Following a Paleo, or a gluten and dairy free lifestyle, is not boring! Just past two years into my Paleo lifestyle has rewarded me with the ability to polish up on my meat protein substitutes and increased my gastronomic abilities, to suit the purposes of everyday Paleo, even when abstaining from all meat proteins.
In attempting this vegan pizza base, I worked closely with a vegan recipe, slightly adapted for my requirements. I enjoy working with almond and tapioca flours to create a smooth pizza dough and, in using cauliflower, I used a flour method of blending the cauliflower as described in the method for making this base. Regular egg is substituted with a chia egg mix, as described in the ingredients, which held this pizza together beautifully, making it even softer and more pliable than using regular eggs. It also gives these pizza bases a wheat-included look. The nutritional yeast flakes add the cheesy taste to this base and may be omitted.
Using a pre-heated pizza stone to bake the base gave these bases a store bought pizza finish. I made two bases with the ingredients below, one a thinner crust with moderate crispiness and the other a thicker based crust which was crispy and “more baked”. Both pizza’s were finished off with individual flavours. One with a slightly bland, yet herby taste and the other with a piquant, spicy taste. The pizza sauce which is a blend of slow roasted Rosa tomato’s, blended with fresh basil, fresh green chilli, garlic, salt and pepper, delivered a full-bodied taste, that appealed to my taste buds.
Toppings of choice (I used oven roasted butternut, baby marrow, red onions and red peppers) add the additional flavours that you seek.
This recipe may be used for a conventional cauliflower pizza base, replacing the chia seeds with 2 large eggs.
Approximately 700g cauliflower florets (raw weight)
2 chia eggs (2 tblsp chia seeds soaked in 6 tblsp water for 5 minutes until a gelatinous state is reached)
3 tblsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional – this provides a cheesy flavour to the pizza base)
2 tblsp almond flour OR 1 tblsp coconut flour
1 tblsp ground chia seeds / chia flour (I used Superfoods brand, however, you may omit)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp Himalayan or Sea salt
½ -1 tsp dried basil
½-1 tsp dried oreganum
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Optional: for a spicy option omit the dried herbs and add a handful of chopped fresh coriander, 1-2 green chillies finely chopped and / or 1 tblsp crushed red chilli
- Preheat oven to 230° C. I used a pizza stone to bake the pizza base on and preheated it in the oven.
- To create the pureed cauliflower, chop all the cauliflower florets into small pieces, place into a blender and blend until pureed (it doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth).
- Lightly steam cauliflower for about 10 minutes or until slightly soft, puree again to create a soft puree. (You may want to omit this stage if you prefer a chunky pizza base)
- Place the lightly steamed cauliflower into a nut-milk bag or clean kitchen towel, over a large bowl and squeeze the excess water from the cauliflower.
- Let the cauliflower sit within the nut-milk bag or kitchen towel for about 5 minutes, returning to squeeze any remaining water.
- Discard the cauliflower liquid. The end result will resemble a firm puree.
- Combine the remaining ingredients into the large bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Spread the “dough” into either 1 large pizza shape or 2 small pizza rounds on a piece of baking paper that will be placed on the hot pizza stone. You may use an oven tray or pizza tray, lined with baking paper
- Avoid spreading the “dough” too thin as the moisture will cause it the crack and pull away from rest of the dough, 2cm is a good thickness for the base. I covered the pizza “dough” with baking paper and rolled over it with a rolling pin to smoothen out and further “seal” the dough.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and firm to touch. You can flip this half way through the baking process to make sure both sides are cooked well to your liking. If turning the half cooked base, do so carefully as the base may come apart.
- Remove the cooked pizza base from the oven and top with your favorite toppings.
- Bake directly on the pizza stone or pizza tray for another 10-15 minutes at 200°C or until the toppings are cooked as desired.