Cauliflower Crust Pizzette with Heirloom Tomatoes [CYOB]

With thick slices of heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, and a light Greek yogurt topping, this cauliflower crust pizza is healthy, flavorful, and the perfect bite for a summer night.

With thick slices of heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, and a light Greek yogurt topping, this cauliflower crust pizza is healthy, flavorful, and the perfect bite for a summer night.

Create Your Own Bite #27

 For Crust (Serves 2)

1 Cup Cauliflower Rice

1 Cup Light Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded

1 Large Egg, Beaten

1 Teaspoons Dried Oregano

2 Cloves Garlic, Minced

1/2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder

Salt and Cracked Black Pepper, To Taste

For Toppings (Serves 2)

1-2 Tablespoons Non-Fat Greek Yogurt, Plain

Assortment of Heirloom Tomatoes, Approximately 1 Pound

Fresh Picked Basil, Torn

1/2 Teaspoon Olive Oil

Estimated Calories: 150 For Crust, 200 With Toppings, Per Serving. (Serves 2)

Is there anything cauliflower can’t do?

That’s the first thing I asked myself when I saw the recipe for thin-crust pizza dough made out of riced-cauliflower.

No, I’ve decided. There’s nothing cauliflower can’t do.

The inspiration for this dish came from a number of unexpected places: my first taste of flammekeuche with my friends from France at La Tarte Flambée.  This Alsatian restaurant in the Upper East Side specializes in flammekeuche, and my friends were not going to let me live another day without trying this traditional flatbread.

A vegetarian "flammy,"  the Provencale, topped with creme fraiche, basil, and tomato - the inspiration behind my Cauliflower Crust Pizzette.

A vegetarian “flammy,” the Provencale, topped with creme fraiche, basil, and tomato – the inspiration behind my Cauliflower Crust Pizzette.

Paper-thin like a crepe and exceptionally crispy, the traditional flammekeuche is topped with crème fraiche, thinly sliced white onion, and lardoons – a French-style Bacon.  Of course, the varieties are endless, and I flexed my high-school French by ordering a Biquette Flammekeuche, “sans jambon, s’il vous plait.” Even without the bacon, the crumbled goat cheese and drizzle of flower honey was one of my favorite samples of the night.

While I spent the next few weeks digesting, I started investigating how I could achieve that delicious balance of flavor from the creamy-tart crème fraiche and the wood-fired tarte, without delving into the dangerous realm of pizza.

Meanwhile, I was on my way to the gym (naturally), and passed by the farmer’s market at Borough Hall in Brooklyn, where I was lured in to a tasting of heirloom tomatoes. Never had I seen such a large assortment of brilliant, colorful, peculiarly shaped tomatoes.

I tried thick wedges of a variety that looked like a single flame, known as an Orange Russian, fuchsia Brandywine tomatoes, Black Pineapple tomatoes, and something so pale yellow and sweet I nearly thought the juice dripping down my chin was that of a white peach.

I grabbed an assortment and spent my entire hill program on the elliptical contemplating how best to use my bounty.

This weekend, I had the luxury – truly – of watching my cousin’s two poodles while he was out of town. With a private backyard oasis and a grill at my fingertips, everything slid firmly into place.

A little peek at the George Foreman I grilled my tomatoes on. Who knew you could find Birds of Paradise in Bed-Stuy?

A little peek at the George Foreman I grilled my tomatoes on. Who knew you could find Birds of Paradise in Bed-Stuy?

I had to make an heirloom tomato flammekeuche. A pizza without pizza sauce. A canvas for gorgeous, fresh ingredients.  All the flammekeuche needed was the Little Word Bites healthy-touch, of course.

A little more digging led me to this simple, amazing recipe from Eat. Drink. Smile. They’re using cauliflower to make pizza dough that’s healthy, low-calorie, low-carb, gluten-free, and grain-free. All the things we love here at LWB. 

To start, preheat the oven to 450, and begin preparing your crust by breaking down half a head of cauliflower, cutting off leaves and core and creating small florets. Pulse florets in a food processor until they are the texture of grain – be careful not to over-process, or else you will end up with a mash.

For more detailed instructions, check back here to my post on cauliflower couscous.

Take your cauliflower rice and microwave for eight minutes, or until the cauliflower is cooked.  You’ll know the cauliflower is finished when the sweet, mild smell begins to fill your kitchen.

Beat one egg well, incorporating air until small bubbles rise to the top. Mix this in with the cauliflower rice, and add the shredded mozzarella. Add the oregano, garlic, and garlic powder or salt. A few cracks of fresh black pepper and sea salt are a perfect finish to your dough.

On a nonstick baking sheet, put down half the olive oil, and begin working your dough into a round, about 10 inches in diameter. Dough should be thin, only about 1/4 of an inch. Brush the remaining olive oil on top to brown.

Because cauliflower contains so much water, there's no need to add more to your crust as you would with traditional pizza dough.

Because cauliflower contains so much water, there’s no need to add more to your crust as you would with traditional pizza dough.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare your toppings. I think flatbreads  – whether they’re made from flour or ‘flower – are the perfect opportunity to exhibit beautiful ingredients.

These heirloom varieties have unique flavor profiles, and are too beautiful to bury in a salad or ratatouille.

These heirloom varieties have unique flavor profiles, and are too beautiful to bury in a salad or ratatouille.

That’s why I sliced my selection of heirloom tomatoes – two plum-sized green zebras, one orange Russian, and a black prince – into quarter-inch thick slices and placed them on the outdoor grill. The smoky flavor from the grill enhances the natural sweetness of a tomato. The grill also helps dry out the tomatoes, which is necessary for this application. On a flatbread, wet tomatoes create a soggy crust, and this cauliflower pizzette is no different.

Whatever toppings you select, make sure they’re cooked beforehand – they’ll only be in the oven for about 2-4 minutes once on the crust.

Instead of sauce or another layer of cheese, I took a leaf out of an Alsatian cookbook and used a cream topping. While you can certainly go ahead with crème fraiche, I upped the nutrition and health bar with non-fat Greek yogurt.

After allowing the crust to cool off, spread on an even layer of Greek yogurt, staying about one inch away from the edge. Arrange your tomato slices, and – if you’re feeling extra indulgent – sprinkle on one or two additional tablespoons of shredded mozzarella.

Would you ever guess that thin, crispy crust is made out of cauliflower? And a few other delicious, light ingredients, of course.

Would you ever guess that thin, crispy crust is made out of cauliflower? And a few other delicious, light ingredients, of course.

Go ahead. It’s fat free. Get wild.

I plucked a few basil leaves from my window box garden for garnish, and then slid the pizzette back into the oven. After only 2 minutes the basil became dry and fragrant, but depending on your toppings, you can leave the pizza in for up to 4 or 5 minutes.

Share with a friend, or eat half and save the other for a desk lunch that will have all of your co-workers leering greedily.

SLice

This version pairs wonderfully with a fresh arugula salad. The spiciness of the green adds a fresh zest to the sweet heirloom tomatoes and tart yogurt.

Either way, this cheesy, crispy crust is sure to satisfy any pizza craving. And you know what? It’s faster than delivery, and it’s about as light and healthy as a pizza can get.

Until next time,

Melanie

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