Vegan Cauliflower Pizza

IMG_3888I LOVE pizza. It is just the best food on the planet. If I could eat it everyday, I would. But pizza is SO bad for you. Cheese, bread, processed meats–it’s a vegan’s worst nightmare, and kryptonite for just about anyone trying to eat healthy. So, I decided I had to make one up myself.

Care for a bite?

So juicy and flavorful! Care for a bite? 🙂

I kept hearing about cauliflower pizza, after doing some research online I saw that the most common method was vegetarian (made with eggs) and not vegan. Plus, one of the main complaints for both kinds was that you basically couldn’t eat it like a normal pizza and picking it up, because the crust was too weak and crumbly. A weak pizza crust that crumbles when you try to pick it up? No thank you!

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I did a couple experiments in small doses, and I saw that the secret was not only adding 1 type of flour, but 2. I realized that adding the chia egg plus almond meal or brown rice flour wasn’t enough. You had to have a mix. So I ended up with a cauliflower crust mixed with a chia egg, brown rice flour AND chickpea flour. The result was perfect! No weak and crumbling pizza crust here! In fact, you could even pick it up and fold it together to eat, as some pizza lovers like to do.

Ta daaaa! No weak, crumbling crust here!

Ta daaaa! No weak, crumbling crust here!

So, I am happy to present to you my very own non-crumbly and very tasty vegan cauliflower pizza!

Let us begin!

For the cauliflower crust you will need:

– 1 large head of organic cauliflower

– 1/2 cup brown rice flour

– 1/2 cup chickpea flour

– 3 chia eggs. These are made with:

      – 3 tbsp chia seeds plus 6 tbsp water (1 chia egg = 1 tbsp chia seeds + 2 tbsp water)

– 1/2 tsp garlic powder

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1/2 tsp pepper

– You will also need one cheesecloth, nutmilk bag or thin dish towel. This is to drain the moisture from the cauliflower once it has cooked (more details in Step 2 below)

For the sauce you will need:

– 1 can organic fire roasted tomatoes

OR

– 1 can organic pasta sauce (I prefer pasta sauce than tomato paste, as it has more flavor)

For the toppings you will need:

– sliced mushrooms

– sliced tomatoes

– sliced black olives

– sliced onions

– fresh basil

– vegan cheese (I used almond cheese on some of mine, this is also optional as well. You can buy it at your local health food store or in the vegan/vegetarian cheese section. Almond cheese is typically about 97% fat free)

IMG_3874Step 1:

– Wash and chop up the cauliflower and put in a pot with water. Boil until tender, about 15 minutes or so

– While the cauliflower is boiling, take a mug, put the 6 tbsp of water in it and add the chia seeds. Soak the chia during this time to activate the seeds and turn them in a gelatinous composition. This is also known as a “chia egg”, and is the vegan equivalent of a chicken egg

Step 2:

When the cauliflower is done, drain the water and mash the cauliflower as best as you can. It can still have chunky consistency if you wish, but you do want it to resemble more of a thick dough than cauliflower rice. Next, take your cheeesecloth/nutmilk bag/dish towel, place over a container or pot, and put the cooked cauliflower inside. This is to help drain all the excess moisture out, so we can be left with only the cauliflower dough-consistency

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Cauliflower draining and cooked chia seeds side by side

Hold your draining towel with cauliflower over your pot, and twist, turn and press the cauliflower in the bag to drain out the moisture. Watch as the water drips out of the bag:

Water draining from the cooked cauliflower and into the pot

Water draining from the cooked cauliflower and into the pot

Once the water has stopped dripping consistently, take out of the bag and place it in a mixing bowl to add the rest of the ingredients. Your cauliflower will start to resemble a dough-like consistency:

Fully drained cauliflower. Your cauliflower should look something like this once all the water has drained!

Fully drained cauliflower. Your cauliflower should look something like this once all the water has drained! This is nothing but cauliflower! 

Step 3: 

Next, you are going to add in the rest of your ingredients, starting with your chia egg. Dump the entire contents of your mug into the cauliflower, and mix it around. Be sure to mix it thoroughly before adding the rest of the ingredients. Once the chia egg is fully blended in with the cauliflower, add the brown rice flour, chickpea flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Mixing the cauliflower dough together!

Mixing the cauliflower dough together!

Step 4: 

Next, we are going to form the pizza crusts and get ready for baking. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and either grease a baking tray or line a tray with parchment paper for cooking.

Place a large scoop of dough on your tray, and either form it into a ball, square or mold it to your tray, depending on what you are going to use. This recipe amount can make 2 large cauliflower pizzas or 6 smalls ones, so choose your trays accordingly.

