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  • Kellie Blake RDN, LD

You Mean, I CAN Have Pizza?

     On my quest to heal myself with nutrition and alternative therapies, I have been dramatically changing my diet.  I have always kept my diet somewhat in check, but now, I am eliminating gluten and dairy.  So, I’m left with finding alternatives to some of my all-time favorite foods!  Pizza is one of those foods!  I didn’t order pizza out that often, but when I did, it was all the way – absolutely NOTHING healthy about it.  But, sometimes, I would just make a frozen pizza at home when I didn’t feel like cooking.  I found a thin crust pizza, moderate in fat and calories that I LOVED!  But, traditional pizza is made with wheat, which contains gluten, and lots of cheese (dairy, dairy, dairy).  So, I decided to try and perfect my cauliflower pizza crust and search for a dairy based cheese alternative. 

     Making cauliflower pizza crust is a great way to cut fat, calories, refined carbohydrate and reap the benefit of the fiber and nutrients in cauliflower.  But, most cauliflower crust recipes include Parmesan cheese.  I read that crushed almonds can be used as a substitute for the cheese.  While making the crust obviously takes significantly more time than throwing a frozen pizza in the oven or getting online to order take-out, the benefits far exceed the time it takes to make this crust!  It’s been fun learning and I like the challenge of trying new recipes.  Plus, I have the comfort of knowing exactly what I’m putting into my body and can better stay on track with my goals.

1. Preheat oven to 450°

2. Rice 1 head of cauliflower (put cauliflower chunks into a food processor and blend until making a rice consistency

3. Place cauliflower in the microwave and cook for 6-8 minutes

4. Put 2/3 cup almonds in a food processor and process into a fine powder

5. While the cauliflower is cooking, chop up any ingredients for your pizza topping (I used red and white onion, red and green bell peppers)

6. When the cauliflower is ready, allow to cool and using a clean dish towel or paper towel, ring out the cauliflower to dry as much as possible (excess liquid will cause your crust to be soggy).

7. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg and add Italian seasoning (2tsp) and garlic powder (1tsp) and mix well.

8. Add ½ of the riced cauliflower to the bowl and ½ of the processed almonds.  Mix well to create your “dough.”

9. Transfer the dough to a prepared pan (I used parchment paper to line my pan) and mash out with a spoon or spatula into pizza shaped crust 

10. Optional:  add 1 tbsp olive oil to your crust and spread evenly

11. Bake your crust for 15 minutes

12. Repeat steps to create a second pizza crust while the first is baking

13. Once your pizza crust comes out of the oven, add your pizza sauce, toppings, and cheese, or in my case cheese substitute and bake again for 10 minutes.

Finished product

14. Once my pizza has finished baking, I like to let it rest under the broiler for a couple of minutes to really melt the cheese

I used uncured pepperoni and Daiya shredded mozzarella cheese substitute, which are both excellent!

The nutrition information for my pizza per slice:  131 calories, 3.8g protein, 8.8g carbohydrate, 10.1g fat, 2.3g fiber

   I am learning to choose healthier alternatives in an attempt to improve my quality of life.  I don't have to give up my favorite foods, I just have to make an effort to find the healthier version.  The great thing about this recipe is it makes 2 crusts, so I was able to make a more traditional pizza for my husband, and the dairy free version for myself.  I ate 2 pieces for dinner with a big salad and have enough pizza leftover for 2 more meals, which helps with my meal prep for the week!    

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