Who would have thought cauliflower would make such an excellent substitute for a pizza base? Not me, but it totally does, and despite belief it still looks like pizza, tastes like pizza and you can even pick it up like pizza too (although it's slightly more delicate).
Preparing the base is little fiddly, but not unlike if you were making your own pizza dough from scratch. As a rough introduction - you pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor until a fine-rice consistency, parcook it, and then squeeze out all the moisture (which helps dry out the base). Finally, you mix it with a few extra ingredients to form your "dough" (which really looks nothing like a dough, but more a paste), and then shape into your base! The whole process is quite fun really, and there's a certain anticipation/excitement around the outcome, although be prepared to question yourself along the way - "I'm about to eat a pizza with a base made out of vegetables, WHO HAVE I BECOME". Someone awesome, that's who.
With its mild taste, cauliflower is surprisingly versatile as an ingredient - and as a low-carb veggie, it's ideal to use when you're needing to replace higher-carb foods, a common one being cauliflower "rice", which is where you pulse cauliflower into a rice-like consistency, and then use as you would rice. It works the same here as a lower-carb pizza base, which is also a great whole food gluten-free alternative to the original. A (delicious) win for the lower-carb (and gluten-free) camps of people.
For the toppings, go crazy with your favourites. My ultimate pick is the following - a layer of pizza sauce, topped with pizza cheese and then dotted with sliced tomato, olives, capsicum, mushrooms and red olives. Once cooked top with a handful of fresh peppery rocket - delicious!
Cauliflower Pizza Base
Cauliflower pizza base - makes two pizza bases
1/2 cauliflower head (around 400g florets)
1 egg, whisked
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp olive oil
Assortment of toppings - tomato, olives, mushrooms, red onion and olive
Fresh rocket to top, once cooked
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Remove cauliflower florets from cauliflower head - you're after around 400g of florets.
3. Add to a food processor and blitz until it reaches a fine/powder rice consistency.
4. Now to remove any excess moisture from the cauliflower! This is key for getting a crispy base, that won't crumble. Firstly, stem cauliflower rice until slightly tender, or alternatively microwave for 2 minutes (once again this may be best to do in batches, depending on the size of your bowl).
5. Add cauliflower rice onto the middle of a large tea towel and let cool (while it's cooling chop up your topping ingredients). Once cooled, lift sides of tea towel, twist together at the top, and then squeeze any excess moisture through the tea towel into the bowl - keep squeezing for a few minutes to get everything out! I managed to get a whole glassful of liquid from mine! The cauliflower will start to look powdery now.
6. Add cauliflower to a bowl, and add rest of pizza base ingredients. Mix well until an even paste forms.
7. Split mixture across the two lined baking trays and spread into pizza base rounds. You don't want it too thick or thin - spend a little time shaping it - show the pizza base a little love! Mine were 17cm in diameter each.
8. Cook in the oven until edges turn golden - around 10-12 minutes.
9. Remove from oven, spread over pizza sauce, sprinkle with pizza cheese and then add toppings. Cook in the oven for another 5-10 minutes, or done to your liking.