It's no secret that both Mr E & I enjoy our carbs, from pasta and rice, roast and mash potatoes, through to crackers and homemade breads including, of course, the bread dough crust of our pizza. But a few weeks ago we had a moment of revelation, and we've not looked back since!
It was all down to a cauliflower crust pizza!
You see, I'd seen a recipe for cauliflower crust pizza in Sainsbury's Fresh magazine, and being fully aware of the growing love throughout the foodie world for cauliflower rice I really fancied giving it a try, it looked so tasty.
Hubby, bless him, wasn't too convinced, to be honest, but was happy enough for me to 'play' with the cauliflower rice and construct what appeared to be a pizza base with it, whilst probably thinking to himself that we can easily have some soup and bread if said 'pizza' was a disaster.
Very happily our first foray into the world of cauliflower rice and cauliflower crust pizzas was far from a disaster. In fact it totally rocked! Even Mr E was surprised by how much he enjoyed it. We've now tried them on 3 or 4 different occasions and thoroughly enjoyed them, though with one exception (but more about that shortly), and have included another cauliflower crust pizza in this week's meal plan.
Using cauliflower to create a pizza base is super easy, especially if you have a food processor or high speed blender which will make light work of turning the cauliflower florets into 'rice'. Of course, you could also buy ready prepared cauliflower rice from larger supermarkets, but in my opinion those bags are quite expensive.
As with all pizzas your choice of topping is driven by your own personal preference. The recipe I'm sharing today is topped with roasted butternut squash and goats' cheese, though I also thoroughly enjoyed my individual roasted beetroot and goats' cheese pizza whilst hubby enjoyed a classic Margarita, with a few sliced mushrooms thrown on for good measure.
So, what is the exception to this otherwise yummy keto pizza? Well, as much as you may be tempted to switch up this cauliflower crust pizza by using a romanesco, don't! We, or rather I, initially thought it would be a great idea, alas not, unless you fancy the idea of a cabbage like aroma percolating from your pizza! If you stick to cauliflower I'm sure even the most ardent carb lover will thoroughly enjoy this low carb pizza alternative.
So, here's how to make a cauliflower crust pizza with roasted butternut squash and goats' cheese.
CAULIFLOWER CRUST PIZZA WITH ROASTED SQUASH & GOATS’ CHEESE
For the Pizza Base
- 1 medium – large cauliflower or 450g Cauliflower Rice
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 25 g mature cheddar cheese finely grated
- 50 g mozzarella cheese finely grated (we use ready grated mozzarella)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp oilive Oil
For the Pizza Topping
- 1 butternut squash
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tsp garlic puree
- 3 – 3 tbsp – 4 tsp Sunflower Oil or Vegetable Oil
- 80 g soft goats’ cheese
- Prepare the cauliflower. Remove the leaves. Cut into florets discarding the main stem (or put aside to use in a vegetable stock or soup). Place the cauliflower florets into a food processor or high speed blender and pulse until you have cauliflower rice. You may need to do this in two or three batches.
- Cook the cauliflower rice. Place the cauliflower rice into a bowl. Either steam it for 5-6 minutes, or microwave it for 5 minutes on full power.
- Strain the cauliflower rice. Tip the cooked cauliflower rice into a muslin cloth, gather up the edges of the cloth and squeeze the ball of vegetable to remove any excess liquid. Alternatively use a fine sieve. Transfer the cauliflower rice into a good sized mixing bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 210℃ / Fan 190℃ / Gas 6. Cut a sheet of greaseproof paper large enough to cover your large flat baking sheet (no sides). Set the greaseproof paper aside. Place the baking sheet into the centre of the oven.
- Finish the cauliflower mixture. Add the lightly beaten egg, two cheeses and seasoning. Mix together well.
- Shape the cauliflower crust pizza base. Lay the greaseproof paper on a large chopping board. Drizzle it with a little oil (1tsp) and spread it out either with your fingers or a pastry brush. Transfer the cauliflower mixture onto the greaseproof paper, compacting it into a circle about 1cm thick and 20cm in diameter. Drizzle over a little more oil (1tsp) over the pizza crust. Gently spread out the oil.
- Bake. Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven. Lift up the chopping board and carefully slide the pizza and greaseproof paper onto the hot baking sheet. Return the baking sheet to the centre of the oven and bake until it is a nice golden brown for 15-18 minutes. You may need to rotate the cauliflower pizza base half way through the bake.
- Cool. Remove the cauliflower pizza base from the oven. Set aside on a cooling tray until required. Preheat the oven to 220℃ / Fan 200℃ / Gas 7.
- Roast the butternut squash. Carefully slice the butternut squash into 2cm discs, keeping the skin on. Cut the discs in half (so they resemble the letter ‘D’). Place onto a baking tray and toss in a little oil. Place the thyme stems on top of the squash discs. Roast the squash for 20 minutes, turning the pieces over half way through. Once ready you should be able to prod them with a sharp paring knife with little resistance. Remove the squash from the baking tray and set onto a piece of kitchen roll to absorb any excess oil. Use a paring knife to peel away the butternut squash skin. Cut the squash into bite sized chunks.
- Prepare the tomato ‘sauce’. Place the tomato puree, garlic puree, and 3 – 4 tsp of vegetable or sunflower oil into a small bowl. Mix until combined.
- Place the baking sheet into the centre of the oven again.
- Assemble the pizza. Spoon the ‘tomato sauce’ over the pizza. Use the back of a spoon to spread it out. Scatter over the roasted butternut squash chunks (surplus squash could be added to a soup). Crumble over the soft goats’ cheese.
- Bake. Slide the assembled pizza onto the hot baking sheet (with the greaseproof paper). Bake for 8 – 10 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Sainsbury's Fresh Magazine.