The one thing I was super bummed about when I started a low carb keto diet (a.k.a. ketogenic diet) is that I would have to give up pizza. I absolutely LOVE pizza and always have. There are low carb pizzas in the freezer case at the grocery store, but I am trying to stay away from processed foods as much as possible, and I'm pretty sensitive to gluten, even in small amounts.
When I first heard of the cauliflower crust I was pretty skeptical. CAULIFLOWER?? Yuck. I mean, I love the cauli-mashed potatoes and the cauli-rice too, but it seemed to go pretty far to say that cauliflower could replace a gluten filled (or even gluten free starchy) crust.
Well let me tell you, I have just created the mecca of low carb, gluten free, vegetarian pizza. I have actually made pizza MULTIPLE times this weekend trying to make a fairly crispy cauliflower crust, and the results have been amazing to say the least! My other family members that are not low carbers even said that they would eat this pizza, and the confused and surprised looks on their faces when they tasted the pizza were priceless!
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With this cauliflower crust pizza, you can actually pick up a piece and not have wetness on your hand. You don't need to use a fork to eat it! The key to making a good non-soggy cauliflower crust is not only to get the cauliflower as dry as possible before cooking it, but to manage the wetness that will appear out of nowhere as you're pre-baking the pizza crust. Also, you'll see that I found that FLIPPING the crust over during baking makes a big difference in the crispness of the crust! Follow my directions below EXACTLY for a great crust.
For an analysis of ALL of the low carb pizza crust recipes that I've tried so far, please see my Low Carb Pizza Summary Post. It's super geeky!
1 – 13 inch gluten free, low carb keto pizza, cut into 8 pieces (4 servings)
Time in the Kitchen
total 30-45 minutes (less if you use store bought frozen or fresh cauliflower “rice”)
- box grater or food processor with the grater attachment
- 2 silpat-like liners — (used greased parchment paper at your own risk – see comments for tips as there's been varied results with parchment)
- 2 identical baking / cookie sheets (I recommend USA Pans brand) that the silpat liners will fit on
- 1 cooling rack big enough to cool the finished pizza on
- 1 large cotton cloth napkin or kitchen towel (not terrycloth, the flat kind)
- paper towels (for blotting)
Ingredients for the Crust:
- 1 medium head of raw cauliflower (5-6 inches in diameter), grated in a box grater (you should have 2-3 cups raw cauliflower ‘rice' after grating) — OR — 2-3 cups of frozen or fresh cauliflower rice (don't you love that they have this now in the stores?)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese – NOT the ‘fresh' type of mozzarella but the harder kind (don't pack the cup tight, but not loose either)
- 2 Tablespoons finely grated parmesan or romano cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon dried Italian seasoning (mine contains: garlic, onion, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, savory)
Ingredients for the Pizza Toppings:
- 1/2 cup low carb pizza sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
- For carnivores: pizza meat of your choice: pepperoni, cooked ground sausage
- vegetables of your choice: onions, mushrooms, peppers – PRE-COOKED if possible, or at least thinly sliced, to reduce wetness
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- dried Italian seasoning for dusting the top
1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
2. Grate the head of cauliflower with a box grater or food processor with grating blade, put in microwave safe bowl and microwave for 3 minutes, or roast in the oven in a foil covered bowl until done. Here's what it looks like completely cooked, just like cauliflower rice:
3. Let the cauliflower cool until it's just barely warm, then dump it in a flat cotton napkin or kitchen towel (not the fuzzy terrycloth kind as the cauliflower will get stuck in the grooves). Pick up the corners of the towel and squeeze as much water out of it that you can. You'll have to do this over the sink, and more water will come out of it than you think! Twist it in the napkin/towel to get even more water out.
before wringing out the water:
after wringing out the water:
4. Dump the squeezed cauliflower in a bowl and add the egg, the 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 2 Tablespoons of grated parmesan and 1 Tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning. Mix thoroughly.
5. Line your first baking sheet with a silpat liner (use greased parchment paper at your own risk) and dump the bowl of cauliflower / cheese mix onto it. Pat the mixture into a crust that's fairly thin but with no holes. My pizza in the picture is 13 inches across.
6. Blot the top of the raw cauliflower crust with paper towels, then cook the crust for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.
7. Take the crust out of the oven and let cool a bit. Blot the top with paper towels (be careful not to burn yourself). The top of the crust should be browned, if it isn't turn your oven to broil and broil it for about 4 minutes. The browned top of the crust will eventually become the bottom of your pizza.
8. Blot again with paper towels if necessary. Now you will need to flip the pizza crust onto the other baking sheet with silpat liner. After flipping, blot the steaming crust and put back under the broiler for 5-10 minutes, watch closely until it browns without the edges burning. Here is the flipped pizza crust before the second broiling:
9. You now have a completed cauliflower crust! Add the sauce, then mozzarella, then meat/vegetables, then a bit more mozzarella, then parmesan, and top with a sprinkling of the dried Italian seasoning. NOTE: thinly sliced veggies work best since they cook faster and don't pool water on the pizza
10. Broil for 5 minutes until the cheese is browned. Let the pizza cool for at least 10 minutes on a cooling rack (you should be able to easily slide it now) before cutting it with a pizza cutter.
Once cooled a bit, you can see how it's easy to hold the pizza in your hand, just like normal pizza!
Please let me know if you make this recipe and how it went! I also love to hear if readers make any improvements or have ideas. Please share in the comments!
Per 2 slices of a 13 inch pizza cut into 8 pieces, with toppings of pepperoni, cheese & sauce:
- 12 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 8 g net carb, 24 g protein, 25 g fat, 351 calories
Per 2 slices for the crust only cut into 8 pieces, no toppings:
- 9 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 5 g net carb, 13 g protein, 7 g fat, 145 calories
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