Recipe: A lighter, healthy pizza | The Indian SCENE

Recipe: A lighter, healthy pizza

Don’t worry, this vegan alternative will pleasantly surprise you.

Courtesy Jothi Moorthy
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Love pizza but dislike the bloating, sluggishness and discomfort that follows? Look no further. This healthy version of pizza is packed with loads of veggies and uses an easy-to-make cauliflower pizza crust base.

This recipe is also gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, low carb, keto and paleo. If you’ve never tried cauliflower pizza crust, your skepticism is understood. But give it a try — you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how delicious it is.

PART ONE: Cauliflower Crust

Ingredients:

Preparing the cauliflower “rice”:

In this recipe, cauliflower is the main ingredient used to make the pizza “dough.” Start by making cauliflower “rice.” Cauliflower “rice” or “pearls” can be made in a food processor. If using fresh cauliflower, cut the cauliflower into 1-inch florets and steam until tender. If using frozen cauliflower, skip this step. Add the florets to a food processor in small batches. Pulse until small rice-sized pieces are formed. Note: to save time, you can also buy cauliflower “rice” from a grocery store.

Making the pizza dough:

The next step is to remove moisture from the “riced” cauliflower. This ensures that the cauliflower pizza crust is light, airy and won’t fall apart when baked. You can use a nut milk bag, cheesecloth or dish towel to remove remaining moisture. Make sure you squeeze out as much water as possible because excess moisture will result in a soggy pizza crust that might fall apart. Let this sit for a few minutes to cool.

To make the vegan flax “eggs,” mix the ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and set aside to allow to thicken.

Then, mix the cooled cauliflower “rice” with the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Mix all the ingredients until they form a soft dough. If the dough is too dry, add up to 2 tablespoons of water for a proper dough-like consistency.

Making the cauliflower pizza crust:

Preheat the oven to 415 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Placing the crust directly on the baking sheet may cause it to stick, making it difficult to lift the pizza crust once baked. Transfer the dough onto the lined baking sheet and spread into a thin layer. Keep the crust at about 1/4 inch thickness — spreading too thin may lead the crust to fall apart when picked up. Bake the pizza crust for 25 to 30 minutes or until slightly golden-brown and crisp on the edges. Add an additional piece of parchment paper on the pizza crust, carefully flip the crust over and return it to the oven for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

A no stress, no mess option: If making the cauliflower pizza crust sounds daunting and time-consuming, no worries, you can still make this recipe by opting for a store-bought cauliflower pizza crust.

PART TWO: Vegan Cashew Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of raw cashews soaked in water for 2 hours
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

Drain the cashews and place them in a food processor along with the nutritional yeast, pink salt, garlic powder, lemon juice and water. Pulse the ingredients until they are blended. Add more water for a creamier, thinner cashew cheese, use less water for a thicker consistency.

PART THREE: Making the Pizza

Ingredients:

  • Your favorite toppings
  • 3 tbsp marinara sauce

Add marinara sauce to the cauliflower pizza crust you’ve prepared. For a Keto friendly recipe, skip this step. Add your preferred toppings and return the pizza to the oven for an additional 6 to 8 minutes. Spread the cashew cheese on the toppings and return to the oven for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Enjoy!

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