“Who knew cauliflower was so versatile?”
I dedicate this post to two of my most favorite things: Pizza and Pinterest.
As you may already know, pizza gets me every time. I just can’t say no. And let’s get real, when are you not in the mood for a gooey slice of heavenly pizza pie?
The best pizza I’ve ever had was, of course, in Italy. I went with a small group of students (and my sister) in 2009 with my absolute favorite teacher/person at J.H. Rose High in Greenville, NC, Mrs. Amity Kea. We traveled through France and Italy, and I just could not get enough of Italy – Florence in particular.
Here’s a pizza pic in Florence:
And here is a pic of my sister and I eating delicious gelato on the streets of Siena:
Unfortunately, Italy is a little more than a couple blocks away. In that case, I have another favorite! Grandma’s pizza from Marabella’s in Greenville, NC is the bomb. It’s one of my favorite things about coming home from college. The crust is so fluffy and the sauce is homemade with herbs and spices that beat just about any delivery pizza I’ve ever had.
Another unfortunate fact is the nutritional content of most pizzas. Isn’t it a bummer?
It really doesn’t have to be.
I saw tons of posts about cauliflower bread sticks while browsing through Pinterest a few weeks ago, and I thought I’d give it a try. I figured the final result would not be nearly as tasty as regular pizza, but boy was I wrong. This recipe is good for you and will be sure to satisfy any pizza craving you have.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 large head of cauliflower
2 cups of mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning
1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 of a medium onion, chopped
2 large dried bay leaves
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and bring about an inch of water in a large saucepan to a boil.
Clean and cut the cauliflower, and then pulse it in a food processor until it is the consistency of rice.
Add the riced cauliflower to the boiling water and steam for 4-5 minutes, covered.
Drain the cauliflower with a fine mesh strainer and allow it to cool in the fridge for about 10 minutes.
Transfer the cauliflower into a clean dish towel and squeeze out as much water as you can, for as long as you can, as hard as you can. If there’s a lot of water left over in the cauliflower when you bake it, the crust part will be very mushy and soggy – yuck!
Dump the drained cauliflower into a large bowl and stir in 1 cup of the cheese, an egg, dried oregano and basil, and salt. I used fat free cheese for this recipe – I usually don’t do this, but it was in the fridge and it ended up working really well with this recipe.
Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and use your hands to form the cauliflower mixture into a rectangle about the size of a piece of paper.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and firm.
Once the crust is done baking, allow it to cool and then top with the rest of the cheese and Italian Seasoning. Bake for another 7-10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
Cut into bread sticks and serve with spicy marinara.
For the marinara -
Heat the olive oil and bay leaves in a large sauce pan and cook the onions until they are translucent.
Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper and simmer for 10-20 minutes.
So, yeah…I really like spicy food. You don’t have to be quite this ambitious with your marinara.
Transfer the contents into a food processor or blender, and blend until everything is combined and the sauce is of a smooth consistency.
For those of you who say you’d rather buy a big jar of marinara than make your own, change your mind! Marinara is so easy to make, and it doesn’t include all of those harmful ingredients that most store-bought products do. I made a batch of this for my cauliflower bread sticks and had a bunch left over to store in the freezer for the next time I need it. So easy!! So cheap!! So good for you!!
Enjoy these yummy “pizza alternatives” knowing you’re making your body proud! They taste amazing, and I would bet the average pizza eater wouldn’t be able to guess that these bread sticks are not really made of bread at all.