I confess that lately we have been getting used to eating pizza once per week. It tends to occur when we end up on our lazy Friday night plan... you know, when you end up staying in, just wanting to chill on the sofa watching a movie with a bottle of wine. Of course this ends up with no-one wanting to cook resulting, as always, by the pizzas. We don’t end up ordering just any pizza thou, they are actually the best ever fresh homemade pizzas we’ve tried. Strangely, I always end up ordering the same one; thin dough with mince beef, spicy chicken, bacon, red onion and chilli cheese. (I know, you put a stone on just reading it). I have tried other combinations of others ingredients, but mysteriously, I always come back to my preferred order.
Eating a few slices of pizza on the odd Fridays night wouldn’t be a big issue if it weren’t for the fact that my stomach gets all bloated after eating them. Luckily, this annoying discomfort is gone the next day. So then the big issue turns into getting rid of the guilt of having ingested so much crap calories the night before... aah life is complicated sometimes !
So the idea of enjoying pizza without “mea culpa” was something I had in mind for some time now. Not only would it have to be a healthy Paleo version pizza, which nowadays is easy thanks to the different varieties of flour in the market, but it also had to be a GOOD pizza. One that makes you wanna make it again and again and again.
I’ve tried the main types of Paleo flour without success. Coconut flour is good for dense nutrient baked food such as muffins or breads but not for pizza. On the other hand, a pizza crust made mainly from almond flour is lighter to eat than one made from coconut flour, but it tastes too nutty for my liking and over powers the rest of flavours.
However one of the star ingredient to make Paleo crust pizza was still untested by me: that was Cauliflower. It’s funny, I’ve made
Paleo bread loaf and curry muffins using this vegetable many times before, but every time I came across a mouthwatering pizza crusts made from cauliflower, I couldn’t help but read the recipe with some certain amount of disbelief. “Can be this real?” I often wondered. So, because of my lack of belief, and not having the right tools to make it, I’ve been putting off the idea of trying to make it for myself... well until now.
I always had a small niggling fear that the crust would taste too much of cauliflower. Whilst I do like cauliflower, I didn’t like the idea of a cauliflower flavoured crusts pizza at all. However, after tasting this Indian cauliflower crust pizza, I can say without any doubt that it tastes soo good, it is better than any traditional flour based bread crust pizza!
The cauliflower gives slightly its flavour to the pizza but not enough to hide the flavours from the other ingredients. Not only is it easy to make, it’s also very light on the stomach which is very different to the more heavier coconut flour crusts. Truly, I was astonished and over-joyed when I found out I had finally got my perfect pizza base: a light and fluffy texture with crispy edges. Just perfect.
The method of cooking was quite fun for me. Using my two times-used food processor I got for Christmas, I blitzed the cauliflower until finely chopped, like rice, I stemmed it for five minutes in the microwave and then, using a tea towel, I squeezed as much of its liquid out of the cauliflower as I could. The almond flour, eggs, oregano and plenty of seasoning did the rest.
For the filling, I wanted something different from the basic ingredients you find on a pizza. So instead I spread a light spicy cucumber-chilli sauce to replace the tomato sauce, followed by a layer of minced lamb and topped with pomegranate seeds, raw red onion slices and fresh mint leaves. The result was this exotic Indian cauliflower crust pizza with cucumber-chilli yogurt that for sure will be on our Friday night plan for more than one future occasion.
indian cauliflower crust pizza with cucumber-chilli yogurt
Exotic Indian cauliflower crust pizza with cucumber-chilli yogurt, minty lamb, red onion and pomegranate seeds. The perfect Paleo and gluten free pizza for your Friday night dinner!
Prep: 15 minutes | Cook: 40 minutes | Ready In: 55 minutes | Serves 2
750 gram Cauliflower, chopped (for the crust)
100 gram Blanched Almond Flour, (for the crust)
2 pieces Egg Whites, beaten (for the crust)
1 Tbsp dried Oregano, (for the crust)
1 pinch Salt and Pepper, (for the topping)
1 pieces Cucumber, small (for the cucumber yogurt)
250 gram Plain Greek Yogurt, (for the cucumber yogurt)
1 pieces Hot Chili Pepper, RED CHILLI, finely chopped (for the cucumber yogurt)
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided (1 Tbsp for the cucumber yogurt, 2 Tbsp for the topping)
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice, (for the cucumber yogurt)
1 bunch Mint Leaves, (for the topping)
400 gram Ground Lamb, (for the topping)
200 ml free range, organic, Chicken Stock, or lamb stock (for the topping)
1 Tbsp Pomegranate, seeds (for the topping)
1/2 pieces Red Onion, sliced (for the topping)
Heat oven to 200C/400 F.
Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and trim the stalk end, then cut into chunks.
Chop a small amount of cauliflower in a food processor until chopped as rice. Transfer to a microwavable bowl and repeat until ending all cauliflower.
Once the cauliflower is chopped in the bowl, cover with cling film and steam in the microwave in high temperature for 5-6 mins until softened.
Then, transfer the cauliflower rice onto a clean tea towel and leave to cool a little.
Once cool enough to handle, scrunch up the tea towel and squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the cauliflower, then transfer to a clean large bowl.
Stir in the almond flour, beaten eggs, oregano and plenty of seasoning and combine well.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment and grease with oil. Mound the cauliflower mix into the centre of the tray, then place a slice of parchment paper on the mixture and using a rolling pin spread out into a 30 cm round. Make it a little thicker at the edges to create a "crust."
Bake for 15-18 mins until golden brown and starting to crisp a little at the edges.
Meanwhile the cauliflower crust pizza is baking, halve the cucumber lengthways, scrape out and discard the seeds, then coarsely grate the flesh.
Place the cucumber flesh into a colander and drain for 5 minutes. Squeeze out as much moisture as you can, then transfer into a bowl.
Add in the Greek yogurt, red chilli, olive oil, squeeze of lemon and the mint and combine. Taste and season. Set aside.
For the topping, heat a frying pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil over a medium heat. Add the minced lamb and turn the heat up to high. Cook turning often and breaking up using a wooden spoon, until lamb is browned all over.
Add the lamb stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the lamb is tender and the stock has almost evaporated. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Let it cool.
Once the cauliflower base is cooked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool a little. Turn the oven up to 240C/475F.
Then, spread some yogurt over the pizza base, scatter the minced lamb and return to the oven for 10 - 12 minutes.
Turn the oven off and remove the pizza from the oven. Then, scatter over the pomegranate seeds, arrange the slices of red onion and top with some fresh mint leaves.
Serve with any remaining of cucumber-chilli sauce on the side.
By Laura | Lau Sunday cooks