Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks

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These cheesy grainfree breadsticks are a guaranteed winner!  They are yummy enough to satisfy that carb craving that we all know so well, without adding empty calories and they are wheat and gluten free. This is one of the blog posts that went missing during my technically challenged summer, however, I certainly didn’t mind ‘having’ to make it again.  The first time I spread the cauliflower ‘dough’ into rectangles  (like a sheet pizza) and cut it into strips to serve.

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This time I decided to try making into individual strips or bars which can be picked up by hand to eat.  I am a crispy crust lover so I figured this would maximize the crispy edges and I was not disappointed.  I sprinkled the cooked breadsticks with fresh basil but you could also provide warm tomato sauce or pesto for dipping.

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Cauliflower is a great carb substitute and provides vitamins, and minerals plus fiber and very few calories (only 27 per cup), very low fat and no cholesterol.  It is a surprisingly excellent source of Vitamin C which we need more of, especially this time of year as flu season approaches.

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This recipe can also be used as a pizza, either rectangular or round.  Just add tomato or pesto sauce.  I would go light on toppings as it may not hold up. Here is a photo of my first Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks based on the recipe from Jo Cooks.com

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I have blogged about Cauliflower Pizza before.  My older recipe calls for the addition of almond flour which makes it more of a traditional crust and great for lots of toppings.  Check out my original recipe for Cauliflower Crust Pizza which also featured caramelized onions and mushrooms.

 

I have the luxury of fresh eggs from my own backyard hens.  I have 9 hens, most of whom have been rescued from Factory Farms where they lived in warehouses and never got a chance to go outside or eat fresh food.  (Yes, even my organic cage free hens.)  You can follow my ‘girls’ on their Facebook Page  Mrs Vs Rescue Chickens.  However, if you don’t have access to backyard chickens, please buy Pasture Raised eggs from the store.  That is the ONLY label that means that the hens got a chance to go outside.

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TIPS:  I used a food processor to ‘rice’ my cauliflower which is very easy, however, I am starting to see Cauliflower Rice in stores (even Costco) if you are looking for a shortcut. Then I steamed the cauliflower rice in the microwave which is the easiest way to ensure you don’t have excess moisture. If you prefer not to use a microwave, you can steam the cauliflower on the stovetop with a bit of water before ricing.  Just make sure any excess water is removed by squeezing with papertowels.

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CHEESY CAULIFLOWER BREADSTICKS

  • 1 large head of cauliflower (about 4 cups riced)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (or a blend of cheeses)
  • 1-2 cups mozzarella cheese (optional topping)
  • 1 Tbsn fresh basil, chopped (optional topping)
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  • Preheat oven to 425 F degrees. Prepare 2 pizza dishes or a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

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  • Remove outer leaves and roughly chop cauliflower into florets.

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  • Add the florets to a food processor or blender and pulse until cauliflower resembles rice.

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  • Place the cauliflower in a microwavable bowl and cover. Microwave for 10 minutes. Let cool.

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  • Stir in the oregano, garlic, red pepper and salt and pepper. Taste (before adding the eggs) and adjust spices if necessary.

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  • Mix in eggs and 2 cups mozzarella.

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  • Divide the mixture in half and place each half onto the prepared baking sheets and shape into individual strips (about 5 or 6 to a pan) or into a rectangular shape that you will cut into breadsticks later.

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  • Bake the crust (without toppings) for about 25 minutes or until nice and golden. You may have to push the sides back in with a spatula if you see spreading.

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  • Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.

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  • Serve with fresh basil.

Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1 large head of cauliflower (about 4 cups riced)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (or a blend of cheeses)
  • 1-2 cups mozzarella cheese (optional topping)
  • 1 Tbsn fresh basil, chopped (optional topping)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F degrees. Prepare 2 pizza dishes or a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Remove outer leaves and roughly chop cauliflower into florets.
  3. Add the florets to a food processor or blender and pulse until cauliflower resembles rice.
  4. Place the cauliflower in a microwavable bowl and cover. Microwave for 10 minutes. Let cool.
  5. Stir in the oregano, garlic, red pepper and salt and pepper. Taste (before adding the eggs) and adjust spices if necessary.
  6. Mix in eggs and 2 cups mozzarella.
  7. Divide the mixture in half and place each half onto the prepared baking sheets and shape into individual strips (about 6 to a pan) or into a rectangular shape that you will cut into breadsticks later.
  8. Bake the crust (without toppings) for about 25 minutes or until nice and golden. You may have to push the sides back in with a spatula if you see spreading.
  9. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
  10. Serve with fresh basil.

 

Meatless Monday – BBQ Tofu Pizza

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Two of America’s favorite foods are barbecue and pizza.  Now imagine them together for the ultimate in delicious comfort food.  This version is vegetarian, using tofu, crumbled and browned with barbecue sauce, in place of more traditional chicken with pretty great results.  The barbecue sauce, smoked cheddar, mozzarella, purple onion and fresh tomatoes all melted together into quite a tasty pizza. My guests actually didn’t believe that it was tofu at first but they quickly became believers…

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I used a very spicy barbecue sauce that has a slightly smoky flavor, so I used it sparingly.  I didn’t want the pizza to be so hot that people couldn’t eat it. I may have used a layer of tomato sauce if I had it but used fresh tomatoes instead. Next time I will do both or use a milder barbecue sauce. I also doubled down on the smoky flavor by using a combination of mozzarella and smoked cheddar.  Vegans can easily swap out the cheeses for any combination of vegan cheeses. There are many good ones available now.

TIPS:  A good shortcut is to use a ready made pizza dough, preferably whole grain (that’s just my preference). If you are interested in making your own, click on the link above for a good recipe for pizza crust using white whole wheat flour. Just keep in mind that once you roll out the dough into a circle or rectangle, the longer you allow it to sit, the more it will rise and thicken.  So for a thinner crust, don’t let it sit more than an hour.

Your barbecue sauce will determine how well your pizza turns out, so choose one that is tried and true or make your own.  Some of the store bought sauces are truly awful and some are delicious.  Taste first…

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BBQ TOFU PIZZA

1 ball pizza dough (see link above)
1/2 cup olive oil (divided)
1 block extra firm tofu
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup tomato sauce or barbecue sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup smoked cheddar
2 ripe tomatoes
1/2 purple onion
1/4 cup cilantro or parsley
olive oil spray (optional)

  • Place the ball of pizza dough on a floured surface and roll out into desired shape. (Will be determined by your pan).  Place on parchment paper and transfer to baking sheet. Put it in a warm place and let sit covered with a kitchen towel.

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  • Drain tofu and cut into small cubes.  Lay cubes on double paper towels, cover with another double layer and set something heavy on top. Let sit for about 10 minutes.

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  • Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a skillet on medium high and cook tofu until lightly browned.  Using the spoon break the tofu up into large crumbles. Reduce heat and stir in 1 cup barbecue sauce.  Cook another couple of minutes and remove from heat.

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  • Chop tomatoes and cilantro and mince red onion.

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  • Spray or brush pizza dough with olive oil, especially the edges. Spread 1 cup of tomato or barbecue sauce evenly over top (optional).  Sprinkle cheeses over the top.
  • Top with tofu mixture, red onion and tomatoes.  Spray with olive oil (optional)

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  • Cook at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the cheeses are browned and bubbling and the crust is golden. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cilantro.

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  • Slide pizza off of parchment paper onto serving platter or cutting board and cut into wedges or squares. Serve hot or room temperature.

