Vegetables and cheese.
I could live on vegetables and cheese.
(We’re taking sugar out of the equation for now, okay?)
Which would make this the perfect meal.
Zucchini, spinach and bell pepper with basil ricotta on cauliflower pizza.
Doesn’t that just look pretty?
(I meant the words. So many i’s, l’s, c’s…anyone? No? No. Okay.)
As much as I try not to jump on the low-carb bandwagon, I think it’s perfectly healthy to look for alternatives to traditional foods that call for small avalanches of white flour which, let’s be real, does that really do anything for you?
And getting more vegetables in—this is always a good thing. I think I tend to overdo the fruit most days, but not necessarily the vegetables. If I had to list the things I think my diet needs more of in order of importance, they would be:
– Sources of calcium
– Sources of iron
– B12, I suppose
Back to the pizza. It was rather time-consuming, but in an enjoyable way. At least, it was more enjoyable than studying for the GRE, which is what I should have been doing.
This is definitely not a recipe that I would make at school.
For one thing, it calls for ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped basil. That’s just enough basil to be more than nothing, compelling you to buy it, but not little enough to use up the smallest size pack of fresh basil usually found in grocery stores.
Luckily, I was able to stroll out to the backyard and decimate the three little basil plants growing among the army rows of lettuce. Don’t feel bad for the basil, though—the leaves were mostly bug-eaten anyway.
I was probably short a tablespoon or two of fresh basil, so I added a scant teaspoon of dried basil to the cauliflower cheese mixture.
This recipe, by the way, could be sped up by a few minutes if you buy pre-shredded mozz.
But I mean, you’d probably feel a little cooler grating it yourself.
Then mixing it with the “riced” cauliflower, which of course I didn’t take literally and grated it on the second largest application of the cheese grater even though “riced”=texture similar to rice, duh….well, it still worked. And then two eggs. And a smashed, minced garlic clove, which I enhanced with ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder because I was too afraid to use two extra-large cloves of garlic.
So you toss that in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Check yours at 12 if you have a super hot convection oven like mine and don’t want alarmingly crispy edges.
Then you smear some tomato sauce around on top. Well, you’re supposed to use marinara. I used canned tomato stuff because I am l-a-z-y 🙂
Then you can layer whatever you want on top! I went for a few spinach leaves, thinly sliced zucchini and a spontaneous handful of fresh bell peppers tossed on after they had already come out of the oven. Next time I’d let them wilt a little in the oven.
And don’t forget the basil ricotta!
Cheese is so delicious.
Especially in conjunction with other cheeses 🙂
The original recipe made 4 pizzas at approximately 300 calories each. I made five slightly smaller pizzas of varying sizes and didn’t bother to calculate the calories.
Soo…it turns out several other similar recipes call for the cauliflower to be steamed or cooked first. I grated the cauliflower raw and it turned out fine.
Better than fine, in fact. It had my mom raving! And my brother told all his friends…
…probably about how nasty it was. But he won’t admit it.
At least *I* liked it.
Basil Cauliflower Pizza
Barely adapted, due to limited ingredients, from the greatest blog name I’ve seen so far here.
Makes 4-5 individual pizzas
2 cups mozzarella cheese
2 cups raw grated cauliflower (grate on a cheese grater)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup fresh julienned basil
1 scant teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup marinara or canned tomato sauce (1/4 cup per pizza)
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 yellow zucchini, thinly sliced
2 cups spinach
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced (or whatever vegetables you want to use)
Basil Ricotta (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, spray with non-stick spray.
In a medium bowl, combine riced cauliflower, eggs, mozzarella, garlic, garlic powder, basil and dried basil. Divide into 4 amounts and press evenly on the parchment paper.
*you can omit the basil or sub it for others herbs of your choice.
Bake the crusts at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
*I went for about 15 minutes and wish I had checked it at 12–they weren’t overcooked, but on the verge of being too crispy.
Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Add tomato sauce and toppings.
Original recipe recommends dropping basil ricotta by the spoonful, then pressing it to be flat. I came up with an odd method of squishing it against my palm, then kind of pasting it on top of the pizza. I like my cheese to cover everything. But feel free to do what I’m sure is the more hygienic and easier way, with a spoon.
Place back in the oven until cheese is melted, about 5 – 10 minutes.
1 cup ricotta (I used low fat)
1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
pinch salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside until ready to use.