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

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Zucchini Crust Pizza1

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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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