Roasted Cauliflower and Cornmeal Pizzas

by jilldahan on July 24, 2013

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The other day, a good friend came to lunch who bragged how she had made pizza from ground cauliflower with no one being any the wiser. Always up for a challenge – and a tasty way to incorporate veggies into an old favorite – my friend had barely stepped out the door before the blender was whizzing the first batch of cauliflower into crumbs. Needless to say, I had a few tasteless and flabby attempts before I created one I could put on the table for the real taste testers: my family. This was a challenge: it was a Friday night and we always ate a family favorite, Brooklyn style pizza, fresh from the pizzeria down the road. I served my new recipe alongside the restaurant pie. Are you sitting on the edge of your seats, anxious to know the result? Both were eaten completely, no one guessed what my pizza was made from, and, even better, most admitted they liked it better than the pizzeria pie. Success!

Later in the week I made several for some diehard cauliflower haters and these, too, were big hits. Armed with this success, I decided to take a chance and use this recipe in a kids’ cooking class I was teaching that week where I made a key discovery I must share. We had the ingredients prepared ahead. The kids mixed and assembled their pizzas, ready for the oven, and they looked fab. But when they came out and the first bites were taken, the results weren’t the same as I had experienced.  Several kids even went so far as to say their pizzas were disgusting! It was a total failure.

I had to figure out what went wrong so I went home and cooked them again and again. What I discovered was that the secret to the success of these pizzas is in the one step, no delay process of grinding the cauliflower, mixing it with the other ingredients, and then baking them immediately. After baking they can be set aside and topped and baked again a few hours later. Otherwise, if the cauliflower is just ground and left, or mixed and then left unbaked till later, the pizzas take on the sulfurous smell and taste that put many people off of this nutritious veggie. There can be no hanging about with this recipe! Make sure also that the cornmeal is fine and not course.

So, off you go and give it a whirl!  Cauliflower is in the same family as broccoli, which is super nutritious and has incredible benefits for our good health.

 CO02

Roasted Cauliflower and Cornmeal Pizzas

Makes one 9 inch pizza or a dozen small ones

Crust
1 ½ cups (8oz/225g) very finely ground raw cauliflower (in the blender is the best)
½ cup (2oz/55g) fine ground cornmeal
1/3 cup (1 ½ oz/45g) finely grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
1 large egg

Topping
½ a jar (3 ½ oz/100g) tomato paste
1 large garlic clove crushed
½ tsp dried oregano
Finely sliced mushrooms, red pepper, onions, spinach, basil, or whatever you fancy as toppings
1 cup (4oz/115g) grated mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan, or goats cheese
Chives to garnish (optional)

Directions

Grind the cauliflower and squeeze out any excess liquid just before using otherwise the sulfurous smell and taste will set in. Mix the cauliflower with the egg, cornmeal, oregano, and parmesan until combined.  Form into mini pizzas or one big one, all about a ½ inch thick, on a piece of baking parchment paper.  Bake immediately at 375F/180C for about 10-13 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove and reserve for later or spread with the tomato paste mixed with the oregano and garlic and then arrange toppings over and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake again at 375F/180C for about another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

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