Lately I have been determined to make the most delicious yet most healthy pizza. While I’m not 100% satisfied with my efforts so far, I think I am very close to perfection! Whatever that means. =)
One aspect of the pizza I’ve been playing with is the crust. If you’re in the food blogosphere, I’m sure you’ve heard how pumped everyone is about cauliflower crust. And you know me, I’m in love with cauliflower, so of course I had to give this a try!
I discovered there are two main types of cauliflower crust – those that have eggs & cheese and those that use nuts (aka vegan crusts). While nuts are wonderful for you, and I have no problem with them, they are ridiculously expensive. And given that I’ve been trying to cut back on my expenses lately, I don’t really like to buy nuts very often.
But I needed some sort of flour-like substance to add to my crust. I thought for awhile, and finally decided to cheat… I used flour. I know, the whole point of a cauliflower crust for many people is to have a gluten free option. But, for me, I was simply trying to make a healthier crust, and less flour is better than all flour!
Regardless, after doing some contemplating, I’ve decided I want to try this crust again, but with a few changes. Let me know if you try them out before I do!
- Replace flour with oat flour. This one hit me after making the crust. Duh! Oat flour is the cheapest thing and way better for you than white or wheat flour. All you do is grind up some oats until they form a powder. They can be used 1:1 for other flours, though in baking, you have to be more careful about density and liquid absorption. UPDATE: This works great!
Double the amount of cauliflower and lessen the amount of flour. The original recipe seemed to include mostly flour once I had cooked down the cauliflower. Next time I want to maximize the amount of cauliflower in the crust.I tried this & it didn’t turn out that great. Better to stick with the original proportions. =)
Now, on to vegan cheese. This is something I’ve also been experimenting with in various forms. I’m not going to tell you about my last few experiments (they were pretty scary) but this time I think I mostly figured it out!
There’s a wonderful recipe floating around the web for coconut milk cheese, and that is what I tried this time. I had some issues with the cheese turning out a little lumpy, but otherwise the flavor was great. I’m guessing this was a problem of either- not boiling the milk long enough in the beginning or not mixing in the cornstarch completely. Regardless, I think it is easily corrected and I amended the instructions to help avoid this problem for others. =)
Here are some ideas I’m thinking of experimenting with in my next batch of vegan cheese:
Use blended cauliflower instead of coconut milk. I found this recipe which used cauliflower in cheese-making with success, so I’m thinking that would be a fun alternative!This was another idea that didn’t turn out that well. Coconut milk makes much better cheese!
- Use miso instead of adding salt. As I mentioned in this post, miso is a great way to add salty flavor in a more natural, healthful way. I’m curious how it would taste in this recipe! UPDATE: Miso tastes great in cheese! It’s also yummy in homemade pizza sauce!
Alright, well, that was an incredibly long blog post! Let’s get on to the food, shall we? 😉
Cauliflower pizza crust (adapted from The Detoxinista)
1 bag frozen cauliflower (1 lb), thawed
3 eggs (flax or egg replacer)
1/2 – 1 cup wheat flour (or try oat flour– see comments above)
3/4 tsp onion powder
1 tsp italian seasoning
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Pulse the thawed cauliflower in a food processor until a rice like texture. (If you forgot to plan ahead, you can steam the cauliflower first, drain off as much liquid as possible, and then add to food processor)
- Transfer cauliflower to a dish towel. Wrap up the cauliflower tight and squeeze to let all the moisture drain out.
- Dump the drained cauliflower in a large bowl and add eggs and spices. Slowly add flour, stirring all the while, until consistency is pizza dough like.
- Spray a pizza pan with olive oil (preferably one with holes in the bottom).
- Spread the dough out on the pan as thin as you want. Make sure there are no holes in the crust.
- Bake the crust at 400F for 30-45 minutes, until it turns a light golden brown.
- Add some homemade pizza sauce and toppings of choice. Bake another 5-10 minutes.
**Note: You want to be able to handle the dough without it sticking to everything. Keep adding flour until that is true. If you add too much, it will start to become powdery. If this is the case, add another vegan egg.
Vegan coconut milk cheese (adapted from Sweet Roots)
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp agar agar powder (you can find this in your local Asian food store)
1/2 tsp vinegar of choice (white, balsamic, etc.) OR lemon juice
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional, but adds a nice cheesiness)
- Boil coconut milk until no longer separated (really make sure this is the case before adding other ingredients!). Then add vinegar, agar flakes, and salt. Bring to a fast boil for just a moment.
- Mix cornstarch with a small amount of water to create a paste.
- Add remaining ingredients, including cornstarch paste, one at a time while whisking. Cook another 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from pan and put in a greased glass dish or parchment paper lined pan.
- Put in fridge & let cool for at least two hours.