Saturday, 11 August 2012

Vegan Cauliflower Pizza Crust

For the past few years I've been reading a lot about the RAW lifestyle, where some people dedicate themselves to only eating raw foods. Absolutely nothing is cooked, even tea is steeped in the sunshine, rather than in boiled water.

There are those who are not as extreme, committing to eating 70 or 50% raw, and there are some raw foodists who cook some things at really low temperatures, such as 120 degrees or less (the temperature level is debated). One of the thoughts behind this is that when you cook food you are "killing" the nutritional content, enzymes, etc., and so to absorb as much good stuff as you can from whatever you're eating, eat it raw.

This lifestyle is quite interesting to me and, like I said earlier, I've been reading up on it for a long time. I even toyed with the thought of doing one week of only raw, or aiming to get as much raw as possible. I've found some raw recipes that I want to try, as well, such as cashew cheese - I guess I'm just trying to work up the courage. One thing that I do raw is green smoothies, I often have those for breakfast, and they are delicious!

This pizza crust I'm about to show you is not considered raw, but I did find it on a primarily raw food blog, Raw is Sexy. So, there's the connection. I thought it would be interesting to try, so I gave it a go.

Adapted from Raw is Sexy:

1 head cauliflower
1/4 cup oats
1/4 almond flour
1/2 cup nutrional yeast
3 flax "eggs" (a flax egg is 1 Tbls flax + 3 Tbls hot water)
whole wheat flour (optional)
salt and pepper (and other spices if you wish)
toppings of choice

Wash and roughly chop a head of cauliflower so it's small enough to put in the food processor.

Process until it becomes to size of breadcrumbs - it will only take a few seconds.

Add oats, nutritional yeast, and almond flour.

Add in your flax eggs. Mix 3 tablespoons of flax with 9 tablespoons hot water from the kettle and let stand a minute until it get globby. That may or may not be a real word.

Now I found it needed something to bind it together more, so I added a little flour, a spoonful at a time until I thought it was good enough. You don't have to do this, I was just feeling experimental (hence also adding the almond flour - thought it would give it some protein). Adding more oats would probably help, too. The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup. The flax eggs are what is supposed to bind it, but I felt like they didn't do anything but wet it a bit, although my flax seed was a little on the chunky side, the finer ground stuff might work better.

Once ready I put the dough on a lightly greased pan and gently worked it towards the edges, just like you would with real dough. You have to be patient during this part; it can be really sticky and therefore annoying when it comes off on your hands. Rub your hands with more flour or oil and it should help.

I put the oven on 500 and popped the crust in for about 35-45 minutes.

For my toppings I added stewed tomatoes, mushrooms, "caramelized" red onion, feta, and Parmesan cheese.

For the stewed tomatoes, I was basically making a pizza sauce with oregano, basil, garlic, and olive oil, but left the tomatoes chunky.

Add mushrooms, caramelized red onion...

And add the cheeses. Obviously I did not keep the toppings vegan :)

Bake until done, whenever that might be. I think I kept mine in for 15 minutes. Keep a watch on this yourself to see when it might be done.

I was pleasantly SHOCKED at how good this turned out. I admit, the whole time I was making it I was skeptical, especially since I didn't stick to the recipe and veered off in my own direction (which in the past has not always - well, pretty much never - been successful for me). I could have eaten this entire pizza and not felt one bit of remorse, although to be honest I'd do that with pretty much any pizza ;) Experiment on your own with this one, and add whatever toppings you want to it, just remember that the crust is delicate and might not necessarily look pretty plated. I considered putting an egg on this pizza, but wasn't sure if that would turn out so well. If someone ever tries that, please let me know!

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