Healthiest Pizza: Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Garlic Scape Pesto & Fungi
Did somebody say healthy pizza? Yes puhlease.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good gluten-free pizza dough but I often crave lighter foods in the summer and I’m always looking for ways to eat more vegetables and this cauliflower crust pizza (it’s kinda like a flatbread) hits the spot!
Cauliflower is an impressive cruciferous vegetable in the Brassica fam. Nutritionally it packs a punch being high in fiber, vitamin C and K, folate and many other vitamins and minerals. It also provides a significant amount of antioxidants, which are beneficial for reducing inflammation and protective against chronic diseases. Cauliflower is rich in sulforaphane, an extensively studied antioxidant plant compound with many beneficial effects, linked to reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. In addition to all it’s goodness it’s also just delicious and an easy grain replacement allowing us to get more vegetables into our diets.
Let your creativity run wild with options for toppings. I love fungi so these local chantrelles and hen of the wood mushrooms were perfect and it’s also garlic scape season! If you can’t find garlic scapes, consider making your pesto with ramps, basil and garlic, kale and basil – there are lots of options.
- 1 whole medium cauliflower, riced
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 3 tbsp flax meal or chia meal (egg replacement)
- 4-6 tbsp water
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
Sunflower Seed Garlic Scape Pesto:
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (you can also try walnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds!)
- 1 cup garlic scapes
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 lemon juice & zest
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley
- 1-2 cups mixed Chantrelle, Hen of the Wood mushrooms
- 1-2 tsp coconut or grapeseed oil
- Nut cheese, optional
- Nasturtium, to top
- Start by preparing your cauliflower rice. To rice your cauliflower you can either do it by hand with knife or in a food processor, which is faster. De-stem all cauliflower to make florets. Place cauliflower florets in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the “S” blade and pulse until a rice-like texture is created. If you are doing this by hand, continue to finely chop your cauliflower florets down until they resemble a rice texture.
- Place your riced cauliflower in a sauce pot, add enough water to cover the cauliflower (you don’t need extra as it will take longer to boil) and set on stove top. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and let cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Drain liquid and transfer your cauliflower rice to a freezer-safe bowl. Place cauliflower rice in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 400F
- While cauliflower is in freezer, mix together 2 tbsp flax meal with 3 tbsp water to create a thick egg-replacer. Set aside.
- After 10 minutes, remove cauliflower rice from freezer, transfer to a nut milk bag and squeeze out all water and moisture.
- Place drained cauliflower rice in a large bowl and add: almond meal, sea salt, cumin, garlic powder, flax egg and additional tbsp of flax meal. Add up to 3 more tbsp of water if needed and mix well to incorporate.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Press your cauliflower crust mixture into the parchment-lined baking sheet. Press well and ensure there are no thin areas. If the crust doesn’t fill the entire sheet don’t worry and just create a wabi-sabi shape. Keep the crust about ¼ inch thick. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes, top and sides will be golden brown.
- Now you can prepare your pesto while your crust bakes! Prepare and place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high. Adding a bit of water if necessary if the pesto is too think. Set aside.
- After 30 minutes, remove from oven and with an additional piece of parchment paper on top of the crust, bravely and confidently flip the crust around to cook the other side/
- Return to oven to cook flipped side for 15 minutes.
- Prepare your pizza toppings: Dust off any dirt from your mushrooms and chop them up, I like to leave them fairly large in size as they will cook down
- Place 1-2 tsp coconut or grapeseed oil in a fry pan on the stove top. Heat to medium. Add mushrooms and ½ cup parsley and sauté for 5-7 minutes. Remember the mushrooms will cook a bit more in the oven.
- After 15 minutes remove your cauliflower pizza crust and it is now ready to be topped!
- Place pesto on the surface of you’re your crust, I used a good thick layer. Then add your sautéed mushrooms and parsley, spread over crust and pesto evenly. Top with nut cheese if you have.
- Place back in oven to cook for 5-10 minutes
- Top with fresh nasturtium, parsley, herbs and anything else you please!