Going Gluten-free with Cauliflower and Pesto Pizza

February 2, 2012

No wheat, no pizza, right? The Cauliflower and Pesto Pizza recipe is the result of a little research, a little creativity, and a little hunger in a gluten-free life. Bon appétit!

Cauliflower and Pesto Pizza
1/2 head cauliflower (or 1 1/2 cups grated)

20 oz grated tempeh* (1/5 package from Trader Joe’s)

2 tbs minced garlic
1 large egg
1 cup shredded cheese (mild like mozzarella is good)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 dash dried mint (optional)
1 tsp dried parsley


1/2 cup pesto sauce (or pizza sauce)
1/2 cup shredded cheese
toppings (suggested: crumbled bacon, pepperoni, pineapple, olives or olive tapanade, bell pepper, crumbled blue cheese)


Grate the cauliflower into small crumbles. Grate the tempeh into small crumbles. Add garlic.

Place a large bowl and microwave for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not add other ingredients until cooled.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Add very light coating of olive oil to pizza baking stone (Pampered Chef pizza stone)

Whip egg, add spices in small bowl.

Add egg mix and cheese to cauliflower crust ingredients. Stir. Blend with spatula, flattening ingredients together by pressing.

Transfer dough to pizza stone. Create flat “dough” crust on stone using spatula to flatten from center outward.

Bake for 15 minutes (or until golden). Remove the crust from the oven and turn oven up to broil.

Spread pesto/sauce on top of baked crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge.

Sprinkle ½ cup cheese on top. Add the desired toppings. Sprinkle a little cheese on top of toppings.

Broil pizza 3 to 4 minutes, or until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Cool 5 minutes before slicing into 8 slices. Serves 2.

A recent front page article in Bottom Line magazine highlights the health dangers of wheat (“Put Down That Slice of Bread!” Feb 1, 2012). http://boardroom.zt02.net/zetanextpages/BottomLineSecrets_Personal_Feb01_2012.html#/pageNo=-1;cs=D

“People who crave wheat are actually experiencing an addiction. When the gluten in wheat is digested, it releases … endorphins.” This sets off cravings and decreases the sense of being full. Additionally, you or someone you know may be living with a gluten allergy known as Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects approximately one in 133 people in the United States.

Whether you are allergic, sensitive or just savvy, wheat can be a big daily problem. Wheat seems unavoidable as an ingredient in items such as breads, cakes, breakfast cereals, pasta, crackers, tortillas, puddings, beer, soy sauce and even condiments, such as ketchup. Substitutes (such as rice flour) are so dense and bland that it seems counterintuitive to use them to “lighten” up your meals.

My gluten-free adventure started at the end of December. The holidays ushered in the typical over-indulgence in baked goods and chocolates, followed by an increased feeling of being sluggish. Someone suggested FAA, a free online system of eating that addressed the need to eliminate the blood sugar-spikers of wheat and sugar. Although Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Atkins, and all the other weight loss programs might be helpful and effective for some, they have huge marketing and advertising budgets that need to be covered by membership fees and overpriced products. Instead I turned to the book Sugar Busters (Ballentine), and started weeding out wheat, sugar, corn, potatoes, etc. from my life. Eliminating wheat and sugar from the foods I choose has been challenging but very productive! Being more creative in the kitchen has produced several new recipes as well.

I love the Cauliflower pizza! It is so easy and quick to make and the resulting meal (with salad or veggies) is satisfying and healthy! I do use pesto sauce from Costco, but making pesto adds a new level of invention. Enjoy!
* Tempeh is the high protein and high calcium result when soybeans are cooked and fermented. This all plant non-meat, non-wheat alternative has a slightly nutty flavor and offers a grainy texture like ground beef, completely unlike tofu. If you are seeking isoflavones, tempeh offers that benefit, too. Trader Joe’s sells an Organic 3 Grain Tempeh.

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