabolize estrogen. Cauliflower helps the body to detox, fight inflammation, and aid the digestive system. Low in calories, high in nutrition and available year round, cauliflower is at the ready for roasting, steaming, making soup or serving as a low-carb pizza crust.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust, a Blogger’s Favorite
I’ve seen lots of blog posts about a cauliflower pizza crust and I thought making one would be easy. Not so fast. There are two predominant recipes, one with almond meal and one without. I saw different cooking methods for the cauliflower, different baking times, different baking temperatures. So many opinions, yet all with the same goal in mind, which is getting the cauliflower to crisp up enough when it bakes. I discovered that cauliflower tends to want to steam underneath and not get crispy and that without parchment paper, it will stick and be a hot mess. But each post I read bragged about the wonderfulness of the recipe, and I was hooked to give it a try.
What Recipe Did I Follow?
I followed all of them. I took a little of this one from Recipe Girl, a little of this one from Detoxinista, and I even tried the idea of almond meal that I read about on Food Loves Writing, where the pictures are very appetizing. The almond meal recipe is probably a bit more bread like. You can try that recipe or the one I ended up with, which does not have almond meal. You will enjoy both types as long as you bake your crust long enough. I made three different pizza. The first one I did not bake first and it took a long time to get brown. The second and third pizza I pre-baked the crust and decided that is the way to go.
You can try all kinds of toppings, but cauliflower seems to love a little olive oil and crushed red pepper. I put crushed red pepper both in the crust and on top of the pizza. It was especially good topped with a little arugula salad. The pepper bite of arugula served my pizza well.
Tips for a Good Cauliflower Crust
- Use a food processor to crumble the cauliflower. It’s faster. You can use a grater if you don’t have a processor.
- Microwave the cauliflower without water, prior to mixing with other ingredients.
- Use parchment paper. This recipe sticks easily.
- Use a very hot oven, and bake first for at least 20 minutes before adding toppings. The crust should be golden brown in the middle.
- Don’t use more than one egg per 2 cups of cauliflower crumbs.
- If you do use almond meal, it will be a little more bread-like.
Topped with tomato and fresh mozzarella for baking.
This is the almond crust that was pre-baked for 25 minutes first.
- ½ large cauliflower
- ¼ cup mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons parmesan or pecorino cheese (or any combination)
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian dried herbs
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- salt, pepper
- Toppings of choice for pizza, example of what I used below
- mozzarella cheese
- thinly sliced tomato
- arugula tossed in a tiny bit of olive oil and vinegar
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Using a food processor or grater, crumble cauliflower into tiny pieces.
- Microwave for 8 minutes or steam until cooked through.
- the rest of the ingredients and form into a circle for a pizza crust.
- Line baking sheet with parchment (even if you are using a pizza stone).
- If you are using a pizza stone, get it hot first.
- Bake the crust without the toppings for 20-35 minutes. This will depend on how thick your crust is, etc.
- Once golden brown, top with toppings of choice and broil for 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
- I topped my pizza with the arugula after it came out of the oven.
Other Good Cauliflower Dishes from Food Bloggers
Spaghetti with Cauliflower, Chile and Parsley Gremolata by Taste Food
Roasted Curry Cauliflower by Summer Tomato
Whole Head Roasted Cauliflower by Food Republic