pizza, pizza, pizza
you are so good
pizza, pizza, pizza- I wish I could SAY
pizza, pizza, pizza-OH, would you marry me
pizza, pizza, pizza- you are so tasteyyyy
-Alexandra Dawson, age 7 (belted out to tune of choice)
There’s something so fundamentally comforting, casual, momentarily rewarding about a slice of pizza. Deep routed memories of childhood Friday nights- my dad methodically folding the biggest slices in the box in half and taking the juiciest bites he could muster; of my brother and I seeing who could snag the best sticker at the pizza joint (there was this sticker machine..), who could eat more slices. Although I’d like to think my taste buds have matured from the seven year old Alexandra who insisted on the biggest slice of the extra-cheesy pizza with pineapple and charred, bubbly crust- have they? I may have traded the extra-cheese for extra-greens, and the pineapple for every vegetable I can fit; in what can sometimes feel like this desperate plight for an altruistically healthful lifestyle, occasionally, it feels nice to be thrown back into comfort and the familiar.
Today I am so excited to share my pizza alternative, for those craving a hearty, comforting slice of ‘zah without the associated calories (fat, sugar, gluten)- my vegan and gluten free Green ‘Pizza’ with Cauliflower & Kale Crust. Made with a soft- texturally like a casserole (a delicious casserole, don’t be deterred!)- cauliflower, almond, and kale based crust packed with cancer fighting and heart health boosting sulforaphane, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and essential vitamins and minerals- have your pizza and eat it too. I serve my Green Pizza topped with as many leafy greens as it will hold, ripe tomatoes, and whatever vegetables are seasonally available. Dig in with a fork and knife and you favorite pumpkin brew.
Green ‘Pizza’ with Cauliflower & Kale Crust [makes 1 pizza, 4 servings]
¼ cup chia seeds
¾ cup filtered water
¾ cup (3 ounces) raw almonds
1 large head cauliflower, leaves and tough stem removed
1 cup dinosaur kale or spinach, tough stems removed
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ cup tomato based sauce of choice
2 cups baby spinach
¼ medium zucchini, sliced very thin, lengthwise
1 medium tomato, sliced into thin rounds
½ cup baby arugula
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine chia seeds and water. Set aside and allow to sit for 15 minutes, or until mixture begins to gel.
Meanwhile, in a food processor fitted with an S-blade, pulse almonds until they reach a fine meal consistency (being sure not to over pulse or you’ll end up with almond butter). Add cauliflower florets, kale, oregano, and salt and pepper, then continue to pulse until cauliflower reaches a rice-like consistency. Pour in chia gel and pulse until mixture begins to come together, scraping down sides of processor if necessary.
Remove dough from processor (it will be slightly sticky, dense, and moist), then transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. Using your hands, gently press dough out into ‘pizza crust shape’ of choice (my crust was about 15″ long, 11″wide, and ¼” thick). Evenly brush crust with olive oil, then place in preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
Remove crust from oven and top with sauce, spinach, zucchini and tomato. Place back in oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until vegetables have softened.
Remove pizza from oven, top with baby arugula, slice and serve!
Nutritional Information [per serving= ¼ pizza]
250 Calories, 23g Carbohydrates, 15.2g Fat, 10.8g Protein, 11.7g Fiber, 7.5g Sugar
Cauliflower, tomatoes, and dinosaur kale provided by Glen’s Garden Market, a locavore-minded market located just outside the heart of Washington, DC’s Dupont Circle. Glen’s has generously gifted me an eight-week CSA [community supported agriculture], overflowing with organic and chemical free local produce.