A few days ago I gave a nutrition presentation called, “Eating Well at Home and On-The-Go.” During the presentation I discussed some simple food substitutions to use when making lower-calorie versions of the audience’s favorite dishes.
For instance, you can substitute one large egg with ANY of these ingredients → ½ a mashed banana, 1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce, 3 Tbsp of peanut butter, 1 Tbsp flax seed+3 Tbsp water, or ¼ cup Greek yogurt
My other favorite, healthy substitutions for fatty or starchy foods include Greek yogurt, avocados, and… cauliflower.
How can you use cauliflower as a substitution?
It’s simple. Use mashed cauliflower to replace ½ of the cheese or cream in recipes. Mashed cauliflower has a similar texture to mashed potatoes, but it is sweeter and lighter than a potato. It adds a creaminess to sauces and stews, especially if you want to take out some of the fat.
I bet you never guessed that you can also replace cauliflower with all-purpose flour. The best part about replacing cauliflower with flour in pizza dough is that the words rhyme!
The replacement of flour with vegetables in pizza dough makes the pizza gluten-free. Gluten is the main protein found in items like wheat, rye, barley, and any foods containing those grains. This recipe is perfect for people who cannot tolerate gluten. You can read more about a gluten-free diet in my blog’s nutrition section. Just click here.
Gluten consists of 2 compounds called glutenin and gliadin. Glutenin is responsible for the elasticity of bread and doughs, while gliadin allows dough to stretch. The problem is that cauliflower doesn’t have this type of protein. In order to make pizza using cauliflower, you will have to add binders to the dough in order for the cauliflower pieces stick together. That’s why this recipe is cheesy!
(And not because of my rhyming jokes).
The cheese will melt all over the cauliflower pieces, and make it so that the dough stays together. I also added some eggs to this recipe, just in case the melted cheese didn’t work. The eggs will add structure, and solidify the texture of the pizza crust.
My inspiration for this recipe came from one of the presentation participants. This person asked if I ever had cauliflower pizza. I’ve only tried it once, but I’ve never made it myself. Now that I’ve made it, I can tell you that it’s a delicious and nutritious substitute for regular pizza dough! Ready to try it yourself?
For the cauliflower pizza dough:
- 1 medium-sized head of cauliflower
- 8 oz mozzarella cheese
- 4 oz pepper jack cheese
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley
- 2 eggs
Cut the stalks off of the cauliflower, and throw them away. Put the cauliflower pieces into a food processor or blender. Grind the pieces in the blending apparatus as much as possible.
I recommend doing this part in a blender, as opposed to a food processor. You will be adding water to the blend in the next step, and unfortunately water tends to leak out of a food processor. I don’t have a heavy duty blender, so I learned this fact the hard way!
Stop grinding the cauliflower and add water to the blender. Pulse the cauliflower into a fine texture as much as possible. Repeat this process until all of the cauliflower is completely ground.
Transfer the cauliflower into a strainer. Press the cauliflower with a spoon to get rid of the water. You must do your best to dry the cauliflower completely, otherwise the dough will be too wet (again, I learned this the hard way). You may want to transfer the strained cauliflower to a baking sheet. You can lay it flat, and press it with paper towels.
Make the rest of the recipe while the cauliflower is drying.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Rinse your blender or food processor and dry it completely. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor. Mix the items until the cheese is finely ground, and the eggs are fully incorporated.
Transfer this mixture into a large bowl. Add the dried cauliflower to the bowl. Stir the items until all of the components are mixed together, and the wetness from the eggs is coats all parts of the cauliflower.
Place parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Put the cauliflower dough on top of the parchment paper, and shape it into a round circle. This will mimic the appearance of pizza dough. The thickness of the dough should be about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch.
Here’s the trickiest part of all- knowing how long the pizza dough needs to bake. When I made this recipe, I took the pizza out of the oven way too early. This is because I didn’t allow the cauliflower to dry completely. While the top of the pizza dough was cooked, the bottom of the dough was wet and raw.
The dough is finished when it looks dark brown in color, and it maintains its shape when you cut into it.
Start by cooking the dough for 30 minutes. If it doesn’t look finished, check back every 10 minutes after that. I would say it needs an hour of cooking time at most.
Once the pizza dough looks finished, you may add any toppings you like. Bake the pizza in the oven for an extra 10 to 15 minutes, or until the toppings are set onto the pizza. I put some sauce, spinach, and cheese on top of mine.
Let the pizza cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Carefully cut the pizza into 8 slices.
You will likely need a fork to eat this pizza. I’d love to hear your ideas of how to be able to eat it with your hands!
I made a few mistakes when making this recipe, but this blog is about exploring your inner baker. I personally wound up leaving the pie in the oven with the toppings for a longer amount of time to make sure that the dough was fully cooked. I also cut the pie into eighths when I put it back in the oven. I was still able to bake this right on my first try, which means you can, too!
And you know what? The results were outstanding. Enjoy!
Categories: Vegetable Mania