You are going to love this recipe. So much healthy goodness piled into one meal, and no bread = no bloating! After many (many) attempts, I’m proud to call this the BEST vegan cauliflower pizza I have ever made, so I really hope you get to re-create it and appreciate it also. The humble cauliflower is one of my favourite vegetables, and can be used in such a myriad of ways in place of things like potatoes and flour.
Cauliflower pizza crusts have been a bit of thing for a long while now, and typically involve replacing the flour with the cauli, adding eggs, cheese, and a bunch of Italian spices.
However – making an entirely vegan crust is a bit of a different matter. I found lots of fab recipes online that had really simple instructions to just switch out the cheese for nutritional yeast (yep – that will work, flavour wise but not texture wise), and the eggs for flax eggs (flax meal + water).
No. Not quite as simple as that I’m afraid.
Here’s why: cheese aside, eggs are what really make the pizza. They are fabulous binders so much so that removing the flour isn’t so much of a big deal (especially when you have melted cheese on your side). If you remove both – you're in for a bit of a mess. You’ll get something that is soft and mushy, or just crumbles and falls apart once baked.
The solution? Flax eggs are a great idea – so let’s stick with them, but, instead of just relying on the cauliflower, add a bit of chickpea flour. Of all the flours, it works a treat as a binder as it holds so much water. There’s nothing chickpeas can’t do when it comes to vegan, GF baking/cooking. So you’ll see in this recipe, I’ve whipped up a dough, then left it to stand for 20 minutes, to let the flax and chickpea flour do their awesome-water-absorption-thing. The end result? Well, it’s still a cauliflower pizza, so whilst it is amazing, we can’t miraculously make it crunchy. In saying that, although still a little soft, you can definitely pick it up with your hands to enjoy. Big tick.
The best surface for baking cauliflower pizzas:
- Cook on a pizza stone, which is pretty much a slab of stone used to make and cook your pizza in the oven, to mimic a restaurant, stone-fired oven. Heat it up first, then place your pizza on top and cook. It disperses the heat and absorbs moisture, avoiding a soggy bottom
- Or, cook it on a pizza tray, the next best thing, and not as expensive. They’re made of aluminium and because they are so thin, heat up rapidly so there’s no need to pre-heat them before use
The Best Vegan Cauliflower Pizza
Aside from tasting yummy, it’s nice and healthy. A run-down on the main ingredients:
Cauliflower replaces flour making this lovely and light and totally gluten free. Cauliflower, a cruciferous vegetable, is a great food for the liver – it has the ability to support detoxification pathways by inhibiting phase I and inducing phase II enzyme activity – as excess phase I reactions can result in a build up of toxic intermediary metabolites.
Liver detox 101: the process of liver detoxification refers to the liver’s ability to decrease the impact of toxic substances on bodily processes. The process involves the biotransformation of molecules into a water soluble state ready for excretion and elimination by the body (for example, via the urine). This occurs in two key enzymatic reactions that take place in the liver, phase I and phase II reactions. These reactions need to be balanced, as intermediates produced in phase I reactions can be extremely harmful – ideally you want to have those phase II enzymes working efficiently to swiftly deal to these intermediates, and plenty of antioxidants around to neutralise any damage they cause.
Cauliflower also supports detoxification pathways due to being a rich source of sulphur. Sulphur-rich foods (including garlic and onions) can help boost your glutathione levels. Glutathione is required in the phase I and II reactions described above. Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant and a powerful detoxifying agent.
Cauliflower (and other cruciferous vegetables) also contain glucosinolates – which are widely regarded as anti-cancer compounds.
Flax meal is made from grinding down fresh flax seeds. They are a great source of dietary fibre and omega-3 essential fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic acid. Flax meal is readily oxidised so should be kept in the fridge or freezer to remain fresh. When mixed with water they create ‘flax-eggs’. The general formula is 1 tablespoon flax meal to 3 tablespoons water.
Chickpea flour has awesome water-binding powers and is a fantastic source of plant protein. 1 cup will provide just over 20g protein.
Are another sulphur-rich food that can help with endogenous glutathione production. They are a great source of the flavonoid quercetin – which has 3.5 fold the antioxidant activity than curcumin (in turmeric). It has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic actions. Read up more about onions in my recent post here, Raw Onion Bread.
Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast grown on the top of molasses. It is a rich source of protein (4g per tablespoon) and B vitamins, which are required for energy production in the body’s cells. It has a cheesy taste so is often used in plant-based recipes as a dairy alternative. In fact, you may like to try my Brazil Nut 'Parmesan' recipe out here.
Roasted Tomato Sauce
Last week’s recipe was a gorgeous homemade roasted tomato sauce. It is thick and delicious and makes for a great pizza topping. Tomato sauce is the richest source of the cancer-protective antioxidant, lycopene.
This vegan cauliflower pizza is topped with rocket, a bitter green. Bitter foods help support the digestive system, they help stimulate bile flow and pancreatic enzymes. Other examples are dandelion greens, watercress and raddichio.
[bctt tweet="Tried and tested totally vegan, gluten free Cauliflower Pizza! Try it here."]
Hopefully that’s inspired you to give this recipe a try!
The Best Vegan Cauliflower Pizza - Gluten Free
FOR THE CRUST:
- Half a head of cauliflower thick stalk and outer leaves removed (mine came to 470g)
- 2 large onions peeled and quartered (mine came to 425g)
- ½ cup chickpea flour
- 2 tablespoons flax meal
- 6 tablespoons water
- 1 heaped tablespoon nutritional yeast
- Leaves from a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Homemade roasted tomato sauce
- Fresh Rocket
- Squeeze of lemon
- Drizzle of quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- Pre heat oven at 200˚C.
- Chop the cauliflower into small florets and steam till you can just pierce with a fork, then let cool.
- Add cauliflower and onions to a food processor and blitz till fine, then transfer to a nut milk bag or place in fine cheesecloth, and gently press out all of the excess water. Don't skip this step - it helps ensure your pizza isn't soggy.
- Meanwhile, add the 6 tablespoons water to the flax meal in a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes, this is your egg replacer.
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and use your hands to work them together into a dough. Let stand for 20 minutes to allow flax and chickpea flour to absorb any remaining water.
- Line a pizza tray with baking paper, and press dough evenly over the surface.
- Fan bake for 25 minutes, at which point, you will want to remove from the oven, slide the pizza onto a plate, flip it back onto the pizza tray, and spread a thick layer of tomato sauce. I have topped mine with fresh rocket,avocado and lemon, but if you want to add other vegetables/mushrooms, now's your chance.
- Return to oven for another ten minutes (total oven time, 35 minutes), then enjoy!
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tag me @ascensionkitchen so I can see your creations!
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