Cauliflower Pizza Crust

My kitchen hasn’t been calling to me lately. It’s a weird feeling, and it’s a constant struggle to open the fridge and realize I’m going to be piecing together a lunch of crackers, cheese and tomato slices.

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Finally, I jumped on this cauliflower pizza crust bandwagon to end the home-cooked meal drought.

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It was tasty! And the gluten-free part is pretty awesome. It’s not every day you can shove multiple slices of pizza into your mouth and be eating mostly vegetables. Well, and cheese, but there’s nothing wrong with cheese.

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Needless to say, this pizza didn’t last long at all. I would highly recommend doubling this recipe if you’re feeding more humans than just yourself and/or if any of you have even an inkling of an appetite.

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What You Need:

  • One head cauliflower, florets chopped off
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. dried basil

What You Do:

Preheat oven to 400F

In a food processor, lightly “pulse” the cauliflower florets to create cauliflower “rice”. It’s best to add the florests one batch at a time to ensure they all get chopped up.

Now it’s time to cook the “rice.” In a medium saucepot, boil about 3 cups water and add the rice. Cover the pot, and let cook about 5 minutes.

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Drain thoroughly using a fine mesh strainer.

Transfer the drained cauliflower rice to a clean dish towel or several paper towels and pat well to dry.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice, egg, cheese and spices and mix thoroughly, kneeding with your hands until it forms a dough.

Now it’s ready to be made into a crust!

Sprinkle cornmeal onto the surface of a pizza stone and lay the dough ball on top. (If you don’t have a pizza stone, still use cornmeal and see below for alternate baking times).

Smooth the dough ball out with your hands, flattening to make a crust about 1/4 of an inch thick.

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Bake for about 20 minutes if using a pizza stone, 30-40 if using a baking sheet.

Remove from oven and cover with your favorite toppings. I used sliced zucchini, minced garlic, jalapeno slices, tomato slices and cheddar cheese.

Then, bake for another 5 minutes for a pizza stone, or 10 minutes for a baking sheet.

Slice it up, and serve!

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Maple Acorn Squash and Spinach Pizza

My best friend and I just took a weekend trip to New York City. Honestly, the food options in that place are more overwhelming than the crowds of people.

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I could spend 5 days there just trying different restaurants. Of course I would walk from one to the other to burn off some of the calories.

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We packed a lot into a day and a half. Empire State Building, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, riding Citi Bikes (aka flirting with certain death), a run through Central Park, meandering through Highline Park and dinner/drinks with friends and family. It was perfect.

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Probably the best thing I ate was the Crepe Suzette we ordered for dessert at Les Halles, the restaurant owned by Anthony Bordain. The chef made it right in front of us and it was delicious.

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This trip also taught me that I can’t afford to eat fancy NYC food all the time. So instead I made this pizza at home and pretended it was fancy city food.

Inspired by Smitten Kichen’s Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza.

What You Need:

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  • 1 small acorn squash, halved, seeded and sliced into half moons
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or melted coconut oil, divided
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Pizza dough (I used a gluten-free pre-made dough)
  • 2 tbsp cornmeal
  • 1 cup raw spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

What You Do:

Preheat oven to 375F

In a large mixing bowl, toss the half moon slices of acorn squash with the half the oil, the red pepper flakes, maple syrup, salt and pepper until thoroughly and evenly coated.

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Lay the squash out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 20 minutes or until soft and golden.

Roll out your dough using the other half of the oil to keep it from becoming sticky.

Sprinkle the cornmeal over a pizza stone or your baking sheet, and lay the dough out over the cornmeal.

Once the squash is cooked, gently peel off the skins.

Lay each half moon over the pizza.

Top with gorgonzola cheese, spinach and Parmesan, and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until crust edges are golden brown, cheese is melted and spinach is wilted (but not dry!)

Slice up and chow down!

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Tomatillo Pizza

Pizza with tomato sauce? How about pizza with tomatillo sauce?

I’ve only ever used tomatillos to make salsa. That is, until I discovered that when you slice them and heat them in a pan, they reduce to a thick and sweet sauce that pairs perfectly with other veggies and – my favorite – goat cheese.

This sauce puts a fun spin on pizza. It makes it a little sweet but it’s definitely tasty and a really good summer pizza. I busted it out on a hot day for a pre-dinner appetizer and it was a hit!

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Preheat Oven to 350F-375F

What You Need to Make the Pizza Dough:

(Adapted from this recipe from my cooking idol Smitten Kitchen)

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (can replace up to half of this with whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon  active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • About 1-2 tablespoons whole flax seed. Gives the dough a little crunch and healthy boost!

What You Need to Make the Topping:

  • Pre-made or homemade pizza crust. If you make your own, I highly suggest using this recipe from my cooking idol Smitten Kitchen.
  • 6-8 medium tomatillos, shells peeled off and sliced into quarters
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 3-4 oz. of goat cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of corn meal (to sprinkle on baking pan to bake the pizza on)

IMG_3853To Make the Pizza Dough:

Stir dry ingredients, including yeast, in a large bowl. Add the water and olive oil and stir until formed into a ball. Knead well and place in a well-greased bowl with a damp towel covering it for 1-2 hours until it has doubled in size.

Knead dough again to eliminate air pockets and place back in the bowl for 20-30 minutes. Roll out the dough and lift onto a pizza stone or pizza pan pre-sprinkled with cornmeal.

To Make the Topping:

Place the tomatillos into an oiled pan heated on medium. Cover and simmer until they reduce and thicken, stirring frequently.

While tomatillos are cooking, place sliced onions in an oiled pan on medium heat, cover and cook until caramelized.

Spread the tomatillo mixture across pizza like a sauce. Top with caramelized onions and goat cheese and bake for 10-12 minutes depending on the thickness of your dough.

Pro Tip: Along with the flax seed, add fresh basil or dill to the pizza dough to give it a little kick and a little more of that summer flavor!