There is this healthy-sounding trend doing the rounds in pizza joints – pizzas made of cauliflower. The claim terms cauliflower as one of the healthiest alternatives to the traditional flour, with its pizza containing only 80 calories per slice.
People want to eat healthier. And it’s true, a veggie pizza crust would be a better option than one made from refined white flour. But really, is cauliflower pizza healthy? Can you enjoy your favorite slice without exceeding the recommended calories per day? Let’s find out!
The Truth About Cauliflower Pizza
Cauliflower is known to have a host of health benefits, but sadly, pizza-making brands are using this to their advantage.
Okay, let’s think about it for a second. If you check the ingredients listed on the cauliflower crust pizza package, cauliflower is usually not the only ingredient. For the most part, the crust is just the normal flour, with cauliflower added to it.
And quite often, egg and cheese are thrown into the mix as a binder, which raises cholesterol and saturated fats levels. Not just that. When it comes to cooking it, the toppings used on the crust also play a huge role in determining how healthy the pizza will be.
If, for instance, the crust has loads of extra cheese, pepperoni, sausage, or buffalo chicken toppings, you will still end up with a high-fat, high-calorie pie.
Now, because of this dressing, your cauliflower pizza will not be any different from the regular pizza, and eating it often will likely not help you attain your weight loss or fitness goals.
So as much as cauliflower is a healthy veggie, the healthiness of a cauliflower pizza will depend on the ingredients added to it.
Homemade cauliflower pizza crust can be a healthier alternative, though. You can easily make a wholesome pizza from fresh cauliflower, natural herbs, and almonds.
What is In Store-Bought Cauliflower Pizza Crust?
Making your cauliflower pizza from scratch is one of the best ways to ensure you are ending up with a healthy product. Unfortunately, not many of us have enough time on hand to put in the work required to make a healthy pizza at home.
That means most of us will result in buying premade pizza crust from the store. But do we know exactly what is in a store-bought cauliflower pizza crust? Let’s get some facts.
The calorie count of most off-the-shelf cauliflower crusts ranges between 120 and 600 for a single crust. This huge difference is due to the various ingredients each brand uses on its crust.
Some add refined grains, others extra egg and cheese, and some nut flours. While all these are healthy options, they have been found to increase the number of calories in cauliflower crusts. But the amount of calories in these crusts is still lower than in refined flour crusts.
A single slice of store-bought cauliflower pizza can range between 2 and 30 grams in carbs. That’s pretty high considering cauliflower itself is a low-carb vegetable, with a cup of ground cauliflower having only 5 grams.
So where does this difference come from?
Well, some of these crusts contain sugar, corn starch, and tapioca starch, all of which supply carbs.
You see, even though most of the brands will list cauliflower as the first ingredient, they won’t state the amount. The secret, therefore, is to go for brands that have fewer starches and a lower carb count because that may mean the crust has a higher amount of cauliflower.
Cauliflower on its own doesn’t contain any fat. Added ingredients like oil and cheese, however, do and that’s the reason why store-bought crusts are high on fat.
Some crusts will pack up to 20 grams per serving and that’s probably because they contain Parmesan and mozzarella cheese, with some even including coconut flour.
Adults should not consume more than 2400 mg of sodium per day. But some off-the-shelf cauliflower crusts have up to 600 mg of sodium per slice, meaning you should not eat more than four slices daily.
Health Benefits of Cauliflower Pizza
Cauliflower itself has a myriad of health benefits, and crust made from it can indeed be more beneficial to our bodies than one made from normal white flour. Without adding high-fat or high-cholesterol ingredients, your cauliflower pizza may offer you the following:
Cauliflower is a fiber-rich veggie. Foods rich in fiber are not only good at reducing inflammation but also at promoting digestion.
Fiber-rich veggies like cauliflower have also been found to reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. And since such vegetables make your stomach feel full without having to eat too much calories, they are also a great way to prevent obesity.
