Cauliflower Crust Pizza

In true Portland Fashion, some of the best pizza in the city is served up on gluten free/healthy-ish crusts. This is a fairly new concept for me and to be honest it took me a little while to be comfortable with the idea. You're talking to a girl who would have a personal pan pizza after school most days of the week, whose favorite lunchable was the mini pizza's, and whose first job was at Luigi's, the local pizza parlor. Point being, I'm obsessed with pizza. However now that I'm older and a little more health conscious I love that you can use alternative ingredients to make some of your favorite junk foods a little more healthy. 

The first time I went to Dove Vivi in NE Portland I was blown away. Not only did they have amazing toppings like house-made fennel sausage and roasted eggplant, but they also use stone ground cornmeal for the crust which leaves you feeling less bloated than normal crust made with bleached flour. It got my wheels turning on how we could make a healthy-ish pizza at home and that's how our cauliflower crust was born! I know there's a ton of different recipes floating around on the internet for cauliflower crust, but we wanted one that would be sturdy enough to be picked up just like a normal slice of pizza. Now we can indulge guilt free on a Friday night and feel a little better about grabbing that last beer out of the fridge. It's all about the balance ;)


Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Ingredients 
Crust
-1 large head of cauliflower
-1/2 cup almond meal
-1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour
-1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-1 tsp salt
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper
(it would be great to add in herbs into the crust like fresh rosemary and thyme! we just kept it plain this time) 

Toppings
-Whatever your little heart desires! We did the first pizza with Ricotta, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, topped with arugula and balsamic glaze. The second pizza had traditional pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil, baked in the oven and then topped with thinly slice prosciutto, arugula, red onion, and freshly grated parmesan cheese. 

what to do
1) Heat oven to 350°F. Start with cleaning a head of cauliflower. Toss the florets into a blender and pulse to create cauliflower rice. You might have to work in batches for this. 
2) Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the cauliflower until al dente, about 2 to 3 minutes. Line a strainer with a cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel and pour the cauliflower into the strainer. Rinse with cold water, then press out all of the water. Spin the cheesecloth or towel and hold tight just above the cauliflower. Make sure you squeeze all of the water out. This step is super important for a good crust.
3) In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower with the almond meal, flour, olive oil, salt, baking powder, and pepper mixing well with your hands to combine.
4) Spread the dough onto a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper. Form the crust with your fingers, shaping the dough. Then toss it in the oven and let it bake for about 20 minutes. Flip it over at the half-way mark that way you can get it crispy on both sides. 

-Pizza 1: Spread a layer of ricotta cheese on the top of the crust, top with caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms and ricotta cheese. Pop in the oven to heat through and once it's out of the oven then top with arugula and drizzle with balsamic glaze. 
-Pizza 2: Spread a layer of pizza sauce on top of the crust, top with shredded mozzarella and fresh basil. Bake in the over until cheese is starting to brown and bubble. Top with arugula, thinly sliced prosciutto, red onion and parmesan cheese.