Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vegan & Grain-Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust

I've had mixed feelings about cauliflower pizza crust. Despite many attempts and different techniques, I always found my attempts a bit soggy. I also had yet to try out a recipe that didn't rely on eggs, cheese or both to bind it together.

The Detoxinista's recipes have yet to let me down, though, and I was intrigued when I found a crust version on her site that looked crisp and just happened to be vegan. I decided it was worth it try, try again.

I would definitely recommend using a heavy hand with the seasoning for your crust. I tasted mine before I shaped it and added some red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning, along with more salt and pepper than I originally sprinkled in. The resulting taste was really nice! Not at all like cauliflower, to be honest, and not to dense due to the flax and almond meal.

My crust crisped up nicely, even a little TOO much along the edges (next time I might place a little foil over the edges to keep it from getting too brown). The cave man thought it worked well with the chicken, onions, blue cheese and balsamic drizzle I used for toppings, but speculated it might not taste as good with less bold flavors (and I would tend to agree).

The original recipe calls for ground flax or chia in lieu of an egg. I used the flax because I'm not always a fan of chia's texture, but I'm sure it would work well too.

Vegan & Grain-Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust
adapted from The Detoxinista

1 lb. cauliflower florets
3 tbs. ground flax seeds, divided
6 tbs. water
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp. salt (I used a bit more)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
ground black pepper, to taste

Run cauliflower through a food processor until it's riced. Add to a large pot with enough water to just cover it. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover. Simmer for 5 minutes and drain.

Put drained cauliflower in a freezer-safe bowl and freeze for 10 minutes.

While riced cauliflower is chilling, combine 2 tbs. ground flax with 6 tbs. water. Allow to sit until it thickens up a bit.

Preheat oven to 400.

Remove cauliflower from freezer and place in a thin dish towel. Squeeze over the sink, trying to remove as much excess liquid as possible.

Put cauliflower in a large bowl and add flax mixture. Add remaining 1 tbs. ground flax and seasoning. Taste for seasoning before pressing out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. The crust should be no more then 1/4 inch thick and make sure it doesn't have any tears or extra thick spots.

Bake crust for 30 minutes or until just starting to brown. Allow to cool slightly and then place another piece of parchment paper on top of the crust. Use this to flip the crust and bake for another 15 minutes, or until brown. If the edges get too dark, cover them with strips of tin foil.

Top crust as desired and return to oven for 5 minutes until done.

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