Barbecue Tofu Pizza

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

20160707_115923 1 ball pizza dough
1/2 cup olive oil (divided)
1 block extra firm tofu
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup tomato sauce or barbecue sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup smoked cheddar
2 ripe tomatoes
1/2 purple onion
1/4 cup cilantro or parsley
olive oil spray (optional)

  • Place the ball of pizza dough on a floured surface and roll out into desired shape. (Will be determined by your pan).  Place the dough onto parchment paper on baking sheet. Put it in a warm place and let sit covered with a kitchen towel.
  • Drain tofu and cut into small cubes.  Lay cubes on double paper towels, cover with another double layer and set something heavy on top. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a skillet and add tofu.  Stir and cook until lightly browned, breaking up the cubes into large crumbles with the spoon. Add a cup barbecue sauce and cook another couple of minutes.
  • Remove tofu and sauce into a small bowl and set aside. (don’t wash pan)
  • Chop tomatoes and cilantro and mince red onion.
  • Spray or brush pizza dough with olive oil, especially the edges. Spread 1 cup of tomato or barbecue sauce evenly over top.
  • Sprinkle cheeses over the top.
  • Top with tofu mixture, red onion and tomatoes.  Spray with olive oil (optional)
  • Cook at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the cheeses are browned and bubbling and the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with cilantro.
  • Slide pizza off of parchment paper onto serving platter or cutting board and cut into wedges or squares. Serve hot or room temperature

 

 

Meatless Monday – Eggplant Parm Minis

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“I enjoy cooking with wine and sometimes I put it in the food.” – Julia Child.

I’m not sure Julia Child would have appreciated Good Mother Diet as she was quite the meat lover and on her cooking show she was always throwing raw meat around or making raw chickens dance, but I can like her anyway as she was ground breaking in her approach to cooking.  She had a no nonsense approach in the kitchen and a great sense of humor.  In response to critics who thought she used too much butter,  she said “We should enjoy food and have fun. It is one of the simplest and nicest pleasures in life.”  I can certainly agree with her on that!

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Eggplant is considered one of the worlds healthiest foods and it has a meaty texture that makes it a good substitute for meat.  Globe eggplants, in particular, are best if they are salted and drained (known as “degorging”) before cooking, to soften them and to reduce the amount of fat absorbed during cooking.  Raw eggplant can absorb an incredible amount of oil which adds unnecessary calories and fat.  Eggplant is naturally low fat and low carb.   Salting also removes any bitterness from the eggplant.

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I spotted this eggplant recipe on Kalyns Kitchen and loved the simplicity.  It is inspired by Julia’s original recipe for what she calls Eggplant Pizza in her cookbook,  From Julia Child’s Kitchen.  Rather than making a traditional Eggplant Parmesan where the eggplant is breaded and fried before baking with layers of sauce and cheese, this version is grain free and brushed with olive oil and herbs before baking.  Slicing the eggplant into thick circles and making individual portions makes it very easy to serve.  I made this dish for a potluck where we needed to serve a lot of people, so I doubled the recipe. Needless to say, I came home with an empty platter!  I love a homemade sauce (and not just because it makes my kitchen smell divine) but you can skip that step and use any sauce you like from a jar as a shortcut.  I loved this recipe, which is not fussy but really delicious, and I will definitely make it again. Next time I’m hoping for leftovers!   Thanks Julia!

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Photo Credit:  http://www.werecommend.com

Eggplant Parm Minis

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 globe eggplant
1 T salt
2 T olive oil
2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
10 large basil leaves, cut in chiffonade strips
1/2 cup freshly Parmesan
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
red pepper flakes(optional)

Sauce:
1 Tbsn extra-virgin olive oil
3-4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with liquid (or 2 cups peeled and diced fresh tomatoes)
1/4 tsp. dried oregano (or1 Tbsn fresh oregano, minced)
1 Tbsn fresh basil, minced
salt and pepper to taste

  • Slice eggplant into 3/4 inch thick slices (trying to make them the same thickness to insure even cooking.) Put the eggplant pieces on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle both sides generously with salt. Let the eggplant sit with the salt on it for 20- 30 minutes to draw out the liquid.

