Cauliflower crusts for pizzas are all the rage. Whether you're looking to decrease your carb intake or eliminate gluten from your diet all together, this vegetarian base is your friend. While there's no way to make a cauliflower crust behave like a classic flour crust, there are secrets to making it just as delicious.
First off, it needs proper seasoning with salt and pepper and a generous amount of Parmesan cheese to give the crust its own distinct flavor. Second, you need to squeeze as much liquid as possible from the cooked cauliflower (see instructions below) so the crust can crisp up. Third, be sure not to overload the crust with too much sauce or too many ingredients; they'll overwhelm the delicate texture of an otherwise tempting cauliflower crust.
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup almond flour (or other flour of your choice)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
Preheat an oven to 425 F.
Cut the cauliflower into evenly sized florets. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the cauliflower, and cook until very tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and spread onto a cutting board, a large plate, or a sheet pan to cool. You can steam the cauliflower, if you prefer.
While the cauliflower cools, peel and mince the garlic.
Once the cauliflower is cool, mash it. Do this with a potato masher, a ricer, a large fork, or pulse it in a food processor. The key is to break it down as much as possible without turning it into a purée.
Transfer the mashed, riced, or pulsed cauliflower onto a large clean kitchen towel or several layers of cheesecloth. Pick up the corners of the cloth and then all the sides, gather into a bundle and twist to start squeezing the liquid out of the cauliflower. Twist and wring as much as you can—the more liquid you squeeze out now, the crispier and more crust-like the final product will be.
Transfer the squeezed cauliflower to a large bowl. Add the garlic, egg, cheese, flour, salt, pepper, and oregano, if using. Stir to mix thoroughly.
Put a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Dump the cauliflower mixture on top and spread into a 14-inch disk.
Bake until golden all over and starting to brown on the edges, around 35 minutes.
Optional: For a more solid crust, lift the parchment off the pan and flip the crust off and onto the pan, so the bottom side is now facing up. Return to the oven for 10 minutes.
Top the crust with sauce—not too much, or it will get soggy soggy—and cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes.
No matter what toppings you choose, remember that a cauliflower crust is more tender and delicate than a traditional flour crust; too much sauce or "wet" ingredients on top will load the crust down and risk it becoming mushy.
- Add a handful of already-sauteed mushrooms on top of the standard version.
- Keep the tomato sauce skimpy, add an even sprinkle of mozzarella, and top with slices of pepperoni.
- Use pesto instead traditional tomato sauce; top with the cheese of your choice and a scattering of pine nuts.
- Skip the sauce entirely: spread a layer of shredded mozzarella and a bit of Parmesan. When it comes out of the oven, add several slices of prosciutto and a handful of wild arugula leaves.