You know those recipes that substitute something awesome-but-naughty for a healthier alternative? Like brownies with applesauce instead of oil. Or spaghetti squash instead of actual pasta. The results aren’t the same but are usually different in a tolerable way. One such substitution that I’ve always baulked at is cauliflower-for-carbs. Like instead of rice or mashed potatoes. I mean COME ON. Sometimes, there’s just no good way to replace an ingredient without seriously compromising the taste of a dish. Except a recipe I tried recently totally blew that theory out of the water.
Before I share the recipe, I should mention that since my surgery, I’ve finally completely cut out white flour and sugar, both of which are essentially like crack for me, with white flour having the added bonus of wreaking total digestive havoc. Several years before my surgery, after finally internalizing how poisonous sugar was to me, I fell into a pattern of eschewing it for months and months, followed by having lots of it during a short period, then remembering how shitty it made me feel, and thus quitting it again for months and months. I’d switched to whole wheat pasta and tried to focus on whole grains but still often ate white flour. Honestly it felt totally impossible to quit both.
When I was very sick right after my surgery, I had a tiny bit of white flour in the form of Saltines and as I felt better, had more and more even though it was only in small amounts. I quickly realized that it’s much better for me to cut it out completely than to try to eat it as though my body and mind treat it normally. It’s difficult but I know it’s much better for me and I feel so much better, which I try to remember when I’m craving a huge bowl of pasta and 15 cupcakes.
So I’ve been on the hunt for satisfying recipes that contain neither white flour nor sugar. Mainly I’m eating a lot of fruits and vegetables but sorely miss some guilty-pleasure foods like pizza. Sure, I could have a few bites of regular pizza but I know what it will do to my mind and body so I was looking for an alternative when I saw a link on Pinterest to this recipe for mini-pizzas with a cauliflower crust. I know it sounds totally ridiculous and revolting but I have to be willing to try stuff like that if I’m going to make it without white flour and sugar so I bought the ingredients and gave it a whirl. And folks? They are freaking delicious and there really isn’t that much of a cauliflower taste. I don’t know why but I’m SO glad, because it’s satisfied my yen for pizza. The one caveat is that the cauliflower crust doesn’t hold together in an absolutely stellar fashion. It doesn’t completely disintegrate but don’t expect a sturdy, bready result. (If you have any suggestions for fixing this, I’d love to hear them!) Here’s my version of the recipe:
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Grate 2 cups worth of cauliflower.
- Saute it with a bit of olive oil for a few minutes, just to take off the raw edge.
- Mix it with:
- 1 cup of cottage cheese (I use 1% milk fat)
- Italian seasoning to taste (I use a few teaspoons)
- 2 egg whites
- Warning: this concoction looks and smells disgusting. Avoid taking a wiff!
- Spray a muffin tin with Pam.
- Press a tablespoon or so of the cauliflower mix into the divots of a muffin pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove muffin pan from oven and top each crust with:
- A teaspoon of sauce (I use tomato basil)
- A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
- A piece of turkey pepperoni
- Bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese is melty.
- Let them cool before gingerly removing them from the muffin pan.
I refrigerated mine in 3-piece portions and packed them in my lunches. They were about room temperature by the time I ate them. I didn’t try reheating them because they were delish as is. Enjoy & feel free to share your tips and recipes in the comments.