I used 1 large tray for baking and formed my own mini pizzas, making 4 round ones and 2 rectangular ones

I used 1 large tray for baking and formed my own mini pizzas, making 4 round ones and 2 rectangular ones

Put into your over and bake, about 20 minutes or so. While the crusts are baking, you can move on to prepare your pizza toppings!

Step 5:

While the crusts are baking, you want to grate your vegan cheese (if you are using it) and chop up your vegetables

Delicious vegan pizza toppings! We have almond cheese, fresh mushrooms, black olives, tomatoes, onions and basil!

Delicious vegan pizza toppings! We have almond cheese, fresh mushrooms, black olives, tomatoes, onions and basil!

If you are using a jar of tomato sauce or paste, take this out as well. If you are using tomato chunks, take this time to blend the chunks up to make the paste for your sauce, or make your own tomato sauce/paste during this time. I myself use tomato sauce compared instead of tomato paste for pizza. I love the flavor and it turns out great!

I myself prefer this tomato sauce compared to tomato paste for the pizza. I use this for my vegan pasta and it tastes delicious!

Muir Glen organic tomato sauce. I love this flavor and use it both for pasta and pizza

Step 6:

Once the cauliflower crusts are fully cooked, take out of the oven to let it cool down. When fully cooked, the crusts should look golden light brown:

Fully cooked cauliflower pizza crusts

Fully cooked cauliflower pizza crusts

Step 7:

Now comes the fun part: decorating your pizzas! Add the tomato sauce, then cheese (if you are using it), and all the different vegetable toppings you want!

I put some with cheese, some with just tomato sauce, and with the two rectangle ones on the right I actually used hummus!

I put some with cheese, some with just tomato sauce, and with the two rectangle ones on the right I actually used hummus!

Here are some of my regular vegan pizzas: Topped with tomato sauce, vegan almond cheese,  tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and black olives. You can go crazy with your toppings, there is no limit! This is all I had in my fridge though, haha.

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I also did a bit of an experiment, and this was to use hummus as a substitute for tomato paste. It came out great, so I suggest you try it! I used my sundried tomato hummus recipe. Click on the title or this link for the recipe!

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The two top rectangular pizzas have sundried tomato hummus as a substitute for tomato paste, and the two on the bottom have tomato paste.

Step 8: 

Once you have loaded up your pizzas, put them back in the oven to cook, about ten minutes or so.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are using basil, DO NOT add this in to cook with the rest of the ingredients. It will turn dark brown and crunchy, and make your pizzas look horrible (I found this out the hard way)! Add it fresh at the end, as soon as you take your pizzas out of the oven.

They look soooo good!

They look soooo good! I added in the basil at the last minute of cooking, so they partially baked into the pizza toppings

Step 9:

If you have fresh basil as a topping, add it to the pizza at this time. Let the pizzas cool for a bit, then you can go ahead and serve!

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Clockwise from top: Pizza 1 with tomato sauce, vegan almond cheese, tomatoes, onions, black olives and basil. Pizza 2 with tomato sauce, vegan almond cheese, mushrooms, onions, black olives and basil. Pizza 3 has tomato sauce, mushrooms, black olives and basil.

Here are my two hummus pizzas and one vegan pizza:

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Clockwise from top: Hummus pizza with sundried tomato hummus instead of tomato paste, mushrooms and black olives. Pizza 2 with sundried tomato hummus, tomatoes, onions and basil. Pizza 3 has tomato paste, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions.

This last pizza was solely to use up my extra ingredients, and it actually came out the best, haha. Topped with vegan almond cheese, tomatoes, black olives and onions.

This last pizza was solely to use up my extra ingredients, and it actually came out the best, haha. Topped with vegan almond cheese, tomatoes, black olives and onions.

Here is a close up of my hummus pizzas, which I will now call “Mediterranean style”. 🙂

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On the left, topped with sundried tomato hummus, tomatoes, onions and basil. On the right, a simple topping of sundried tomato hummus, black olives and mushrooms

Look at that! You can actually pick it up and eat it like a normal pizza! No crumbling pizza here!

Look at that! You can actually pick it up and eat it like a normal pizza! No crumbling pizza here!

Here I have cut the pizza in half so you can get a look at the dough, its thickness and what it looks like. You can also make the pizza dough thinner, but I thought this was a good amount of thickness.

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You can serve these as a meal, they are great as party snacks (you can make them bite size) or as a vegan dish to make for you friends! Either way, these cauliflower pizzas are tasty, satisfying and so good for you! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

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Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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