In the past few years, cauliflower has been reinvented in so many ways. Thanks to its low carb count and subtle flavor, this healthy cruciferous vegetable has been successfully morphed into healthy-yet-creamy mashed “potatoes” and surprisingly delicious pizza crust.
When my friend Sonali asked me to review her cookbook, Natural Pregnancy Cookbook, one of the first things that caught my eye was her clever spin on cauliflower as pizza crust. Sonali kept things really simple and made ‘flatbread.’
For those who haven’t tried, you can grind cauliflower in a food processor and use it to make a healthy, low calorie, gluten-free dough. Pretty cool, right? But for those who don’t have a food processor, I decided to try it this time without the processor, and it worked very well.
Despite what it might seem, my cauliflower crust pizza recipe (very old recipe, as indicated by the photo!) has always been popular in my family–even with my pickier eater. Sonali’s sauceless version was a hit as well–like a fight-for-the-last-piece hit! My kids LOVE it.
Despite it’s good nutritional profile, this recipe has just the right amount of ooey, gooey cheesy goodness. As delicious plain as with a side of marinara sauce for dipping, this flatbread makes a welcome side to soup or salad and makes a guilt-free appetizer that is sure to please.
Yields 16 breadsticks.
- 1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds)
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided use (cheddar Jack or an Italian blend are other good choices)
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (may substitute a mix of dried herbs like thyme, oregano, basil, and parsley)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill
- Marinara sauce for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower, and cut it into florets. Place them in the bowl of a food processor (Don’t have a food processor? See notes for option*), and pulse until the cauliflower is finely chopped. It should look like rice.
Transfer the cauliflower to a microwave-safe dish or bowl. Cover and cook in the microwave for 10 minutes or until very soft. (Depending on microwave, cooking time may vary so check and little early and add time if needed.) Alternatively, you can steam the cauliflower in a steamer basket on the stovetop until very soft.
When the cauliflower is cool enough to handle, transfer it to a bowl lined with a clean tea towel. Bring the ends of the towel together and squeeze as much liquid out of the cauliflower as you can. There will be a good bit. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg, and then mix in the Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and the other ½ cup of cheese. Add the cauliflower, and stir to thoroughly incorporate. I find it easiest to use a dinner fork to break up the cauliflower that has been squeezed into a ball. (*Prep-ahead tip:* At this point, you can place the mixture in an airtight container or covered bowl and refrigerate until ready to bake.)
Transfer the mixture to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Form the dough into a rectangle about 8 x 12 inches and ¼-inch thick.
Bake for 15-20 minutes** or until golden brown and crisp around the edges. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and sprinkle the remaining ½ cup cheese over the top. Bake another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
Cut into 16 breadsticks. Serve plain or with marinara sauce for dipping.
- *If you don’t have a food processor, chop the cauliflower into small pieces and then microwave in a little bit of water or steam on the stovetop until the cauliflower is very soft. Once soft, thoroughly mash the cauliflower with a dinner fork or potato masher, and then squeeze as much liquid out as possible with a tea towel, as indicated above, and proceed as directed.
- **The longer you cook the dough, the more moisture will cook out and the crisper it will become. You may bake longer before topping with the cheese if you prefer–just watch carefully to avoid burning in the hot oven. As directed, the flatbread is crisp around the edges and slightly soft in the middle, yet firm enough to pick up in your hands.
- One breadstick (with reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese): Calories 26; Fat 0.8g (Sat 0.4g); Protein 2.8g; Carb 2g; Fiber 0.8g; Sodium 58mg
It seems only natural that Sonali would follow up her pregnancy cookbook with Natural Baby Food.