Everybody loves pizza - It's just so high in carbs! Clearly, it's a big "no-no" for a low-carb diet.
So, I spent a while figuring out the best way to make a low-carb alternative that looks and tastes like the real pizza. During my cooking experiments, while I was trying to find out way to make the base, I've came across recipes with "cauli-rice". Recently, I discovered that the original cauliflower pizza crust comes from yourlighterside.com: truly an amazing recipe! I have to admit I was slightly skeptical about using cauliflower. On the plus side, all the ingredients in this recipe are easily obtainable. So, I decided to try it out and after a few attempts and several adjustments, I came up with this recipe. It really smells and tastes surprisingly close to real pizza. Sure, it's not like the traditional delicious Italian pizza but it's a very good compromise...Verdict: I absolutely loved it!
The key with this recipe is to bake the crust separately before you add the toppings. This crisps up the cauliflower and cheese, so it is capable of holding the sauce and toppings. The whole pizza is about 820 kcal and 17 g of net carbs. Just for comparison, an average pizza has more than 1000 kcal and more than 100 g of net carbs! Also, this alternative pizza is suitable for those with gluten intolerance.
The biggest challenge during my pizza experiments was getting the base right. The dough just kept being wet, saggy and very fragile. It simply didn't hold together.
Here are my tips for this recipe:
- Dry the Cauli-rice well. Extra moisture is not good for baking and will cause the pizza to be soggy.
- Using whole eggs will only make the pizza base more fragile. Use just egg whites instead.
- Remember to bake the crust separately before adding any toppings!
- Cook the pizza base thoroughly for 15-20 minutes. This is important for the base to get crunchy and firm.
- As a topping I also tried fresh tomatoes. This unfortunately made the pizza too soggy. Be careful with toppings that contain moisture. Make sure the base is not too thick: 1/4-1/2 inch (1/2-1 cm) is enough!
Nutritional values per serving (slice, 1/8 pizza):
|of which Saturated||2.7||grams|
Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (7.6%), protein (23.5%), fat (69%)
Ingredients (per pizza):
- 1 tbsp tomato purée (15g / 0.5 oz)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ tsp dried fennel seeds
- ¼ tsp dried flaked chilies
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp fresh basil
- ½ cup sliced brown mushrooms (36g / 1.3 oz)
- 10 slices pepperoni ham (20g / 0.7 oz)
- ¼ cup grated mozzarella cheese (28g / 1 oz)
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
Note: When looking for ingredients, try to get them in their most natural form (organic, without unnecessary additives).
- First, rice the cauliflower. You can find the instructions here. Place the cooked Cauli-rice into a towel and squeeze all the water out of it. It is important to get the rice as dry as possible so that there won’t be extra moisture in the crust. Drying Cauli-rice will help the pizza maintain its crispiness.
- Preheat oven to 450 F / 225 C. In a bowl, mix the riced cauliflower with the egg white, grated mozzarella cheese ("pizza type", low-moist) and Parmesan cheese, dried basil and oregano, garlic powder (you can also use one crushed garlic clove) and salt.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or place on a non-stick tray. Press the cauliflower mixture evenly on the prepared pan. I kept the crust pretty thin, about 1/4 inch thick. Spray with some extra virgin olive oil. This will help the pizza get nice and brown. I made the pizza almost square but you can make any shape you like.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the crust is firm and golden brown. After cooked, remove the tray from the oven and set aside. Keep the oven on.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pizza sauce. Mash the garlic, chop the basil and place with the rest of the ingredients into a small bowl. Mix with a spoon (or blend).
- When the pizza base is nice and brown, spread the sauce evenly all over it.
- Top with grated mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and sliced mushrooms. Sprinkle with freshly chopped basil leaves. Place in the oven and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get burnt!
Any suggestions? Please, leave a comment :-)