The Smitten books are made up of four novellas (one by each of us), but the four heroines—in this case, book club members and BFFs—appear in each story, and a central arc runs through the entire book. The four of us have been best friends forever and the chance to write this novella collection based on a lovely little town was the ultimate thrill! To brainstorm the stories, we met in a log cabin in Indiana for a retreat with our publishing team. We could’ve done this by email, but where’s the fun in that? The whole trip was like the ultimate girls’ weekend, with lots of time for talking and laughing over meals. Not only was it soul-filling time together, but we actually came away from the cabin with the story’s plot. Colleen is the health nut of the crew, and is always on the hunt for her next perfect gluten-free recipe. She made this cauliflower pizza for all the girls one night during the retreat. Denise was sure she’d hate it because she never met a vegetable she liked! Colleen proved her wrong and she had seconds, though she gives a “no comment” about trying to recreate it at home herself…
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Yield: One 10-12 inch pizza
A delicious, gluten-free alternative to bread crust, this pizza crust is made with ground cauliflower, cheese,and spices, and topped with homemade pizza sauce.
Adapted from theluckypennyblog
For the pizza:
1 small to medium sized head of cauliflower
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (crush it even more between your fingers)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (crush it even more between your fingers)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
A few shakes crushed red pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon almond meal (optional, see note)
1 egg (see note)
Your favorite pizza sauce (see Homemade Pizza Sauce recipe)
Cheese for pizza topping
Favorite pizza toppings
For the Homemade Pizza Sauce (makes about 2 cups):
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 small to medium onion, diced
3 – 4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups no-salt tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Place a pizza stone (or baking sheet, if you don’t have a pizza stone) in the oven. Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Place a piece of parchment paper larger than the size of your pizza on a baking sheet and spray it with nonstick cooking oil. Wash and thoroughly dry cauliflower. Cut off the florets, and pulse florets in a food processor for about 30 seconds or until the mixture is the consistency of powdery snow. You should end up with 2 to 3 cups ground cauliflower.
- Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Microwave for 4 minutes. Place cooked cauliflower onto a clean tea towel and allow to cool. When cauliflower is cool enough to handle, wrap it up in the dishtowel and wring the water out. Squeeze out as much water as possible to ensure a chewy pizza-like crust.
- Place cauliflower into a bowl, and add cheeses, salt, basil, oregano, garlic powder and red pepper and almond meal if using. Add egg and mix in with your hands. Once combined, use your hands to form the mixture into a crust on your oiled parchment paper. Pat it down thoroughly. You want your “dough” to be sticky.
- Slide the parchment paper with the crust onto your hot pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake for 8 – 11 minutes, until crust starts to turn golden brown. (Make sure the crust is golden in color before proceeding as cooking it the proper length of time helps hold the crust together.)
- If using home made pizza sauce, prepare sauce while crust is baking. To make the pizza sauce: Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes, until garlic is golden and fragrant. Add the tomato sauce, sugar, and seasonings, and stir. Once sauce begins to bubble, reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for at least 15 minutes.
- Remove pizza crust from oven. Add sauce, cheese, and toppings to taste. Slide parchment with topped pizza back in the hot oven and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and slightly golden. Allow it to cool for 1-2 minutes. Slice with a pizza cutter and use a spatula to serve. The slices will be floppy, but they shouldn’t be crumbly.Notes
Add almond meal if yield is closer to 2 cups of ground cauliflower. Don’t add almond meal if you have closer to 3 cups of ground cauliflower. If you’re using a larger sized cauliflower, add an additional egg white and more seasonings if you wish.