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  • While the eggplant sits, make the sauce. Saute the garlic in olive oil until it becomes fragrant.  Add the tomatoes with the juice, oregano and basil and let it cook at a low simmer until it’s thickened.  You can break up the tomatoes with a fork as it softens to make the mixture more sauce like.

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  • After 20- 30 minutes, the eggplant slices should be dotted with drops of water and the paper towels wet.  Wipe the slices  dry with paper towels, which also removes most of the salt.

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  •  Coat the bottom of a baking pan with olive oil and arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer. Brush the tops of the eggplant with olive oil, and sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper.

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  • Roast the eggplant about 25 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

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  • Thinly slice the fresh basil into chiffonade strips.  This is easily done by stacking the leaves and slicing into thin strips.

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  •  Combine Parmesan and mozzarella. After 25 minutes remove eggplant from the oven. Spread a few tablespoons of sauce on the top of each eggplant slice.

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  • Place several slices of basil on each slice.

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  • Top with a generous amount of cheese and sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if using.

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  • Turn oven to broil and cook until cheese melts and is slightly browned.

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  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with more fresh basil, if desired

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Wheatless Wednesday – Quinoa Crust Pizza with Goat Cheese, Meyer Lemon and Basil

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QUINOA CRUST PIZZA – YOU HAD ME AT PIZZA!  Those that have been following GMD, know that I am in constant search of great pizza recipes, especially those whose ingredients stretch conventional thinking (read not white flour). My Meyer Lemon tree outside is still loaded with lemons and I now have two pounds of freshly made goat cheese (click HERE to learn how to make goat cheese which is surprisingly easy), so when I saw this recipe from Cafe Johnsonia using quinoa instead of white flour for the crust, I knew we had a new Wheatless Wednesday contender.  The quinoa crust is fantastic!  I really like it and will make it again and again.  Its less heavy than a cornmeal crust and has a great consistency.  In fact, I experimented with thick vs thin crust and think this recipe would also make a great cracker, so you may be seeing Quinoa Crackers in a post coming soon.

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You could top this pizza crust with your favorite toppings if lemon and goat cheese are not your thing.   It will hold up well, even with wet toppings like tomato sauce or heavy cheeses.   The combination of tangy goat cheese and tart meyer lemon, topped with fresh basil and shallots is a wonderful explosion of flavors.  If you want the same flavor combination but a less intense version, substitute strips of lemon zest in place of the lemons.  My favorite variation includes thinly sliced zucchini circles, garlic and lemon zest cooked with the lemon goat cheese, then topped with fresh basil, shallots (or scallions) and a handful of arugula.  Delish!

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Quinoa is one of the reigning superfoods, but do you know why?  According to Forbes, quinoa is one of the most protein rich foods available and has twice as much fiber as other grains.  It is rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron and vitamin B2 and gluten free.  Making a crust out of quinoa is not only way more nutritious than one out of white flour, it is easier as it doesn’t have to rise or be handled in any way.  The quinoa does have to soak for 8 hours or overnight but other than that, it only takes about 45 minutes and the prep is easy. For those that also like alternative pizzas, check out some others I have done in the past with good results:

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Margherita and Pesto Chicken Pizzas on White Whole Wheat Crust
Zucchini Crust Pizza with Grilled Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper

 

Quinoa Crust Pizza with Goat Cheese, Meyer Lemon and Basil

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 cup quinoa
water, for soaking and blending
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons avocado oil (or another high-heat oil)
5-6 ounces fresh goat cheese (chèvre)
1 Meyer lemon, very thinly sliced (seeds removed)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, thinly sliced
small handful fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
2 Tablespoons pine nuts ( toasted)
coarse ground black pepper
coarse sea salt
olive oil, for drizzling(optional)

  • Place quinoa in a medium bowl and cover with water by several inches. Let stand at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Drain the pre-soaked quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse well to remove the bitter saponins (a naturally occurring residue). Place in a food processor or blender with a little water (about ¼ cup), garlic clove, and salt. Puree until smooth. Add more water if needed. The mixture should be the consistency of thick pancake batter but still pourable.
  • Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet into the hot oven. Allow to heat for 5-10 minutes. Carefully add the 2 Tablespoons of oil to the skillet and heat for another 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven carefully. Tilt the pan to evenly distribute the hot oil. Make sure pan and oil are hot or quinoa will stick.

