Cauliflower Pizza with Bacon, Brussels Sprouts + Shallots

On Friday night I had a somewhat empty refrigerator and only a miniscule amount of creative energy. Fortunately when I added the two together I came up with this:

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It was the best faux-pizza I’ve ever made, actually. Hands down. It was a cauliflower crust topped with bacon bits, sauteed sliced brussels sprouts and a sprinkle of crispy shallots. When I took the first bite, I realized that this was one of those recipes that needed to IMMEDIATELY make it’s way to the blog.

But I feel the need to make a slight disclaimer: my love for Paleo aside, I am firmly in the camp that pizza has no substitute. Pizza is doughy and bready and indulgent — well, at least the good kind is — and when I hear about things like Cauliflower Pizza Crust — I don’t care how good it is NOT REAL PIZZA CRUST. You will not sell me on the fact that this is as good a Real Pizza.

So I am not making that claim. I will not try to foolishly dissuade you from loving Real Pizza. There is no substitute.

But the thing is, we all need to eat our vegetables, and cauliflower *IS* a pretty yummy and versatile. So when you make that vegetable into something crusty and add some delicious toppings, it actually turns into a pretty amazing (guilt free!) dinner. And a pizza-like dinner, no less.

So even though I do not claim this is will all of a sudden replace your desire for deep dish, I will claim that this will be one of the best Friday night meals you’ve ever had when all you have in your fridge is a few vegetables and a couple slices of bacon.

Ingredients

1 Head of Cauliflower, chopped incredibly fine in the food processor
1 egg, beaten
1 cup of shredded cheese for the crust, more if you want to top your pizza with it as well
1/2 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper
1 tsp salt and pizza (or italian seasoning)
Toppings of Choice — in this case: brussels sprouts, bacon and shallots

Method

Preaheat your oven to 400 degrees

1. Chop your cauliflower in the food processor until it is finely minced. It sounds like a pain but trust me it will be worth it. When it’s shredded into a fine powder, pop it in the microwave in a bowl for 6 minutes. No need to add water or anything. Let it cool for about the same amount of time.

2. Mix in your seasonings, shredded cheese, and beaten egg until it becomes more paste/dough-like

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3. Spread on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper (a must!) until it is fairly thin and looks like a big ol’ pizza crust.

4. Bake for 40 minutes until crust is browned and crispy

Then it’s time for the toppings! Here’s what I did:

5. While crust is baking, fry up some bacon bits in a pan. You know how to do this, it’s easy — I only had 5 slices of bacon and I was fine. But if I would have had more, I would have added more. More Bacon=Better. I think it’s science. Pull those puppies out and lay them on a paper towel somewhere.

6. Then slice up about 8 clean brussels sprouts into ribbons and throw them into the hot bacon renderings. This is always delicious.
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7. When they get nice and sauteed and have a little color on them, pull those out of the bacon renderings too. You can even throw them on your bacon bits sitting there. It’s ok to mix everything together — GET WILD.

8. Thinly slice a whole shallot and throw THAT into the bacon renderings. These renderings are really doing triple duty. Let them get so crispy they almost appear burned.

Wine Break!!!

(Your crust will still be cooking even though your toppings will be done.)

9. Pull out your crust when it’s browned, top with cheese (no sauce!) top with bacon, brussels and crispy shallots and then throw it into the oven for about 5 minutes just until everything is melty and delicious looking.

10. Let it cool about 5 minutes, slice, serve and enjoy.

11. Serve with a salad and then smugly realize you are eating A LOT of vegetables, even though it feels like you are having Pizza Night!

*****

Do you have any favorite variations on Cauliflower Pizza Crust?

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13 comments to Cauliflower Pizza with Bacon, Brussels Sprouts + Shallots

  • Jeff
    March 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Dude! Yussss! When my wife sees my comment here, she will be happy to know that I agree – we should definitely make this.

  • JulieVK
    March 27, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Bookmarked for tomorrow night! Looks delish.

  • Maureen
    March 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Holy heck this looks delicious! I have not been able to eat “real” pizza crust for almost a year now and I have a good go to recipe, but this may take that one over!

    • Holly
      March 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      It’s funny, pizza is one of those things I will always enjoy “cheating” for — but this is a really GREAT substitute. It’s not deep dish pepperoni, but it’s a damn tasty meal and fun to eat on a Pizza Night.

  • sizzle
    March 28, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I’m totally making this. I have made the cauliflower pizza crust before and liked it but didn’t put that kind of deliciousness on it. YUM.

  • Lisa
    March 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I need that pizza; it’s pinworthy! Is cheese allowed on Paleo?

    • Holly
      March 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      Oh you do NEED it…let me tell you! :)

      Cheese is not strict Paleo…but we don’t keep strict around here. I do enjoy cheese on occasion but mostly try to limit my dairy intake. If you wanted to stay strict, you might just add another egg to the crust and skip it in the toppings. I think it would still be good!

  • Lisa
    March 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I’m with you; I haven’t been that strict either. Hard not to have ANY cheese on Paleo.

  • PinkieBling
    March 28, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    You, my friend, are a straight-up GENIUS, and I can’t wait to make this! Thanks!!

  • SPRogers
    March 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Holly, this looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it, but I was wondering how much cheese (and what kind) you added in the ‘dough’? The ingredients only call for 1c. of shredded cheese, and I’m assuming that’s for the topping. Thanks!

    • Holly
      March 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      Seema — great clarification! I went ahead and amended the recipe. I used 1 Cup of cheese in the crust — then I topped with additional cheese (OMG LOVE) just to taste. Probably another 3/4 C. I honestly had slim pickins in my fridge so I just used the shredded cheese that comes in a bag from Costco. We’re gourmet around here :)

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