Cauliflower-Crust Pizza with Tomatoes, Arugula and Squash Blossoms

THE SECRET'S IN THE CRUST IN THE NAKED SOUTH. This cauliflower-based version is an instant favorite. Does it taste like cauliflower? Yes. Does it have the texture of a traditional pizza parlor pizza? No. Is it amazing? Yes.
By | April 22, 2015

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets and roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese, grated, divided
  • ½ cup almond flour/meal
  • ¼ cup garbanzo bean flour
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 8 or so squash blossoms, petals only
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese or cubed fresh mozzarella
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
  • Handful fresh basil, for serving

About this recipe

Like tacos and sweet treats, pizza is a recurring item in our house. It’s adaptable, fun to eat, and comforting. I’ve been seeing alternative crust pizza recipes circulating for years — ones that avoid white flour,  gluten, or grains in general. And I’ve tried most of them with less-than-exciting results. Until now.

This cauliflower-based version is an instant favorite. Does it taste like cauliflower? Yes. Does it have the texture of a traditional pizza parlor pizza? No. Is it amazing? Yes. It’s sturdy enough to eat with your hands and the texture (because of the cheese in the dough) is chewy and satisfying. If you get past the fact that the “dough” requires the use of a food processor, then it becomes a very simple recipe, much faster and easier than a traditional homemade pizza dough. Plus, it’s wheat-free, gluten-free, grain-free, and guilt-free. With this many veggies in your pizza, what’s there to feel guilty about?!

*Key Components*

Cauliflower is such a gem of a vegetable. From subbing for grains in salads (see my recipe for Cauliflower Couscous) and pizza to fighting cancer, this vegetable rocks.

Cheese is heavily debated in the world of nutrition. There are many reasons why people are avoiding dairy these days: environmental and animal welfare concerns, lactose intolerance, and casein (milk protein) sensitivities, to name a few. But there are also studies that suggest the consumption of cheese has its benefits, such as stabilizing blood sugar and preventing type 2 diabetes. Either way, I currently can’t live without it. As with all animal products, quality (and sometimes moderation) is key to making it a healthy choice. Seek out cheeses made with milk from grass-fed cows, preferably organic and raw when available. If you’re concerned about a cow milk sensitivity, try cheeses made from goat and sheep’s milk. 

Almond flour is simply almonds ground into a fine meal. Almonds support heart health and are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and protein. You can find it in the alternative or gluten-free baking section of most supermarkets. 

Garbanzo bean flour is ground garbanzo beans (chickpeas). Chickpeas are one of my very favorite foods for their versatility, protein, fiber, and positive effect on blood sugar. Find this in the alternative or gluten-free baking section of most supermarkets as well.

Flaxseeds are an omega-3 and fiber powerhouse, helping to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. They also contain high amounts of lignans which have antioxidant and estrogen regulatory qualities. With a wholesome, nutty flavor, they’re perfect for baked goods, including pizza dough. Find them with the supplements or in the alternative or gluten-free baking section of most supermarkets.

I’ve gushed over arugula before in a Beet & Salmon Open-Face Sandwich recipe. In a nutshell, it’s loaded with antioxidants, the most of any other salad green. Plus it has a peppery bite that keeps me coming back for more.  The fresher, the better, so buy local when possible.

Cherry tomatoes are my favorite tomato and have always been the variety I most often purchase. So I was very pleased to discover that they are one of the most nutrient-dense of all tomatoes! In general, smaller and darker tomatoes have more lycopene and vitamin C than their relatives. Purchasing local and organic tomatoes is pretty important to preserve their nutrients and reduce exposure to toxins. Luckily, they are easy to find in our area!

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Combine cauliflower florets and 1 cup grated cheese in bowl of a food process. Pulse until finely chopped and wet.
  3. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add almond flour, garbanzo bean flour, flaxseed, garlic, salt, and eggs. Mix well until you can from a very wet ball.
  4. Press dough onto parchment-lined baking sheet into a rustic 13-by-10-inch pizza. Bake until browned and firm, about 25 minutes.
  5. To prepare squash blossoms, cut off bottom ½-inch and discard, reserving petals.
  6. Top baked crust with remaining cheese, tomatoes, arugula, and squash blossom petals. Dot with ricotta, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. Return to oven until cheese is melted and browned in spots, 15–20 minutes. Garnish with shaved Parmigiano and basil and serve.

*Notes:

The toppings on this pizza can be changed up to suit your tastes. I designed this recipe around what's currently in season in Sarasota, but you can do whatever you want. Swap out arugula for spinach, or squash blossoms for thinly sliced zucchini -- just have fun and make it good!

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets and roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese, grated, divided
  • ½ cup almond flour/meal
  • ¼ cup garbanzo bean flour
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 8 or so squash blossoms, petals only
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese or cubed fresh mozzarella
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
  • Handful fresh basil, for serving
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