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  • Pour the batter into the center of the pan and tilt it to create an even layer on the bottom. Place back into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove pan from oven, turn crust over, and place back in oven for another 10. Remove from oven and transfer the crust to a pizza pan, if desired. (At this point you can also place it on a cooling rack and let it cool completely, then prepare the pizza at a later time.)
  •  Mix the goat cheese with the lemon juice. If the cheese is very crumbly, add a little milk or water to make it spreadable.

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  • Spread the cheese evenly over the crust. Layer the Meyer lemons evenly over the cheese.
  • Place in the 450 degree oven and let bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and turned golden, and the lemons are tender. (For a crispy top, place under the broiler for a few minutes.)
  • Remove from oven and top with the remaining toppings. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

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  • MY FAVORITE VARIATION:  For a less lemon intense pizza, replace lemon slices with lemon zest,  thin zucchini circles, and add a clove or two of garlic, that has been thinly sliced.  After cooking add a handful of arugula on top of the other ingredients.  Yum!

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Meatless Monday – Asparagus & Goat Cheese Tart

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Looking for a simple and quick appetizer?  It’s asparagus season and I wanted an appetizer that would show case this perennial spring favorite.  This tart  recipe which I adapted from HuffPoste Taste has only four ingredients plus olive oil and a few fresh herbs and spices.  It takes less than 10 minutes to assemble and about 12 minutes to cook.  Slice into squares and you have an elegant and sophisticated hors d’oeuvre to serve your guests.  This is a very forgiving appetizer which doesn’t have to be served piping hot.  It’s just as good at room temperature which makes it perfect for a dinner party.  Just make the tart ahead and it will sit and wait until you’re ready to serve.  You can also halve the recipe to make just one tart, which is enough for 2 to 4 people as an appetizer.

This is not a typical recipe for me since I try to avoid white flour, however, I was intrigued by it’s simplicity and wanted to give it a try.  I am a newbie to phyllo dough, which can be tricky to work with since it’s so thin and dries out quickly.  Just make sure everything is ready before you unwrap the phyllo dough.  Don’t worry if it rips as you handle it because the rips will be hidden within the layers.  This is a fairly thin crust (2 sheets of phyllo dough folded in half per tart), just enough to provide a beautiful backdrop for the asparagus and give a satisfying salty, crispy, crunch.  If you like a more substantial crust, just add more layers of phyllo.  Thin asparagus spears work better than thick which may not end up fully roasted when the phyllo is done.  If you don’t like goat cheese, substitute ricotta or gruyere.  Fresh herbs are a nice accompaniement but dried herbs will work just fine.  If you make it, let me know how it goes!

Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart

  • Servings: 2 thin 8x12 tarts
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

4 sheets phyllo pastry, thawed
1/4 cup olive oil
6 oz goat cheese (ricotta or gruyere)
1 bunch slender asparagus
2 Tbsn grated parmesan (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh thyme, rosemary and/or basil (optional)

 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Trim the asparagus spears to fit the width of the folded phyllo, leaving room for a one inch border on each side.  Toss asparagus with a drizzle of olive oil.

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  • Lay 2 sheets of phyllo dough on a baking sheet so half is hanging over the edge. Brush the half sheets of pastry in the pan with olive oil, and fold  the other halves, one at a time and brush each with oil.  Repeat with other 2 sheets of phyllo.  You should end up with 2 rectangles.  You may need two baking sheets if you don’t have a jumbo one like I do.
  • Crumble the goat cheese on top, leaving a border of pastry. Add the asparagus in rows.

