Let me explain. Last month, whilst sitting restlessly on board a plane bound for TLV, routinely flicking through stacks of food mags, I found myself affronted, yet curious: “Cauliflower Pizza: No More Dough, Get Clean with a Cauliflower Crust”. COME ON. They were trying to f*** me off.

My disdain did not derive for the push towards a healthier alternative, but rather, the insinuation that any form of dough was now dirty. Would you say delving into a deep-dish Dominoes on a dreary Sunday is dirty? Well, probably. How about biting into a thin-crusted, wood fired, mozzarella melting, dough baked PIZZA, is that dirty? No. Obviously.

Moving on (or else we will be here for a while), ignoring the ridiculous title and always curious to experiment with cauliflower, I succumbed. More than a little sceptical, I was more than pleasantly surprised. Flavourful, adaptable and easy to make.

A winning recipe for the wheat intolerant sufferers, trendy gluten-free goers and like me, the longstanding cauliflower lovers. Moreover, it is completely customisable, feel free to swap veg for meat, no cheese, more cheese, no chilli, more chilli… you get the gist.

  • LEVEL: Easy
  • Prep: 15 Mins
  • Cook: 30-40 Mins
  • SERVES: 6-8, as a side
  • Dairy Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

INGREDIENTS

for the BASE

1 large cauliflower (800g)
100g ground almonds
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. zatar
2 tbsp. parmesan, grated
olive oil, to grease
sea salt
black pepper

for the SAUCE

1 can chopped tomatoes (227g)
1 tbsp. tomato puree
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp. harissa paste
1 tsp. pomegranate molasses (or maple)
10g fresh basil, leaves picked
sea salt
black pepper

for the TOPPING  

3 courgettes, sliced lengthways
1 medium red onion, cut into wedges
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
150g burrata or mozzarella
25g parmesan
1 tbsp. zatar
1tbsp. chilli flakes
10g fresh basil, for serving
sea salt
black pepper

Method

1. First, preheat the oven to 180C. Line a large baking tray with parchment, grease with oil and set aside.

2. Then, break the cauliflower into florets and blitz in a food processor, until fine. Transfer to a microwave-proof bowl and loosely cover with cling film. Microwave for 4-6 minutes, until softened.

3. Tip the cooked cauliflower onto a clean tea-towel (or muslin sheet) and allow to briefly cool. Scrunch the tea towel to remove as much water as possible.

4. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and stir in the ground almonds, eggs, oregano, zatar, parmesan and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper.

5. Tip the cauliflower onto the prepared baking tray and spread into a round (or rectangular) layer. Using your hands or spoon, make the base as thick or thin as you desire, ensuring the edges are slightly thicker to create a crust. Place in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes (less if very thin) or until golden brown.

6. Whilst the crust is cooking, turn to the sauce. In a food processor, blend the canned tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic, harissa and seasoning. Transfer to a small saucepan and add the pomegranate molasses. Bring to simmer and cook for 10-15 mins, until thick. Add seasoning to taste, tear the basil leaves and stir into the sauce.

7. Now, the topping. First, the courgettes. Place in a bowl with the half the crushed garlic and 1 tbsp. olive oil, season and toss. Using a griddle pan (on a high heat) cook the courgettes in batches, 2-3 minutes on each side, until charred and cooked through. Transfer to a plate.

8. Remove the cooked cauliflower base from the oven and turn up the temperature to 220C. Drain the buratta (or mozzarella) and dry with kitchen towel. Spread the sauce evenly over the base, sprinkle with parmesan and arrange the veg and burrata on top. Scatter over the chilli flakes and zatar. Return to the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes.

9. Tear the basil leaves and scatter on top. Serve immediately!