cauliflower pizza crust with kale pesto (a meatless monday post)

cauliflower pizza crust with kale pesto // kitschandcamera.comcauliflower pizza crust – all the rage now, no?  i’d been intrigued by the idea, but skeptical.  why go through all the effort of making a cauliflower crust that mimics real pizza, instead of just indulging and having the real thing?  in general, i don’t love the idea of substituting one thing for another; cauliflower is fantastic on its own, why try to make it be something it’s not?cauliflower pizza crust with kale pesto // kitschandcamera.comwell, i was wrong. cauliflower pizza is legit.  not only is it super simple to make, but it really does form a dough similar to glutenous pizza dough!  it manages to be both chewy and crispy, yet light and somewhat sweet (although admittedly – it is a more fragile crust).  i was quite pleasantly surprised and will definitely be adding this to my weeknight repertoire.cauliflower pizza crust with kale pesto // kitschandcamera.combut let me back up for a second.  i’d first like to highlight my obsession with green kitchen stories – where i got the recipe for this delightful crust. if you haven’t already drooled over luise and david’s blog or cookbook, do so.  simple yet creative whole foods recipes – coupled with stunning photography. their pantry list alone is an inspiration.cauliflower pizza crust with kale pesto // kitschandcamera.commy sister, equally zealous in her love of whole foods, owns the green kitchen stories cookbook, called vegetarian everyday.  during my visit up to her home in frigid vermont last weekend, we nestled into her cozy apartment to cook, lots – and warm ourselves by the heat of the perpetual oven.cauliflower pizza crust with kale pesto // kitschandcamera.comwe knew we wanted to make something from the gorgeous gks cookbook, and quickly settled on the cauliflower pizza crust- too intrigued by this idea we’d heard so much talk of.cauliflower pizza crust with kale pesto // kitschandcamera.comtopping decisions were the only ones left – but that was easy. cravings of mushrooms and broccoli plus a plethora of garden kale and what other cheese do you have in vermont but cheddar? cauliflower pizza crust with kale pesto // kitschandcamera.combelow is our recipe, adapted from vegetarian everyday based on our experience. we created our own toppings and also adjusted the measurements slightly.

i encourage you to try making this, and to let me know your thoughts!  i’m curious how others’ came out, because i think this crust recipe has a lot of room for nuances in flavor & texture. bon appetit!cauliflower pizza crust with kale pesto // kitschandcamera.com RECIPE: CAULIFLOWER PIZZA CRUST with KALE PESTO serves 4

(adapted from green kitchen stories’ recipe- Green Pizza with a Cauliflower Base):

//ingredients:

  • CRUST
    • 1 head cauliflower
    • 1.5 cups almond flour or meal (ground almonds)- see recipe notes below
    • 3 eggs, beaten
    • dried herbs (oregano, basil, rosemary)
    • salt
  • PESTO
    • 3 kale stems
    • juice of 1/2 lemon
    • 2 oz feta cheese (or cheese of choice, most would work)
    • 1 tsp honey
    • 1/2 cup almond meal
    • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • TOPPINGS
    • 1 tbsp butter
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • handful of mushrooms
    • 1/2 onion
    • 1 tomato
    • VT cheddar cheese
    • feta cheese

cauliflower pizza crust with kale pesto // kitschandcamera.com

//directions:

  1. preheat the oven to 400.
  2. puree the cauliflower in a food processor until a soft “rice” is formed.  remove from food processor and pat to dry with a towel to remove some of the moisture.  set aside.
  3. remove remaining cauliflower debris from the food processor, which you’ll now use to make the pesto.  puree pesto ingredients until smooth, adjusting to taste.  set aside.
  4. in a mixing bowl, combine cauliflower “rice” with almond meal, salt and dried herbs.  once thoroughly mixed, create a well in the center of your bowl and add the egg.
  5. slowly mix in the egg by folding the dough towards the center (similar to kneading), until incorporated.
  6. line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and roll out the dough so it’s ~1/4″ thick.  keep the edges thicker so that it makes more of a crust.
  7. place pizza in the oven, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown in color.
  8. while the pizza is in the oven, prepare the toppings.
  9. melt butter in a skillet, add onions & saute 3 minutes. add mushrooms and saute 5 more minutes. add broccoli and saute an additional 2-3 more minutes. remove from heat and set aside.
  10. roast tomatoes with a bit of salt to get them to break down and release their juices, around 8-10 minutes.  set aside. (this step isn’t necessary, just a personal preference; they tomatoes will still cook more on the pizza later.)
  11. remove crust from the oven, smear with kale pesto and top with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms & broccoli.  grate cheddar cheese to top.
  12. cook an additional 8-10 minutes.

//recipe notes:

  • we found we needed more almond meal than the recipe called for, likely due to the fact that our cauliflower was so moist.  the original recipe called for only 3/4 cup almond meal.  i recommend starting with that and adding more as you see fit.  it could easily vary based on the size and density of your cauliflower.
  • i think it’d be fun to add seeds or chopped nuts to the crust (for instance chia seeds like in this post or sunflower seeds) – to add a nice crunch!
  • keep an eye on cooking times.  our pizza was on the higher end because we really loaded on the toppings.

cauliflower pizza crust with kale pesto // kitschandcamera.comas a final note, i will warn you: if you’re deeply craving pizza, please don’t have this.  indulge and have a slice of real, glutenous pizza.  because in spite of the lovely airiness of the crust and the light cauliflower/sweet almond flavoring, nothing can truly substitute real pizza crust.

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