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  • Season with salt, pepper, parmesan and fresh herbs, if using. Bake for 12 minutes, until the pastry is golden-crisp and the asparagus just tender.
  •  Top with freshly chopped or sliced basil, if desired.

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Wheatless Wednesday – Zucchini Crust Pizza with Grilled Eggplant & Roasted Red Pepper

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Are you ready for another wheat free pizza?  My sister, Sandy, knowing my quest for the world’s best (and healthy) pizza, sent me a recipe for pizza with zucchini crust she found from Seattle Local Food. I searched a few other recipes as well and  checked with my friend, Elizabeth, who has been making zucchini crust pizzas for her kids for years.  I came up with my own version ,which includes almond meal and herbs, but this was the inspiration.    I know we are just beginning to plant our zucchini seedlings now, but this could be the answer later this summer to the seemingly endless quantities of squash coming from the garden. It’s also a natural follow up to my Cauliflower Crust Pizza recipe.   So I decided to bite the bullet for all of us ahead of time (you’re welcome) and give it a try.  The results?  A resounding DELICIOUS!  The taste and texture of this pizza is fantastic, way better than I expected. It got a big thumbs up in my house!

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I topped my pizza with grilled eggplant, roasted red pepper, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil on a light bed of tomato sauce and shredded cheeses. If you want to make your own Marinara Sauce, I have provided the recipe below.  Other topping suggestions include, pesto, white sauce or olive oil and garlic instead of tomato sauce, sauteed mushrooms, carmelized onions, tomatoes, pepperoncini, olives, marinated artichoke hearts,goat cheese the list goes on…   All raw vegetables need to be pre-cooked though so they don’t release more moisture into the pizza crust and make it soggy.  I don’t think you will have any leftover pizza, but it can be reheated in a heavy pan on low.

Pizza with Zucchini Crust

  • Servings: 1 pizza that serves 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Zucchini Crust Pizza14 
2 eggs
About 3 8′”zucchinis
1.5 cups grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup almond meal
salt
Fresh or dry oregano
Fresh basil leaves
1 Japanese  or small globe eggplant
1 roasted red pepper, sliced
1 ball fresh mozzarella
  •  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

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  •  Grate the zucchini.(food processor is easiest but any method works fine)  Put shreds into a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for about 10 minutes.   Don’t worry about too much salt as most of the salt goes out with the liquid (Do not skip this step!)

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  • Slice the eggplant vertically into thin slices.  Sprinkle with salt, again to bring out the liquid and let sit 10 minutes.
  • Toss eggplant with olive oil and grill on both sides.  Set aside

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  • Put a clean kitchen cloth over a clean bowl and pour zucchini shreds into the cloth.  Squeeze cloth to get rid of as much excess liquid as possible.

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  • In a mixing bowl, add zucchini, parmesan, almond meal, eggs and fresh or dry spices (except fresh basil).  Mix together until evenly combined.

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  • Place a piece of parchment paper over a pizza stone or a baking sheet.  Pour the zucchini mixture onto the middle and spread into a circle about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick.  Use your hands and fingers to even out the edges.

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  • Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown..

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  • Top with sauce, eggplant, shredded cheese, fresh mozareella, peppers and fresh oregano.  Bake 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  • Sprinkle with fresh basil.  Slice with a pizza wheel.  Serve immediately.

