As I’ve probably said before, I am generally averse to food products that carry the “something-free” label. It strikes me as far too radical, and when I see it, I feel anything but free. People who categorically ban certain things from their diet (unless of course they are allergic) are as mysterious to me as marathon runners. I think I am missing the gene which drives people to do such things. I would say I am more a proponent of moderation, and that goes for carbs and running, although I exercise much more restraint with running than carbs. This of course can get frustrating in our all-or-nothing society where, for example, drinks are either saturated sugar solutions or zero calorie concoctions. I’m the one who orders things half sweet and half unsweet, half decaf and half caf, etc. On second thought, perhaps it’s actually indecisiveness more than moderation…
In any case, I do not claim to be right (I am reminded of one of my favorite moments of Fiddler on the Roof when Tevye, after conceding two opposing arguments, gets told, “they can’t both be right,” to which he responds, “you know, you too are right!”) and there are times when abstaining from certain things is the way to go. It is useful, then, to find alternatives to things we enjoy but cannot or choose not to eat for any number of reasons. I’ll also admit that reduction of refined carbohydrates in our diet is probably something we should all shoot for.
So when my uncle Paul and cousin Ben sent an email suggesting I try a gluten-free cauliflower pizza, I thought I’d go ahead and try. I was a bit worried about texture and sticking, but it came out fine and you could pick up a piece with no problem. I adapted the recipes I found online slightly by adding chick pea flour because I thought that with only cauliflower, it would not be very filling (and of course I would add a little carb to a low-carb dish for good measure!). I was also thinking of that lovely, crispy, olive oil- and chickpea-based pancake called socca that one finds around the Mediterranean. Almond flour is another option when filling out this crust.
I think it tasted quite good. I’m not going to say it tastes just like bread-based pizza because it doesn’t, but it has its own appeal and I enjoyed it. It is also very nice as a side dish without the toppings. Just bake it, slice into pieces, and serve as you would a wedge of corn bread.
Alternative Pizza (“Gluten-free” if you must)
- 1/2 large cauliflower head, or 1 small, chopped in the food processor
- 3/4 cup chick pea flour
- 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
Sauté cauliflower with a bit of water until soft. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool several minutes. Next add the rest of the ingredients and blend. Press pizza crust into desired shape on a piece of parchment paper.
Here is my cousin Ben deftly forming his cauliflower pizza:
Bake at 350 until golden.
Top with whatever toppings you choose and return to oven. Bake until toppings are hot and bubbly. Slice and serve!