Whether you're avoiding gluten or just trying to get your family to eat more veggies, this Gluten Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust is sure to become a new favorite.
It's not that I have any issue with gluten (clearly, as you can see on this blog), but after editing my fair share of gluten-free cookbooks, most of which call for extensive lists of hard-to-find ingredients like xanthan gum and sorghum flour, I knew there had to be an easier and less expensive way for gluten-free pizza enthusiasts to have their pie . . . and eat it, too.
Plus, a crust made with familiar ingredients like cauliflower, cheese, and egg has a very healthy ring to it, even if you do plan to smother it with more cheese and pepperoni.
For my first attempt at gluten-free, obscure-ingredient-free pizza crust, I chose cauliflower as my base, and I patched together a recipe based on this one at EatingWell and this one at Detoxinista. The dough seems suspiciously crumbly at first, but have faith! The finished crust will hold up to just about any combination of toppings.
You will definitely notice the difference in taste between this yellow, dense crust and the airier ones achieved with flour and yeast. Its flavor is earthy and a little sweet, and though vegetal hints sneak through, you won't think of it as just another dose of vegetables (unless you want to, of course).
How to Make Gluten-Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust
1. Use a food processor to break down the cauliflower
First, cut out the stem and core of the cauliflower head (save it for other meals), break the florets into small pieces, and place them in a food processor. Pulse just until the cauliflower looks like fluffed cooked couscous. (This is cauliflower rice.)
2. Cook the cauliflower, squeeze out as much liquid as you can, and mix it with the other ingredients
The cooking and squeezing in this step ensures that there is as little liquid as possible in the dough so it will hold together when it bakes.
3. Press out the dough and parbake for 30 minutes
After your cauliflower is cooked, squeezed, and combined with the cheeses, egg, and seasonings, you'll need to form it into a pizza crust shape. Place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then use your fingers and palms (oiled if necessary) to press it out evenly. Depending on the size of your cauliflower head and how much liquid you were able to squeeze out, you should be able to press the dough out into a 10- to 12-inch circle. Bake for 30 minutes at 400°F, until the cauliflower pizza crust is golden and firm to the touch.
4. Top the cauliflower pizza crust and bake
Next, remove the pizza crust from the oven and add whatever toppings you like. Since the cauliflower crust is thinner and less structured than regular wheat crusts, it's best to go light on the toppings. I generally use about ⅓ cup sauce, ½ cup cubed fresh mozzarella, and ½ to ⅔ cup thinly sliced or chopped veggies.
Bake the topped pizza for about 5 minutes, just until the cheese has melted.
5. Slice and enjoy!
Take the pizza out of the oven, let it rest for a few minutes, then slice and serve.
Gluten-Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust
- large rimmed baking sheet
- parchment paper
- Food processor
- 1 (2-pound) head cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
- ⅓ cup freshly crumbled soft goat cheese (chèvre)
- ¼ cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, dried basil, or dried Italian herb blend
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the cauliflower into small florets and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower is very finely chopped and looks like fluffed couscous. You should have 4 cups of cauliflower rice.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute, then add the cauliflower rice. Cook the cauliflower for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until it is softened but not yet browned. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
- When it is cool enough to handle, dump the cooked cauliflower onto a clean dishtowel or a few layers of cheesecloth, pull up the corners, and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. (It took me about 5 minutes of squeezing.)
- Dump the squeezed cauliflower rice into a large bowl, and add the goat cheese, Parmesan, egg, oregano, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, mix well until everything is evenly incorporated and the dough sticks together when you give it a pinch. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and press it out into an even 10- to 12-inch circle.
- Bake the crust for 30 minutes or until it is golden brown and firm to the touch.
- Remove it from the oven, top it with sauce, cheese, or anything you like, then bake it for 5 to 7 minutes more, just until the cheese is bubbly.
- Remove the finished pizza from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.