I grew up in New York and I ate A LOT of pizza in my childhood. A crisp thin crust, tomato sauce (with no chunks of tomato!) and cheese. Nothing fancy necessary to suit my fancy! There was always a fresh-from-the-oven-pie ready, and a slice cost about $1.25. Teenage heaven-on-earth.
Then I moved to Atlanta for college and I still remember eating at my first pizzeria outside of New York. I ordered “a slice” and quickly learned that I needed to clarify that what I wanted was just tomato sauce and cheese (not a piece from one of their “fancy” pies with things like pineapple- blah!). They cut my slice from a pie that clearly had been sitting around for awhile, and put it back in the oven to warm it up. I waited…and then was very disappointed. Would I survive the next four years?!
Years later I went dairy-free. Then gluten-free. Pizza went from $1.25 a slice to a $20+ meal with the up-charge for the gluten free crust and all the toppings added on to replace where the cheese used to sit! Pizza, as I remembered it, became a thing of my past.
I truly believe that if you know what “real” pizza tastes like there is simply no gluten-free and dairy-free pizza that comes close to comparing. So, what’s a former New Yorker to do? Pizza had to be reinvented into something new, fun, flavorful…and totally different from the pizza of my childhood.
For Valentine’s Day I posted the pizza recipe I’ve been making for almost a decade: my flatbread pizza with puree of artichokes. It tasted really good. I felt good and I was happy again.
Then recently my cousin sent me a recipe for a Cauliflower Crust Pizza. I loved the simplicity of a crust made from cauliflower, almond flour, and eggs. Below is our family’s version. I hope you enjoy. I’ve enjoyed it 4 x myself in the last 2 weeks. No joke!
makes 3-4 medium pizza crusts
6 cups of “cauliflower meal”, made from 1 med-large cauliflower
2 1/4 cup almond flour
6 medium eggs, beaten
2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley
Toppings: tomato sauce, pesto (see recipe below), sliced tomatoes, fresh herbs, sauteed or roasted vegetables, sausage, pepperoni, etc.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- In a food processor, pulse cauliflower florets in batches, so you do not over-grind them and make them wet or mushy. Your goal is “riced” cauliflower with a fluffy consistency.
- In a large bowl combine the “cauliflower meal”, almond flour, eggs, sea salt, garlic, basil, and parsley. This will not resemble traditional “dough” but you should be able to divide it into 3 or 4 equal batches to make your 3 or 4 pizza crusts.
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll each batch of dough into a ball in your hands (add additional almond meal if it’s too wet), drop on the cookie sheet and use your hand to press it out into a circular crust that is between 1/4 and 1/8 of an inch thick.
- Bake 15-20 minutes for a crispier crust. Remove from the oven and add your sauce (tomato sauce, pesto, etc) and toppings (for example, fresh tomato, basil and pine nuts or sauteed artichokes, sausage and greens- get creative!) and bake 5-15 minutes more until warmed and crispy.
½ cup pine nuts
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
¼ cup parsley
2 cloves garlic
½ tsp. salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- In a medium skillet, dry roast the pine nuts over medium heat until golden brown.
- Add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until well combined.
- I personally make pesto in large batches. Store extra pesto in 1/3 cup Tupperware containers and freeze for later use- it will defrost nicely if moved from the freezer to the fridge for about 1 day.