Marinara Sauce

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsn fresh basil, finely chopped
1 Tbsn fresh or 1 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsn olive oil
½ tsp salt
1 tsp balsamic vinegar <
  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan and saute garlic for a few minutes.  Add basil and crushed tomatoes and stir to combine.
  • Bring to a boil and add salt.  Simmer about 45 minutes.
  • Before serving add balsamic vinegar and stir to combine
 

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Margherita and Pesto Chicken Pizzas on White Whole Wheat Crust

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Pizzas

WHAT?  PIZZA CRUST MADE WITH WHITE WHOLE WHEAT?  ISN’T THAT A MISNOMER? I AM ON THE HUNT FOR THE PERFECT HEALTHY PIZZA…

What is white whole wheat? I have only recently heard about white whole wheat flour, which is reported to retain the nutrients as a whole grain flour but be lighter in look and flavor.  Standard whole wheat flour is made using red wheat which is darker in color and makes a heavy whole grain flour or requires lots of processing to make into white flour By contrast, white whole wheat flour is made with albino wheat which is an entirely different variety. This type of wheat grain has a lighter hue and requires much less processing to produce a flour that is more similar to bleached  white flour.

I was not able to find white whole wheat flour locally, so ordered it online from www.kingarthurflour.com.  Since ordering though, I have noticed that Trader Joe’s carries the King Arthur brand.  As a pizza lover who is trying to avoid ‘empty’ carbs (those made with white flour), I decided to make a couple of pizzas and see how it goes. I used the King Arthur recipe, which is dairy free and 100% whole grain. Most whole grain recipes call for less than a third whole grain and are mostly white flour. I thought the pizza turned out pretty well but after reading comments about homemade pizza have decided to invest in a pizza stone (for next time) which gives a crispier crust.  It is not quite as light and crusty as white flour pizza crust but it is less dense and doesn’t have the slightly bitter taste that whole wheat sometimes gives baked goods.  I will definitely make it again and roll it even thinner next time –  but I have a few more whole grain recipes so will keep testing…

Pesto Chicken PizzaMargherita pizza

This recipe makes one large or two small pizzas.  I cut my dough in half and topped one with olive oil, garlic fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and fresh basil.  I topped the finished pizza with more basil and fresh greens.  The second pizza I topped with pesto, sliced cooked chicken, shredded mozzarella, red peppers and scallions. I followed the recipe and found it nice to make the dough the night before and just roll it out and les it rise before game time. Makes a great halftime appetizer.  Just glad my team won!

White Whole Wheat Pizza

Ingredients

  • 3 cups      King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour or King Arthur 100% Organic White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2      teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4      teaspoons salt
  • 2      tablespoons honey
  • 2      tablespoons lukewarm orange juice
  • 2      tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water

Tips from King Arthur bakers

  • What’s  with the orange juice in this recipe? No, it doesn’t make your pizza taste like oranges; but it does mitigate the somewhat tannic flavor whole wheat can sometimes have. Substitute water if desired.
  • Can you use traditional red wheat flour in this recipe? Absolutely; your crust will be darker, and more assertively flavored due to red wheat’s stronger  taste.
  • Researchers managed to increase antioxidants to their highest level by baking pizza crust at 500°F. However, since some readers have ovens that won’t heat that hot; and since baking at 500°F can be a little tricky (the time difference between perfect and burned becomes very short), we’ve chosen a slightly more moderate baking temperature: 450°F

1) Combine all of the ingredients, and allow to rest for 30 minutes; this gives the whole wheat flour a chance to absorb the liquid.

2) Mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a smooth, soft dough.

3) Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover it, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Refrigerate overnight, or for about 18 hours; a bit longer is fine. Handy schedule: Make pizza dough at 8 p.m., and refrigerate until 4 p.m. the next day. Shape, let rise for 2 hours, and bake at 6 p.m.

4) Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Pat it into a lightly greased half-sheet pan (18″ x 13″) that’s been drizzled with olive oil. This will make a thick-crust, Sicilian-style pizza, one that’s thick enough to undergo the long bake at a high temperature necessary to optimize its antioxidants.

Pizza dough

5) Brush the dough with sauce, if desired; and top with your favorite cooked toppings: cooked vegetables, and/or cooked or smoked meats. Don’t add the cheese yet. Cover the pizza, and let it rise for about 2 hours, or until it’s very puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 450°F.