Low-Carb Alternative to Traditional Crust
Replacing the traditional flour crust with a cauliflower crust is an effective way to cut down on carbs. With cauliflower crust, people who are diabetic or those on a gluten-free or low-carb diet can still enjoy pizza without experiencing any negative outcomes.
Good Supply of Antioxidants
Cauliflower is rich in glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, antioxidants responsible for slowing down the growth of cancerous cells. These antioxidants not only protect you against lung, colon, prostate, and breast cancer but also have an abundance of anti-inflammatory benefits.
How to Make a Healthy Cauliflower Pizza at Home
As we stated earlier, the best way to ensure you are eating a healthy cauliflower pizza is to make the pizza yourself from scratch other than ordering outside or buying premade crusts. Here is what you will need:
- One medium-sized cauliflower
- One egg
- One teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Lots of vegetables for topping
- An eighth teaspoon of salt
- A quarter teaspoon of ground pepper
- Half cup of sliced/shredded mozzarella cheese
- Cooking spray
- Baking sheet
- Mixing bowl
- Linen towel
- Silicone mat
- Food processor
Step 1: Preheat the Oven
Turn on the oven and preheat it to 375° F. Then grab your baking sheet and line it with a silicone mat.
Step 2: Prepare Cauliflower
Get your cauliflower and remove all the outer leaves. Next, separate it into florets and cut it into small pieces.
Put the pieces in a food processer. Depending on the size of your processor, you can put the florets in two batches or everything at one go.
Process the florets until they form a “rice” texture. Some people actually use cauliflower rice flour instead, to avoid this step.
Step 3: Bake the Cauliflower
Remove the ground cauliflower from the food processor and spread it on the prepared baking sheet. Set it in the oven and bake for fifteen minutes.
Step 4: Remove Cauliflower From the Oven
Once the baking period has elapsed, remove the cooked cauliflower from the oven and transfer it to a bowl or dish lined with a linen towel.
Give it a few minutes to cool. Once cooled, wrap the towel around the cauliflower and squeeze gently to drain out the liquid. Repeat several times until there is no more liquid oozing out.
Step 5: Prepare the Crust
Now increase the temperature of your oven to 450° F. Next, break the egg in a mixing bowl and whisk it with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Then add mozzarella and the drained cauliflower and mix everything together with a spatula.
Step 6: Flatten the Mixture Into Crust
Line the baking sheet again with a fresh silicone mat and spray with baking spray. Transfer the cauliflower mixture onto the center of the sheet and spread it until it forms a thin crust.
Step 7: Bake the Crust
Bake your pizza crust for 20 minutes. Next, slide a spatula underneath the pie and flip it. Then let it bake for about 5 minutes. As your pizza bakes, prepare the toppings.
Step 8: Add the Toppings
Once your pizza crust is ready, dress it with your favorite vegetables. Use more veggies than meat for a lower carb count.
Put the pizza back into the oven and bake until the cheese has turned golden brown. Please note that some toppings may need cooking before adding them to the pizza. Make sure you got this covered.
Step 9: Enjoy Your Pizza
Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer it onto the serving tray. Let it cool before slicing and serving.
As you can see, baking a healthy cauliflower pizza at home is not rocket science. It is a very simple undertaking that only requires you to have the right ingredients. The above steps are all you need to get started. [11 Tips to Make Pizza Healthy]
Cauliflower pizza can, undoubtedly, be a healthy option for anyone looking to cut down on carbs. However, what matters the most is the extra ingredients you add to your pizza. If your goal is to reduce carbs and calorie content, it would be wise to use ingredients low on these contents.
Also, avoid using store-bought pizza crusts and if possible, consider prepping your own crust from scratch. To do this, get the right amount of cauliflower, use veggies for topping, and go easy on the cheese.
Have you prepared a cauliflower pizza at home recently? Tell us below some of the ingredients you have used to keep carbs and calories in check.
Barbara is an enthusiastic food-exploring person that goes through different culinary experiences. She got inspired by creating a pizza blog post after she tasted one of the best-selling pizzas in Toledo.