Chef Amber Bailey

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Cauliflower Pizza with Fresh Ricotta, Roasted Apples and Balsamic Kale

Days off to me are not a successful day off unless I am doing something in the kitchen. Everyone has ways to relax, and one of my ways that I relax is trying out new recipes or ideas of things that I have been wanting to try or perfect. Days off are also when I try to clear out whatever food items I have in my refrigerator that are needing to be used before they can't be used any longer. So when I looked around yesterday to see what ingredients I had on hand, and this beautiful cauliflower head was staring back at me, I realized that this was a perfect time to try (for probably the 10th time) to make cauliflower pizza crust that wasn't limp and soggy.

I mean, don't get me wrong, the cauliflower pizza crust that I have made before wasn't terrible, it just wasn't anything very special either.. for some reason it always came out a bit too squishy for my liking. This time, I decided that it was going to come out perfect; so I read up online about making the crust end up a bit more crispy and easier to just be able to pick up with your hands and eat it (instead of the fork and knife method).

Here are some things that I found out:

  • Cauliflower has a naturally high water content; therefore if you just process it down in the food processor (or vitamix or blender or whatever you have at your house), and then just start adding your ingredients to make the "crust", the end result will be soggy because anything that is soaking wet will not get truly crispy when baking in the oven. Therefore, once you 
  • Adding binding ingredients is important - if you try to just process the cauliflower and then try to bake it, it's not going to work! You need some binder in there to really hold it all together. I used eggs and coconut flour (to make it gluten free) and the results were awesome, however I think that next time I am going to try a vegan version with a flax "egg" to see how it comes out.
  • Very thin rounds - Instead of doing a large one crust fits all type of thing, I decided to do 4 small individual type crusts. This made it easier for me to flip them during the cooking process so that both sides were equally crispy, and it also made it easier for me to make sure that the crusts were as thin as possible.
  • Parchment paper - I have made the mistake of thinking that using aluminum foil and cooking spray or oil would do the trick to make sure these wouldn't stick... I was very unsuccessful every time I have used anything except parchment paper. The crusts just lift right off and just makes it so easy for when you are flipping them over while cooking.

Okay, so those are my tips to success.. now here's the recipe for the crust!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

(vegetarian, gluten free, low carb)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head cauliflower, broken into pieces so that you can process it in a food processor
  • 1/4 cup shredded (or grated) Parmeggiano-Reggiano cheese *any hard, not easily melting cheese would work (asiago, romano, etc.)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 Tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 Tsp red pepper flakes (you don't need to add this, but I like a little kick in everything that I eat)
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning (if I had fresh oregano, parsley, and thyme in my fridge, I would of used those, but I didn't.. so I just used what I had)
  • 3 eggs, beaten slightly

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Process the cauliflower pieces in food processor until small, almost grain like in size. (This took me two rounds, because my food processor doesn't have the biggest bowl)
  • Remove the cauliflower pieces in batches into a cheesecloth (I didn't have cheese cloth just laying around my kitchen, so I used strong paper towels and just did it in two batches), once in the cloth, squeeze the cauliflower bits until it has released the excess moisture. Remove the cauliflower from the cheesecloth or paper towel, then place all of the squeezed cauliflower in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  • Add the remaining ingredients starting with the cheese and finishing with the beaten eggs into the mixing bowl with the cauliflower. Stir until combined.
  • Lined a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Equally divide the cauliflower mixture into 4 portions. Place one of the portions in a disc shape on the lined baking sheet, making sure that it is no thicker than 1/2 inch (the thinner it is, the crispier it will be). Repeat with the remaining portions of cauliflower mixture.
  • Place baking sheet in preheated oven, and bake for 25 minutes on the first side. 
  • After 25 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven, and flip the cauliflower crusts so that the side which was on the bottom, will now also brown and become crispy. *See side note
  • Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, and let stand for 3 minutes.

 

*When flipping the crusts, make sure to be careful so that they do not break when you are flipping them. Start at the corner edge and work your way through the crust so that it doesn't break when trying to flip over.

 

When I made my pizza, I was trying to use up whatever ingredients I had in my refrigerator that day. Anything that you feel like putting on a regular pizza would work just fine! But if you do want to do what I did, here's what I did:

Cauliflower Pizza with Fresh Ricotta, Roasted Apples and Balsamic Kale

  • 4 Cauliflower pizza crusts (recipe above)
  • While the cauliflower crusts are baking, start cooking and assembling the rest of your ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ricotta + 1 Tsp olive oil, mixed together (divided into 1/2 Tbsp portions)
  • Pinch sea salt flakes per pizza
  • 2 Apples, sliced and roasted (I used honeycrisp, they are my favorite. I just roasted the sliced apples at the last 10 minutes of my cauliflower crusts cooking time, no need to add anything to the apples, just slice and bake in the oven)
  • 2 Cups Balsamic Kale (how to: 1/2 small onion diced and sauteed for 2 minutes, 3 cups chopped kale, salt and pepper to taste, cook until kale is slightly wilted over medium heat- about 4 minutes, finish with 2 Tsp balsamic vinegar)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes per pizza
  • Olive oil, used to just drizzle over finished pizza

What to do:

  1. Take 1 crust and spread 1/2 Tbsp of the fresh ricotta mixture on top of it. Sprinkle the sea salt flakes over the ricotta.
  2. Fan out the apple slices over the ricotta (roughly 8 slices)
  3. Top with 1/2 Cup of the kale mixture
  4. Finish with the red pepper flakes and drizzle with olive oil
  5. EAT!

Ok so that's it! It may seem like a lot, but it only took me about 45 minutes to make these (including inactive cooking time). This really was something delicious and it was an absolute perfect light lunch. Please, if you have any questions about anything I posted here, please just leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for reading,

Happy Eating-

Amber