Cauliflower and Almond Pizza Crust with Fresh Sauce and Greens

cauliflower and almond pizza crustI was going to call this recipe ‘Cauliflower Pizza Kitchen’, but a) I was worried that California Pizza Kitchen might have spies that read obscure blogs and decide to sue me for whatever they might sue me for (name infringement? besmirching?); b) Miss R pointed out that not everyone knows what CPK is and therefore would not get my dubious play on words; and c) well, it didn’t make sense. So, once again, a cumbersome yet descriptive title from yours truly. I really should get better at this.

cauliflower and almond pizza crustTrawling around on the Internet, as one does, you see all kinds of ‘pick me, pick me’ recipe names: some very elegant and poetic, often English translations of Chinese recipes, such as golden sands corn or ants climbing a tree. Others are decidedly odd – pockmarked old woman’s beancurd (mapo tofu – a huge favourite of ours. My version posting soon), limping Susan (“a less able-bodied cousin of Hoppin’ John“), and garbage, which seems to cover a lot of culinary bases  - as pie, snack mix, bread, beef dish, something you cook in, etc. The latter, along with some other humdingers, are posted on taste of home.com, with others still on epicurious.

And while the rest of the world has the occasional strangely named food or dish, the British really take the biscuit, so to speak: spotted dick, toad in the hole, moggy (!!), stargazy pie, lobscouse, fat rascals. I could go on. One of my ‘new’ favourite weirdly named recipes is for the Scottish dish ‘rumbledethumps’. I always thought it referred to a type of little cake, like a rock bun (odd name, tasty morsel). But no, Karen at Lavender and Lovage set me straight as it is in fact potato, cabbage, cheese and chive gratin. So, a poshed up version of another mad-monikered dish many of you will have heard of, bubble and squeak.

And so almost to the prosaically named cauliflower and almond pizza crust with fresh sauce and greens. Like a lot of you reading this I have been trying a wee bit to get a handle on carbohydrate intake. Without boring you rigid the issue with carbs is not the carbs as such but the amount and type we eat: most of us consume far too many processed, refined grain products (and sugars) and too little plant fibre. It is easily done. I don’t want to spend this post banging on about balancing blood sugar, losing weight and all the rest that cutting  back on carbs can bring. Instead I refer you to a previous post on the subject and to these articles from livestrong, Harvard School of Public Health and Time (Healthland)  to read at your leisure, if you like. For information on the health benefits of cauliflower and vegetables of a similar ilk, I refer you to the world’s healthiest foods webpage (love this site) and a wee bit on broccoli from my orecchiette with purple sprouting broccoli (etc) post from March.

I recommend in my classes that we all try and have a serving of cruciferous vegetables  every day, and a hefty size serving at that – about a good double-cupped handful. A slice of this pizza won’t completely count as a serving, obviously, but having a piece with a salad containing watercress and rocket, or with some stir fried kale (with some yummy garlic) would give you a powerful punch of cancer-fighting phytonutrients such as indole-3-glucosinolate (which converts to I-3-carbinol) and some heavy-hitting antioxidants, especially beta-carotene.romescu caulif

kaleCruciferous vegetable family: cauliflower (including the above romanesco – yum), broccoli (all varieties), cabbages (all), turnip greens and other ‘nippy’ greens such as mustard, watercress, rocket/arugula, bok choy, choi sum, Chinese leaf. Even radishes, turnips, swedes and parsnips are cruciferous. But the standout vegetable for anyone wanting to maximise their intake of disease preventing nutrients has to be kale. All hail, kale. And incidentally, cruciferous veg are a dieter’s go-to food,so if you need to gain weight make sure and eat yours with something more calorific.

My recipe is inspired by my friend Conner’s pizza base recipe from her book,  Zest for Life (remember, that was a giveaway a while back). In her recipe she combines flaxseed and almonds to make her base, while I’ve just used almonds. I also include cauliflower, which I have seen in a number of pizza base recipes, but they always included cheese, which I didn’t want to use. I thought I would have to go through a few test batches but luckily this recipe seemed to work first time. I guess you will be the judge of that though. I am linking up this recipe to Fabulicious Food’s Family Friendly Friday roundup, so please check out the undoubtedly more family friendly recipes on this link. Also linking to Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, where you will find loads of amazing recipes.

