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.
- 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.
- 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.