Margarite Pizza uncooked Chicken Pesto Pizza uncooked

6) Bake the pizza on the bottom shelf of the oven for 8 minutes, then remove it from the oven and top with cheese, if desired.

7) Replace the pizza on a shelf in the upper third of the oven. Bake for an additional 6 to 8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust browned.

8) Remove the pizza from the oven, let rest for about 5 minutes (for the cheese to settle), and serve right away. If not serving right away, transfer the pizza to racks to cool, so the bottoms stay crisp.

Yield: about 16 slices.

Pizzas

 

 

 

Meatless Monday – Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

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Cauliflower Pizza

Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Mushrooms and Carmelized Onions

Yes, a pizza crust made with cauliflower!  Much to my carb fearing husband’s dismay, I really like pizza.  He actually likes it too but not what it does to his waistline.  I, however, can’t resist.  I love deep dish, thin crust, thick crust, flat bread, you name it.  So I was very excited to stumble upon this recipe for pizza made with a flour free crust in the “Vegetarian Everyday” cookbook (by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl).  The recipe calls for cauliflower which sounds completely crazy but I couldn’t wait to try it out. I was not disappointed.  The crust also includes ground almonds, which I have learned can be used for half of the flour in most baking and cooking recipes.  Almond flour and almond meal are interchangeable in recipes.  Almond flour is made from peeled, blanched almonds while almond meal includes the skin. I used almond meal that I found easily at Trader Joes.  “It is gluten free.  Half a cup of ground almonds contains 10 grams of carbohydrates, 6 of which are fiber, for a net carb count of 4.  That half cup also contains 10 grams of protein, 23 grams of fat and 273 calories” (www.about.com).  Compare that with 1/2 cup white flour which has 47.7 grams of carbohydrates, 1.7 grams of fiber, 6.5 grams protein, .61 grams of fat and 228 calories.  Since almond meal is nutrient rich but also calorie dense, combining it with cauliflower makes for a nutritious, low carb and surprisingly yummy pizza.

Pizza Crust
1 head cauliflower
¾ cup ground almonds (almond flour or almond meal)
1Tbsp dried oregano
3 large eggs, beaten
Pizza Toppings
 
1 medium onion
1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 oz mixed mushrooms (crimini, portobello, etc)
¼ cup olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup any combination shredded cheeses (mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, asiago, provolone )
  • Chop garlic and place in a small bowl with the olive oil and let sit to blend the flavors while you prepare the crust.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper.
  • Roughly chop the cauliflower then blend it in a food processor until it’s a fine rice-like texture.
  • Measure 3 cups of the cauliflower mixture and place in a mixing bowl.  Add the ground almonds, oregano and salt and pepper and mix with your hands.  Make a well in the center and add the eggs.  Use your hands to pull the dry ingredients towards the middle until everything is combined and you can shape it into a ball.  It should be more loose and sticky than traditional pizza dough.
  • Transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet or pizza pan and form into a pizza shape by flattening the dough with your hands.  Make the edges slightly higher.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.

Cauliflower Pizza crust

  • While the crust is baking. Slice the onion and saute the slices over medium high heat in 1 Tbsp olive oil mixture until golden, keeping the rings intact.  Flip them like pancakes to cook the other side.  Break the rings apart and add a splash of balsamic vinegar.  Saute a few more minutes, then remove from pan and reserve
  • Wipe the mushrooms with a damp papertowel and slice. Sautee them over medium high heat in 1 Tbsp olive oil mixture for a few minutes, or until they start to lose their water. Remove from pan and reserve.

Mushrooms and onions

  • Remove the pizza from the oven.  Spoon the remaining olive oil mixture over the pizza crust, spreading evenly. Add most of the cheeses then top with onions and mushrooms. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.
  •  Return to the oven for 5-10 more minutes. Serve immediately. Does not reheat well.

Cauliflower Pizza