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16 April 2015

Cauliflower Crust Pizza


It may take a little bit more time and effort to prepare than ordinary pizza, but honestly; cauliflower crust pizza is one of the nicest things I have ever made and eaten. I know, I know, quite a claim!

I was a bit sceptical at first - not because I was worried about the taste (I love cauliflower) but I thought it was going to be really complicated to make. But actually, although it does take a while to prepare, it's not technically difficult at all.

This is my recipe adapted and inspired by various cauliflower crust pizza recipes I have found on blogs, cookery websites and in food magazines - I did my fair bit of research! 


So, I hear some of you asking, why should you bother making this instead of normal, dough-based pizza? Well firstly, as I mentioned in my healthy living post earlier this week I am cutting out bread as much as I can, and this is a great option if you're a bit bored of resorting to gluten-free pizza bases all the time. Secondly, because it tastes flippin' yummy. At the first mouthful, it's slightly odd as it doesn't taste like the pizza you're used to... But then as you begin to experience all the flavours together, you realise that it is a completely new and gorgeous thing you have created! 

Feel free to do your own thing when it comes to toppings; we often go with a use-what-you've-got-in-the-fridge approach...

Ingredients
1 cauliflower
A handful of ground almonds - around 60g or so
2 eggs
1 tbsp oregano
4 tbsp tomato puree
2tsp dried mixed herbs
125g ball buffalo mozzarella
1 red onion
1 pepper
A handful of fresh basil
Optional toppings - mushrooms, sweetcorn, aubergine etc.

Equipment
Food processor
Microwave
Cling film
Clean tea towel
Baking tray, lined and greased 
Baking tray for vegetables

1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas mark 6. Cut your cauliflower into small chunks, and blitz in a food processor until finely chopped. (Funny story - our food processor basically stopped working the last time I did this, so we had to help it out a bit and aid with the chopping. The pizza still turned out absolutely fine, so don't panic if you have a similar situation) Try not to puree the cauliflower if you can! Pop it into the microwave once it's blitzed, cover with cling film and blast until it is soft, about 5-6 mins on high.

2. This is the important bit which some recipes leave out... Once your cauliflower has cooled a little, tip it out onto a clean tea towel. (Maybe don't use your favourite Emma Bridgewater one, as it may smell a bit cauliflowery afterwards). Fold/scrunch up the tea towel so it looks a bit like a bindle, carry it over to a sink/draining board, and squeeze out all the water you possibly can - give it a good few goes. You can then transfer the cauliflower back into your bowl.

3. Add to the cauliflower the ground almonds, eggs, oregano, lots of seasoning and stir together. Start transferring your cauliflower mix onto your lined baking tray; make a mound in the middle, and spread it out with the back of a spoon. You want it to be about 1-2cm thick. If you can, make a slight ridge at the edge with your fingers so you have a crust. Put in the oven for roughly 15 minutes, so it starts to turn golden and crisp at the edges.

4. It's time to start preparing the topping! Chop up your red onion and pepper, and place on a baking tray in the oven with some olive oil drizzled on top. Then, mix together your tomato puree with approx 1 tbsp water as well as the dried mixed herbs. 

5. Once the cauliflower crust has started to crisp a bit, take it out of the oven and spread your tomato sauce over the base, then add your sliced mozzarella, and your onion and pepper which have been gently roasting. If you're using extra toppings, don't forget to put those on too. Put the pizza back in the oven for another 10-15 mins, until the cheese starts to bubble and it all looks good enough to eat!

6. Once the pizza's done, tear your fresh basil and sprinkle over the top. It goes beautifully with raw spinach or green salad - but you do need a knife and fork for this pizza.

And there you have it: pizza which is gorgeous, better for you than the thick, bready stuff you get in the supermarket, and is bound to impress your housemates/partner/family when you whip this up for them at the weekend.

Enjoy scoffing your faces!
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