One of the hardest things to give up when you're on a restricted diet is pizza. Using specialty flours that don’t contain any gluten, for example, can make for tricky baking. A pizza crust without any kind of flour is not only possible, however, it's surprisingly easy to create. The ingredients might seem a bit strange at first -- cauliflower is one of the main ones -- but the result is a flourless dough that both satisfies your craving and holds up under your favorite pizza toppings.
Preparing the Cauliflower
Cauliflower behaves like a starch although it contains no carbohydrates. Start by washing and removing the outer leaves from a large head of cauliflower. Process the vegetable raw in a food processor until it is fluffy and resembles rice grains, or grate it by hand using a cheese grater. Two to 3 cups of grated, raw cauliflower will make enough dough for one 9-inch round pizza crust.
Cooking the Cauliflower
Cook the grated cauliflower in a microwave or regular oven, or on the stovetop. Whichever method you prefer, squeeze out the excess water to keep your crust crisp. Allow the cauliflower to cool before handling. Place the vegetable in a kitchen towel draped over a bowl, and squeeze out the water into the bowl. Transfer the squeezed and cooked cauliflower to a new bowl. The cauliflower bits will clump together even before they are mixed with the other ingredients. Three cups of raw cauliflower will yield about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of cooked cauliflower.
Shaping the Dough
Mix the cooked cauliflower with an egg and about a cup of shredded cheese for each cup of cauliflower. Choose a blend of cheeses, such as mozzarella and Parmesan. Save your reduced-fat cheeses for the pizza topping, because the fat in the cheese is needed here to crisp up the crust. Boost the amount of herbs and seasonings, such as garlic powder or Italian seasoning, to add flavor. Use your hands to mix the ingredients and form a ball. Expect the dough to be sticky.
Prebaking the Crust
Pizza dough made without flour can be shaped just as you would regular dough, but for best results, line your baking sheet first with lightly greased parchment paper. Press the dough onto the parchment until you have the desired size and shape, and aim for a thickness of 1/4 inch. Lightly brush the dough with oil or cooking spray. Prebake the crust in an oven set to 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes. If baking individual-sized pizzas, flip the pizza crust halfway through cooking for even browning. Set the oven to broil, add your favorite pizza toppings and bake the pizza until you achieve the desired doneness.
Using Other Methods
Adapt the cauliflower recipe to accommodate vegan diets by substituting ground almonds for the cheese and using flax eggs. Other grain-free recipes use a combination of ground nuts, such as cashews and almonds, to make a dough leavened with baking soda. For best results, add only cooked vegetables and meats as toppings for a flourless pizza crust, and use a pizza baking stone for even and consistent browning.
For more than 10 years, Carol Butler has run a small, off-grid furniture business with her husband and is a regular contributor to the Edible community of magazines. As staff writer for RichLife Advisors, she covers financial planning and other industry-related topics. She holds a B.F.A. in theater arts.