Sunday, June 17, 2012

Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

The magic ingredient in the crust is cauliflower.

With the addition of an egg and some goat cheese, the crust held together nicely; I was even able to hold a slice in my hand and not have it disintegrate, though it was a bit floppy near the tip. It held together even better when I ate a slice cold the next morning.

This crust is more granular and crumbly than regular pizza because, without additives like xanthan gum or guar gum, there really is no exact equivalent to the structure you get with the gluten in flour. As a result, the mouth-feel is much lighter than a dough made from flour. A flour-based crust, even a thin one, has a certain weightiness to it.

To look at it, though, you'd certainly think that there was some flour in the crust.

This was delicious, and a nice low-carb indulgence, and, as you can see from the photos, totally recognizable as pizza.

I used a sauce seasoned with a lot of garlic, basil, oregano and anchovies, topped it with marinated artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, 3 kinds of olives (Kalamata, oil-cured black and oil-cured green olives), feta, an assortment of cheeses (mozzarella, provolone, fontina, asiago, cheddar, romano and parmesan) and garnished it with fresh basil.

Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust


  • 1 head cauliflower1-1/2 ounce goat cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan
  • extra parm, about 2 more tablespoons


1.  Put the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse it until it is really finely chopped, about the sixe of rice grains. I had to do it in 2 batches. Then, put the riced cauliflower in a microwave-proof 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup. I had almost 4 cups exactly of the cauliflower (though not packed down). Nuke it for 6 minutes in the microwave, taking it out to stir once halfway through. Put it in a fine-mesh strainer, and push it down with the back of a ladle to help squeeze out the moisture.

 *Here's one thing I forgot to do this time that I did last time - once the cauliflower cools down, put it in a kitchen towel, twist it into a ball and really squeeze out more of the moisture. This step helps a lot getting out all the excess moisture. Cauliflower holds a lot of water. 

2. Once the cauliflower has drained, dump the squeezed cauliflower into a large bowl, and break up the clumps with a fork. Added the crumbled goat cheese and egg along with the granulated garlic, parm, basil, and oregano, and mix it up really well

*This time I forgot to add almond meal, which I did last time and I really think it improves the texture and helps bind it better. I'd guess about 1/4 cup of almond meal. 

 3. Once it forms a pretty nice clump, mind you, it won't be nearly as cohesive as a ball of dough, line a cookie sheet or pizza pan with a sheet of parchment paper. This is CRITICAL. I didn't do it the last time and the bottom of the crust burned and stuck to the pan. Place the mixture on the center of the pan and gently pat it out, flattening it and shaping it the way you want it. It's going to be kind of sticky, but that's ok. Then sprinkle a tiny bit more parm on top, then bake it in a 400 F oven for 35 minutes.

* Next time, I think I'll go lower and slower (300 F and an hour or more) with it to dry it out and firm it up a bit more, because it was just a tiny bit too moist.

 Then top it with your sauce and toppings and put it in a 450 F oven for 5 - 7 minutes, depending on how browned you want your cheese.

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