I finally succumbed to the pressure. Pizza “crusts,” “breadsticks” and other creations made with cauliflower that claim to give you the bread experience are everywhere. Do these recipes live up to their reputation? I had to find out what the fuss was about. So, I made cheesy cauliflower pizza bites two ways: one was totally vegan and the other batch was with eggs and cheese. Holy guacamole! It turns out there’s a good reason these recipes are all over the web.
These cheesy cauliflower pizza bites were delicious and easy to make. I can’t say they tasted like bread. But, the cauliflower was transformed into a pleasantly cheesy base that was easy to pick up (at least when cut into little squares.) The crust could have been topped with sauce and pizza toppings. But, I opted for more cheese and fresh basil. Simple and tasty. 🙂
I used egg and cheese in this batch.
I used a chia seed egg-replacer and vegan shreds with a mozzarella flavor in this batch. (See the Allergy Friendly Food Products guide for products we like.)
Honestly, cross-my-heart, I liked them both and will definitely make them again. I felt almost guiltless indulging in this white “pizza.”
Cheesy Cauliflower Pizza Bites Step-by-Step
First, make the cauliflower rice. I used one smallish head of cauliflower. Cut the florets (with just a little bit of stem) into similarly-sized pieces and run them through a food processor to create “rice.”
Put the cauliflower rice in a bowl and microwave it for about 4 minutes. Dump the rice on to a clean dish towel and spread it out to cool. The dish towel will absorb some of the moisture. After the mixture has cooled for about 5 minutes, fold in the sides of the towel over the top of the rice and press out some more moisture.
Return the rice to the bowl, add the vegan cheese shreds or mozzarella cheese and spices (oregano, basil, garlic powder and salt) and stir to evenly distribute. Next, add either the egg-replacer or egg.
For the egg-replacer, combine 1 Tablespoon chia seeds and 3 Tablespoons of water. Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes or until it becomes nice and sticky.
Use your hands to incorporate the egg or egg-replacer. Press the mixture together to form a dough ball. For either version, it’s not going to stick together like “bread dough.” But, you should be able to compress it into several balls that hold their shape.
Place the dough on parchment paper that has been coated with cooking spray. Press the mixture into the desired shape. This crust is a tad over 1/4 inch thick, but it’s not a 1/2 inch. Press the surface flat and and then move in the sides and then do it again, and again and again…until it has a nice flat surface that is firmly packed together.
Bake the crust in a 425 degree F over for about 8 – 10 minutes or until the bottom edges just begin to brown. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with vegan shreds or cheese and fresh basil. Return to oven and cook the cheesy cauliflower pizza bites for about 3-4 minutes more.
Once they have cooled a few minutes, these cheesy cauliflower pizza bites set up nicely. And, if you don’t eat them up the first day, store them in the refrigerator and reheat them in the oven the next day. (I also have a batch in the freezer with my fingers crossed!)
- 1 small head cauliflower, washed and dried
- 1¼ cup + ¼ cup mozzarella or vegan cheese shreds, divided
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg or 1 egg-replacer (1 Tablespoon chia seeds combined with 3 Tablespoons water)
- 5-6 basil leaves, cut into slivers
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cut florets from cauliflower, discarding most of the stem.
- Process florets in a food processor to form "rice."
- Cook cauliflower rice on high in the microwave for 4 minutes.
- Spread hot cauliflower rice out on a clean dish rag and allow to cool.
- Fold sides of dish rag over the top of the rice and press to remove additional moisture.
- Return cauliflower rice to bowl and add oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and 1¼ cup of cheese shreds.
- Stir to combine ingredients.
- Prepare egg-replacer, if using, by combining ingredients and allowing to gel for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in egg-replacer or egg.
- Use hands to compress mixture into two or three dough balls. The balls will not be as firm as traditional dough, but should hold their shape.
- Place dough on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper that has been coated with cooking spray.
- Press the dough into desired shape, pressing down to flatten the surface and moving in the sides.
- Continue to flatten and move in the sides until the surface is flat and the dough is firmly packed together.
- Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until the bottom sides of the crust just begin to brown.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining cheese shreds and basil over the top.
- Return to the oven and bake for about 3-4 minutes more.
- Remove from oven and allow pizza to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Cut into squares and enjoy!
This adaptation is inspired by the Cauliflower Crust Pizza recipe over at The Tasty Kitchen. That’s the recipe that pushed me over the edge and forced me to experiment with cauliflower. I’m so glad I found it!
I hope you enjoy these cheesy cauliflower pizza bites!
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