I've been wanting to make a vegetable-based, gluten-free pizza crust for a while now, ever since I read this post on TheKitchn. 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 xanthum 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).
Gluten-Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Makes one 12-inch crust
- 1 medium (2-pound) head cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese (chèvre)
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 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 strained 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 a 12-inch circle, about 1/3-inch thick.
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 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving.