Primal Cauliflower Crusted Hawaiian Pizza

Pizza

This crust is unbeatable.

Have you ever played that game where you list the top 5 foods that you would bring to a deserted island? (And yes, you already have water and razors and toilet paper…) I like this game because it shows you how dynamic your tastebuds are and which foods remain a constant favorite. For me, one of these steadfast items has to be pizza. Pizza ranks quite high on my guilty pleasure list, right next to “Everything bagels”, “The Braxton Family Values” and pumpkin spiced lattes.

Oh Tamar, you are sooo crazy.

Oh Tamar, you are sooo crazy.

That being said, I wouldn’t say that I am a pizza connoisseur. In fact, before I turned the Paleo leaf, my go-to pizza was a frozen Digorno Supreme pizza.  It was pretty simple, I liked that the crust wasn’t too greasy, it was always hot and the toppings tasted fresh (ish).

Then paleo entered my life and it was all smiles and almond butter for the first couple of weeks, until one Friday around 6 pm. As I walked past the Crazy Dough Pizza shop to my commuter rail station, I found myself walking slower and slower just to get a full inhale of the delicious smells.  It was then that I decided there must be an alternative…and so the quest began.

Follow that smell!

Follow that smell!

Lets just fast forward through all of the faileo attempts at recreating this masterpiece of a dish.

“But, you have you try this almond flour crust” one blogger would say (fail),

and “The New improved coconut flour pizza crust” (fail),

and “Finally, coconut and almond flour crust that you can really eat with your hands” (fail).

It was after ingesting several of these clumpy, moist pizzas that SB and I gave up and started to make my Portobello pizzas on the regular. Now, if I’m being honest, those are good…but they aren’t pizza. The problem with mushrooms is that they don’t have that sort of crispy base that contrasts the toppings.

So, without further adieu, I present my Hawaiian version of a Cauliflower Pizza Crust. This recipe has been heavily influenced by the version over at  Detoxinista. I highly recommend her blog- she is so creative and has answered my prayers to the Pizza Gods with this invention.

Try this recipe, you will not be sorry.

Reagents:

Crust:

  • 1 head of cauliflower (the larger the cauliflower, the larger the crust)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella, organic
  • 1 tbsp dried italian herbs (i’ve tried fresh herbs here (basil, parsley) and they tend to make the mix more wet and lead to a less crispy, but more flavorable end product…so use your preference)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, depending on your spice level

Pizza toppings:

  • Lower carb pizza sauce (we use Rao’s but feel free to sub in homemade or just fresh tomatoes or sans nightshades if you prefer)
  • Shredded mozzarella, organic (enough to cover the top)
  • Canadian bacon (no nitrates), chopped
  • Fresh or frozen pineapple, chopped (if frozen, let thaw and the drain to reduce the excess water)
  • Other ideas: sausage, peppers, olives, zucchini, prosciutto, etc

Protocol:

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF and set aside a pot of water to boil (large enough to accommodate ~4 cups of cauliflower).
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  • Rinse your cauliflower and chop it into large florets.
  • Pulse the cauliflower in your food processor until it’s about the size of rice (you can actually use this as a substitute for rice in stir fry and it is amazing), you may have to do this in several batches if your food processor is not large enough to accommodate.
2013-09-14 18.07.54

“Riced” cauliflower

  • Place the cauli-rice into the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Pour cooked cauli-rice into a fine strainer, rinse with cool water and allow to sit for a couple minutes.
  • Take a large spoon or spatula and press on the cauli-rice to try and expel more water.
2013-09-14 18.16.25

Strain excess water

  • Now, here comes the genius part. Scoop the strained cauli-rice into the middle of a clean cheese cloth (or if you are grubby like me any ole’ tea towel will do- maybe that nice Halloween one your mom sent you with ghosts on it?) gather up the ends of the tea towel and then twist the towel around the cauli mix to squeeze out all remaining liquid.
  • Bonus, this really works your biceps.
  • Remember, the more liquid you get out, the crispier the crust. This step is also why I also recommend rinsing your cooked cauli with cool water, if not your hands get scalded while twisting.
  • Keep twisting until your cauli looks like the pic below, should almost resemble a paste.
Drain in cloth to get ride of even more excess water

Drain in cloth to get ride of even more excess water

  • Now you are ready to assemble all of the ingredients into a separate bowl.
Cauli crust ingredients

Cauli crust ingredients

  • Mix ingredients altogether with hands, making sure everything is fully incorporated.
  • Press the mixture into a crust-like shape onto your parchment-lined pan.
  • TIP- the thinner the crust, the crispier. Try to make it the crust as smooth as possible so it cooks evenly.
  • I would hypothesize this crust is somewhere between a 1/3-1/2 inch wide
Form into a nice even and thin rectangle

Form into a nice even and thin rectangle

  • Bake crust at 350ºF for 30-40 minutes, you know it’s done when it starts to brown like this.
Crust is done when you see it start to brown

Crust is done when you see it start to brown

  • Remove crust from oven and place sauce, cheese and any other toppings.
  • Place back in oven for 10-ish minutes to let the cheese melt.
  • Can also flip the broiler on HIGH for a few minutes to get make the cheese nice and bubbly.

At this point, you may be thinking to yourself OMG, this is so much work…mult bowls, mult cooking, 1+hour cook time?!!?

Key to cooking: Find a friend who enjoys doing dishes

Key to cooking: Find a friend who enjoys doing dishes

  • So, to save time, make two batches of the cooked cauli-rice. Drain each and use one immediately and place one in a freezer bag for future enjoyment.
This will come in handy on a spur of the moment date night!

This will come in handy on a spur of the moment date night!

  • Last, but not least, enjoy!!!
Voila!

Voila!

Photo links:

7 thoughts on “Primal Cauliflower Crusted Hawaiian Pizza

  1. Can I cook the crust and use later? Today it would be cook the crust about 1:00 and put toppings on and bake again @ 5:30 tonight.

    • Hi Katy, I think for sure you could try this. I have reheated mine (toppings and all) and it has come out OK. It might be a little less crispy since it’s sat for awhile (presumably in the fridge where moisture can accumulate) but since you are cooking it again, I think it should work out. One thing would be to make sure it cools after the first cooking, since putting hot things in the fridge can lead to more condensation. Let me know how it goes. What are your toppings???

  2. Yum! I must retry this and cook the cauliflower this time. I didn’t but did strain the crap out of it but it still was probably too wet. yours looks yummy!!

    • I can’t wait to see if this works for you- this is a very tricky recipe because I think cooking the cauliflower makes it soft enough so that it will stick together but then it has to be dry enough not to be clumpy. Also, the size of the cauliflower matters I think, if it’s a really big one (twss) then you might want to add in an additional egg to help it stick together. Finally, the thinner you can press this crust out the crispier it gets. As for prepping two at a time and freezing one, I just used one from the freezer this weekend and it saved a ton of time, I just defrosted and then strained again in the tea towel. :D Going to check out your blog now!

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