I have to admit when I first heard about using cauliflower instead of bread or rice, I was more than a little sceptical that it would work—but it does. It’s true that this pizza doesn’t have the satisfying flavour of bread that we all love, but for those of you like me are sensitive to wheat, this is a good alternative. And even if you don’t have a wheat intolerance – I’d love you to cast your doubts to one side and enjoy this pizza that truly is tasty and good for you.
This recipe was inspired by an Anna Jones’s recipe in her wonderful book a Modern Way to Eat. The base is Anna’s recipe.
Ingredients for Pizza With A Twist
Creates 4–6 portions (depending on how hungry you are!)
- 1 small/medium cauliflower (approx 300 g – see note below)
- 100g ground almonds
- 100g oats
- half teaspoon dried oregano (or marjoram if oregano is not available)
- pinch sea or rock salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 organic or free-range eggs
- Baking paper or parchment
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes (make sure without sugar added)
- 20g baby spinach leaves
- small handful of fresh basil leaves – or a little extra spinach leaves
- 1 dessert spoon of sun-dried tomato paste such as Gia (if I use “Zest” I add a little more)
- 5-6 medium mushrooms – sliced
- 100g goats cheese roll – cut into small slices
- 4 cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/4 red onion – finely chopped
- drizzle of olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
Preheat over to 200°C or Gas Mark 6. Line a large baking sheet with a piece of baking parchment paper.
Break the cauliflower roughly into florets. Add to a food processor and blitz it until it is rice-like in texture. Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk eggs lightly with a fork. Add the cauliflower, ground almonds, oats, oregano, salt, and black pepper to the bowl. First with a wooden spoon, mix these ingredients into the eggs, then your hands – mix thoroughly into a wet-dough. Pour this dough-like mixture onto the middle of the baking tray. Knead it into shape, flattening it to about 0.5 cm thick. It can be round, oval, rectangular or square shaped – whatever you prefer. Slightly flute the edge of the base using your fingers to shape it. Place pizza base into the oven and bake for 20 minutes until the base is lightly golden.
Meanwhile, partially drain away the liquid from the tinned tomatoes (keep the juice for adding to soups or casseroles: it freezes well). Now the chopped tomatoes are more firm. Pour them into the food processor bowl. I don’t rinse away the residue of the cauliflower – it’s fine to do this. Add tomato paste and the 20g of spinach. Give the mixture a quick blast, but only to the point that the spinach is finely chopped.
When the base is cooked, remove from the oven. Turn the oven up to 230° / Gas mark 9. Pour tomato mixture over the base – spreading it to cover it. Then sprinkle onto the base the basil or spinach leaves, then add the mushrooms, tomatoes, red onion and lastly, the goats cheese. Grind black pepper over all of it. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Return to the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes until the cheese has become soft and golden.
It goes well with a mixed salad – but can be eaten by itself too.
Note for the cauliflower. I’ve made this dish many times and found that the size and weight of a cauliflower head varies tremendously. I’ve found that whilst it won’t matter if your cauliflower is slightly more or less than the 300 grams, if it’s a lot more, then the flavour of the base becomes too bland.
I’ve varied the toppings many times too. I found that Feta doesn’t work very well. Mozzarella is good – if you like it. Sweet peppers can replace the mushrooms. Anna’s original recipe used half a bulb of fennel. I like fennel, but I didn’t like it in this dish – but you might love it! Be adventurous and create your own toppings.
Eat Well—Be Well 🙂
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