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Sarah Lawrence

Gluten Free Vegan Cauliflower Pizza Crust

So here we are again with pizza!  I've made what seems like a million versions of pizza crust, because, well... my kids are like most kids and they LOVE pizza.  Back in the day, I loved pizza too.  But the gluten and dairy didn't love me, so we parted ways.  Now I've got some great crust recipes and this one is another keeper.  Check out my other faves and try this version too! (polenta pizza,  socca pizza ).  I have to tell you that I was inspired by a post that kept popping up on Pinterest for this Cauliflower Pizza Crust.  I can’t eat dairy cheese or eggs, so that version won’t ever be on my table… but the idea of adding veg into my trusty pizza crust got me going!  Here’s what happened from my kitchen experiment (I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!)  Other changes I made to my original recipe include testing the batter with flax and without it.  Leaving the flax out yields a thinner crust that is harder to flip and requires some tough love to hold it together… but it’s worth the minute of trouble because what you get is a thin and crispy slice of goodness that you’ll write home to mom about. I have some clients who are quite athletic and have higher protein requirements, so I’ve added ¾ cup of shelled hempseed to the crust for that protein kick.  That gets a solid 3 tablespoons of hempseed into each crust and adds a whopping 11 grams of protein plus a hefty dose a Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous and Zinc. [caption id="attachment_541" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="GFV Cauliflower Socca Crust"]GFV Cauliflower Socca Crust[/caption]         Gluten Free Cauliflower Socca Pizza Crust (makes 4 personal size crusts – sometimes you get a bonus snack size) 2 cups chickpea flour 1 cup steamed cauliflower, mashed well or riced ¼ cup flaxseed meal (OMIT for thin crust) ¾ cup shelled hempseed (optional) ¼ cup lemon juice 2 ¼ cups water (use 2 cups if you omit the hempseed) 1 tsp onion powder (optional) ½ tsp grated lemon zest (optional) 1-2 tsp seasoning mix of your choice (Italian herbs are nice) 1 Tbsp oil, for your pan Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. If you have pizza stones, put them in to get nice and hot. For thicker crust: Mix flour, cauliflower, flax, salt, zest and spices in a bowl. Add lemon juice and water and whisk to combine. The batter will be thick. For thin and crispy crust: Mix as for the thick crust but leave out the flax. The batter will still be thick. Lightly coat your cast iron skillet with a bit of oil and heat oil to medium high heat.  You don’t need the full tablespoon of oil now since you will need to recoat the skillet for each pizza base.  I use a basting brush and just dip it in my oil and then swipe it over the surface. Scoop out a 1 cup portion of your batter and tip if out in the center of the hot skillet.  Use a wooden spoon and spread the batter out into a nice circle.  Don’t go too thin with this crust or you may not be able to flip it.  After 5 minutes, use a spatula and see if the bottom has set.  It should be a nice golden color and the top will be looking like it’s getting dry.  Mine develop tiny air holes and I can see steam escaping through some like little geysers.  Others spurt the itty bitty bit of oil that I used to prep the skillet (only a swipe is needed if you have a well seasoned cast iron pan.) To flip, I use two spatulas that are meant for use on an outdoor grill. They are long and flat and are perfect for this sort of thing!  Slide the spatulas under the crust and flip it over. The thin crust batter may not flip easily, but rest assured, all you have to do is flip it and then use your spatula or spoon to smoosh and smooth the surface together.  Once it’s crisp’ed up on both sides it will hold.  Think of it a bit like spackling a wall --- you need to patch it back together if it comes apart but it will be smooth in the end.  The baking really works to crisp up the edges once you’ve loaded it with your toppings. For both thick and thin crusts, let the second side get crisp for a minute and then transfer the crust to a hot pizza stone in your preheated oven.  Ladle on the tomato sauce of your choice and any other toppings that work for you. You can also keep everything in the skillet and let the toppings get warm and bubbly under your broiler.  Your choice; because I make enough to feed my family, I choose to use the oven so I can continue making the pizza bases in the skillet. [caption id="attachment_539" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="thin and crispy crust"]thin and crispy crust[/caption] If you want to make pizza meals in a big batch you can save yourself some time on busy nights.  Make the crusts in your skillet and bake them without toppings for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.  You need to cool the crusts completely before storing them.  I had good luck separating my crusts with parchment paper or with wax paper and then popping the stack into a large freezer bag.  Lay everything flat and you’ll be able to remove one crust at a time if you need to.  Thaw in the fridge for an hour or pop right into a preheated 400 degree oven, top it and bake it for 12-15 minutes.

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