I love a good pizza. My first job was actually at a pizza joint that had some of the best pizza in town. I worked front of the house and salad bar. I can still remember those delicious garlic buttery bread sticks and chicken, bacon, with white sauce pizza. Mama Mia!!
Alas, after switching my diet up to work on health and weight loss, I started moving away from gluten and dairy. What I found to replace it was something rather unique – a pizza crust made out of cauliflower. Cauliflower on its own has little flavor and if cooked right can take on several forms: Faux rice, morning “oats”, mashed potatoes, shawarma steaks, creamy cauliflower morning smoothies. The list is seemingly endless.
Over the last several year I’ve experimented with different crusts made from cauliflower, and to be honest, the best ones have been made with cheese. I promise that SOON I will be posting a recipe made without dairy products, because I know several of you will be asking for an alternative, and I wholeheartedly understand! Dairy isn’t my best friend either, so a dairy-free version will be my next quest!
But First, Let’s Chat About Wheat
In a vein of complete transparency, I still occasionally indulge in a real slice of pizza topped with amazingness, but that’s very rare – maybe twice a year…maybe. I have also found that I can eat cheese/some dairy in small amounts occasionally, as long as I’m eating clean with everything else. It’s always a little splurge. One resource I would highly suggest if you’re wanting more info on the effect modern grains have on your health and body is the book Wheat Belly by William Davis. It will open up a whole new world of America’s focus on GMO farming as well as the sad facts related to diets founded upon grains.
As an example of how wheat specifically can make me feel, I used to wake up and upon taking my first step out of bed would experience a sharp pain and ache in the joints of my ankles and feet. It was miserable. I felt like an 80 year old in a 20 year old’s body. After staying away from products made with wheat, I no longer woke with these pains and once again felt my age. Amazing! All I can say is that I stand in awe of how our bodies work and how seemingly little things can affect them.
Because most gluten-free flours are still high in carbs and can have a glycemic index worse than their counterpart wheat, I began nixing them out of my diet as well. If your body struggles with blood sugar regulation, bloat, inflammation, unwanted weight centered around you mid section/gut, or a feeling of energy highs followed by energy lows, I would suggest experimenting with a low glycemic index diet for a few weeks. Once I did I not only began experiencing weight loss but I felt better overall.
If your curious about what the glycemic index is, start by looking at the photo above and checking out the links I’ve referenced. In essence, the closer the number is to 100 the higher the glycemic index and the more that food will spike your blood sugar levels. 55 and below is considered low glycemic while anything above that number is considered high glycemic. Once you understand how the foods you are putting into your body affect your blood sugars you’ll be better armed to eat a diet that will help you lose weight and regulate those feelings of spiked energy followed by a crash (think your afternoon 2 o’clock exhaustion).
Since we’re talking about cauliflower pizza crusts, here’s some perspective on where it lies on the glycemic scale with a tad more information that should be helpful.
“There is some discrepancy as to the glycemic index of cauliflower, although most sources list it between 0 and 15. This makes cauliflower a low-glycemic index food. To put this in perspective, peanuts have a glycemic index of 14 and a baked potato has a glycemic index of 85. Pure sugar, in the form of glucose, is considered the reference point to which all foods are compared and has a glycemic index of 100. ” – Live Strong
My Cauliflower Pizza Crust
A quick search will show you that most people who follow a paleo/low glycemic diet have found out ways to convert cauliflower florets into pizza crusts. Not only do I want to share with you the recipe we are currently loving but also some tips and tricks to make the process a whole lot easier.
For Ease of Making Have On Hand
- Cauliflower pearls – I get mine at Sam’s Club, but I’ve seen them at Trader Joe’s as well. Look in both the fresh section and freezer isle.
- Cheese cloth of thin dish towel
- I’ve used goat cheese in place of the mozarella
- Wax paper
- Round pizza pan
What I Do
- 1 32 oz Bag Riced Cauliflower or Cauliflower Pearls
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, can be a heaping 1/2 cup
- 1/4 cup coconut flower/tapioca starch
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
- Place cauiflower pearls in microwave-safe bowl. Cover loosely and place into microwave for 4-5 minutes, or until softened; let cool.
- Using a clean dish towel or cheese cloth, drain cauliflower completely, removing as much water as possible.
- Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl. Stir in eggs, mozzarella, Parmesan and Italian seasoning; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Spread cauliflower mixture into round pizza pan that’s been covered in wax paper. (can sometimes be made into two pizza crusts) Spray lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until deeply golden brown.
- Top with pizza sauce, cheeses and pepperoni minis. Place into oven and bake until the cheese has melted, about 3-5 minutes.
- Serve immediately, sprinkled with basil and red pepper flakes, if desired.
*These freeze GREAT! Place on a large dinner plate, wrap with plastic wrap then put into large zip loc bag. When you want to use, pull out and let thaw for 30 mins before garnishing with toppings.