What is the weirdest recipe name you have come across? Did you try it? And what is your wackiest pizza topping? Miss R once had snails (we were in France, naturally)…

cauliflower and almond pizza crustCauliflower and Almond Pizza Crust with Greens and a Fresh Tomato Sauce 


Miss R’s Track of the Week: Foster the People’s Pumped Up Kicks (BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge version)

I am willing to bet that this will be one of the odder pizza crust recipes that you will come across. I mean, cauliflower? Really? Yup, somehow it works. I don’t make any claims that you will fool anyone into thinking this is a dough based pizza crust but I think it stands on its own merit, and certainly as a unique and delicious twist for those following a gluten-free, lower carbohydrate or paleo diet.

Here I have topped the crust with seasonal wild garlic but I think it would be great with most any topping that isn’t too wet. Next time I think I might go for chopped cooked kale and fresh tomatoes, topped with Cheddar cheese for a funky take on cauliflower cheese. Although I don’t think California Pizza Kitchen will be knocking on my door anytime soon, I hope you like it. 

100g natural almonds
200g cauliflower
1 medium egg
1 tsp fennel seeds, dry toasted for one minute and crushed
½ tsp dried oregano
pinch chilli flakes (optional)
½ – 1 tsp salt (your call)
1 tbsp olive oil

Grind the almonds until they are like rough sand – not as smooth as for ground almonds you buy in a bag. Set aside.

Cut up the cauliflower – including the tender and tasty stems (the sweetest part of the cauliflower) – and steam until crisp-tender; about 8 minutes. Finely mince the cauliflower in a food processor until it looks like mince –very small rough pieces. Squeeze moisture out in a tea towel. 

Pop everything into the food processor and briefly whiz together until amalgamated. You now have ‘dough’. To use, press the dough as thinly as you dare onto a baking paper lined tray, making whatever shape you like – freeform-oblong is good for me, and less daunting to form than a square or circle. I first of all scatter medium cornmeal/polenta onto the paper to add some the crunch, but it’s not necessary. Pop this into a 180/350 degree oven oven for 20-25 minutes while you get on with assembling your toppings. Once the crust has firmed up and coloured spread over your toppings and bake at 200/425 for a further 10 minutes, or flash under the grill if the crust is quite thin. Magnifico!cauliflower pizza crust

raw 'dough'

baked and ready for toppings


My Toppings

‘Fresh’ Tomato Sauce

1 tin of best quality tomatoes (San Marzano if possible)
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, dry toasted and crushed
2 sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves chopped OR 2 tsps dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder OR 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tbsp sweet balsamic vinegar
½ tsp salt (to taste)
Fresh ground pepper

Pulse in a food processor until nicely chunky. Don’t cook this sauce as you want to keep this light and fresh tasting. You will probably only use half of this sauce so put the rest in the freezer, or use in another recipe (my Lower-fat Eggplant Parmigiana?).

Green Stuff

Generous handful of spring onions/scallions – roughly chopped
Two cupped handsful of trimmed, chopped and washed wild garlic (or spinach)
4 cloves garlic, sliced (different taste to the wild garlic)
1 tbsp olive oil
Half a punnet of chestnut mushrooms (or wild if you have them) – about 175g, sliced

Stir fry the above until the wild garlic is wilted and the mushrooms have lost their moisture. You may want to do the mushrooms separately but I tend to start the mushrooms first and then add the rest.

Assembling: Take the firmed up crust out of the oven and spread lightly with the tomato sauce and then lay over the cooked greens and mushrooms. Top with torn pieces of fresh mozzarella (lightly squeeze between some paper towels first) or firm ricotta and scatter over any extra herbs/olives/capers/chilli flakes you like. Pop back in the oven until the crust is very golden/browning and the cheese has melted – about 10 minutes. Serve with a fresh watercress and rocket green salad or some steamed/stir-fried greens. Serves 3-4. 

topped and ready for baking

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43 thoughts on “Cauliflower and Almond Pizza Crust with Fresh Sauce and Greens

    • Ah, but that’s the beauty, you honestly have no idea you are eating cauliflower. I love cauliflower so tasting it wouldn’t have offended me, but none of us testers tasted it at all. IT just tasted a bit nutty. Hubby hadn’t seen what went into it so gave an unbiased thumbs up, with no ‘what’s the deal with the crust?’interrogation. As if he would dare!

    • Well, I don’t know is the simple answer! I think it would need a quick blast in a hot oven or grill to ‘revive’ it. It doesn’t make a huge pizza so if you were sharing it there certainly wouldn’t be any leftovers. Let me know how it does for you. I really appreciate feedback. Thanks Desi!

      • I shall let you know! The reason I was asking was because my husband is allergic to nuts and the almonds are pretty essential to making this crust work so I knew if I made this as a week night dish, I’d have leftovers….

      • How about trying it with polenta/maizemeal, with addition of a handful of dry mozzarella to help with moisture and binding? No guarantees but it should be okay. I would mince the cauliflower, add the oil and other non-nut bits then gradually work in maizemeal until you get a dough-like consistency. There are other recipes online that have cauliflower and no nuts so I won’t be upset if you explore those options. All just a bit cheesey for me, no pun intended. Hope this helps.

      • I was going to try it with soy nuts or toasted posole to give it the crunch. I’ll try yours first to taste the “baseline” so to speak before doing other things to it! Thanks again for posting such lovely food! :)

  1. A compelling recipe! I’ve seen the cauliflower pizza crust and whizzed by, but you’ve convinced me to give it a try. The romanesco photo is a delight!

    • Let me know if you make it. I trust your opinion on whether it was worth the effort, however small. And I love romanesco too. When it’s in season here I’ve got an easy little post for it (not *those* ones of course :D)

    • Not keen on ol’ Gillian as a person (what a crybaby in the I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here) but she has some interesting recipes. Thanks for letting me know about this one as I LOVE sweet potatoes.

  2. The crust sounds intriguing (will definitely give it a try), and the pizza looks wonderful. As for the wackiest pizza topping I’ve ever tried, having lived in Japan for 10+ years, that is hard to answer – wacky pizza is the norm there. Corn and mayonnaise are popular toppings there, seaweed is not unheard of, and I once had a “German curry” pizza which was kind of nasty…

    • Corn and mayo, hmmm. I don’t think I will be trying that anytime soon, but seaweed sounds okay. Last year I posted a tuna and creme fraiche pizza that is really good, but not so great pix… That’s kinda weird for toppings, but with a normal crust – unlike this one. Thanks for commenting :D

  3. This has got to be the most creative pizza crust recipe I’ve read! I’ve seen a number of nut and/or seed-based “breads” and “crackers” at raw food restaurants lately (they dehydrate rather than cook), but nothing combined with cauliflower (or any other veggie). Putting it on my “to try” list. Thanks!

    P.S. Thoroughly enjoying the Zest for Life cookbook… even gave a copy to my mum. ;-)

    • That’s interesting because I’ve just got a dehydrator & am looking forward to experimenting with it. Don’t think I’ll blog any recipes – too specialised & I’m no expert – but those crackers are so darn expensive that the greedy cheapskate in me will have a go. So, so glad you love zest for life. Conner reads food to glow, so I’m sure will see your comment for herself. Thanks Kelli!

  4. It’s funny, just last night I was craving pizza and wishing I had cauliflower on hand to try out cauliflower pizza crust that I’ve been hearing about lately! Your version looks even better and I can’t wait to give it a try…bookmarking! :)

    • What a funny coincidence. We’ve had a few of these, haven’t we? Usually the other way round though:D Would love any feedback on this recipe especially. It worked for me twice but don’t know about others and their ovens. Thanks!

    • Thank you Heather. Weird but good. I don’t think it’ll be a complete alternative because sometimes it’s nice to indulge in a thin crust pizza with loads of veggies. But with this one you can count the crust toward your 5+ a day :D

  5. Pingback: Family Friendly Fridays April Round Up | Fabulicious Food

  6. I KNOW this pizza base combo!v It is similar to a diet I went on a while ago called Pig to Twig, which is NO carb and high protein! Those pizzas look absolutely amazing and are just the type of food we like in my household too……LOVELY! Karen

    • Gosh, I thought I was being fairly inventive! It just shows that good combos will always be found and repeated quite serendipitously. For me – us – it’s not a weight thing, just a wee change from dough pizza and making the base part of one’s daily veg intake. All about the plants :-) But proper dough is great sometimes too. Homemade, of course…

  7. Never heard of this combo before but have seen the cauliflower and cheese pizza bases – I must try it as I love nuts and cauliflower and am curious to see what sort of pizza it produces – I am very fond of a tomato – sweet potato – bean sauce with cheese on pizza

    • Hi there. Just follow the directions and it should be straightforward. One commenter said she did it on a pizza stone with great results, so if you have one of those, maybe try it that way instead of mine. I’ve never had sweet potato on pizza but it certainly sounds good!

  8. Pingback: Cauliflower and Almond Pizza Crust with Fresh Sauce and Greens … | Lilli Online

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