The humble cauliflower is all the rage for those cutting carbs.
It started with pureed cauliflower standing in to create lower-carb “mashed potatoes.” Then came cauliflower “rice” and the still-popular cauliflower crust for pizzas.
d this is a good thing because, ounce-for-ounce, cauliflower has 80 percent fewer carbs and calories than potatoes, and cauliflower “rice” saves us approximately 180 calories and 40 grams of carbs for every cup of rice traded out.
In the majority of cases, cauliflower crust pizza is lower in carbs and calories than regular pizza, and most recipes also are gluten-free.
Now, food manufacturers are have jumped on the cauliflower train, making it easier than ever to keep carbs and gluten in check in our favorite dishes:
Riced cauliflower is available at most major stores, with brands including Birds Eye, Green Giant, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods Market. Green Giant offers mashed cauliflower as a potato alternative. And cauliflower crust pizza is finally showing up on shelves in more and more stores.
The brands that I’ve seen so far have been pretty decent, and all are better — nutritionally speaking — than the vast majority of frozen pizzas (even “healthy” frozen pizzas) on shelves.
Added bonus for many: Most of these are gluten free, as well.
Below, we’ve featured two DIY recipes for cauliflower cheesy flatbread and “sandwich thins” that won’t disappoint. And, for convenience, here’s my guide to ready-made cauliflower crusts on the market, in stores and online. Some are crust-only, some are full pizzas.
Cauliflower Crust – Crust Only
* Cali’flour Foods Cauliflower Pizza Crust.
This is my top pick for store-bought cauliflower crusts, nutritionally as well as taste-wise. Made with cauliflower, mozzarella cheese, eggs and seasoning, their Cali’flour Original Pizza Crust (available in Italian or Sweet Red Pepper) is low in calories, carbs, and sodium. So far, I’ve only seen this product available online.
Ingredients: Cauliflower, mozzarella cheese (pasteurized milk, cultures, salt, enzymes), eggs, basil, garlic. Nutrition Facts per 1/6 pizza: 60 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 2.5 grams saturated fat, 80 mg sodium, 2 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram sugar, 5 grams protein.
Ingredients: Cauliflower, brown rice flour, cornstarch, water, tapioca, sunflower oil, extra virgin olive oil, sugar, egg, xanthan gum, yeast, salt, vinegar, baking powder. Nutrition Facts per 1/6 pizza: 85 calories, 3 grams fat, 0.5 grams saturated fat, 52 mg sodium, 13 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, <1 gram sugar, 1 gram protein.
* Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Pizza Crust. Get there early if you want to try this one. I had heard that there was a rush on these pizza crusts, so they set one aside so I could try it for this column. Good thing, because the shelves were bare. Nutritionally speaking, it’s OK – not fantastic – and taste-wise, it was my least favorite of the three.
Ingredients: Cauliflower, corn flour, water, cornstarch, potato starch, olive oil, salt. Nutrition Facts per 1/6 pizza: 80 calories, 0 fat, 0 saturated fat, 220 mg sodium, 17 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, <1 gram sugar, 1 gram protein.
Cauliflower Crust Pizzas
* Trader Joe’s Cheese Pizza with a Cauliflower Crust. Again, I was grateful that the store aside a sample product for this column; there was one lonely box on the shelf when I arrived at 3pm. This was the crowd favorite of all of the cauliflower crust pizzas we sampled, the most similar to “regular” cheese pizza.
Ingredients include cauliflower, mozzarella, potato flour, chickpea flour, brown rice flour, pizza sauce, herbs. Nutrition facts per 1/2 pizza: 380 calories, 17 grams fat, 10.5 grams saturated fat, 740 mg sodium, 35 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 20 grams protein.
*CauliPower Cauliflower Crust Pizza. The nutrition facts are pretty similar to Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Pizza, but it doesn’t seem quite as much like “regular” pizza as the Trader Joe’s variety. But if you’re craving pizza and looking to keep carbs in check, this is still a really great option. Available locally at Rouses Markets, CauliPower pizza is available in Margarita, Veggie and Three Cheese Pizza.
Ingredients include cauliflower, tomato sauce, mozzarella white cheddar cheese blend, brown rice flour, corn starch, parmesan, tapioca, olive oil, sugar, egg, xanthan gum. Nutrition facts per 1/2-pizza (Three Cheese): 380 calories, 18 grams fat, 7 grams saturated fat, 650 mg sodium, 37 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar, 16 grams protein.
*Absolutely Gluten Free Cauliflower Crust Cheese Pizza. Made with a crust of cauliflower and egg whites, these mini pizzas have just 57 calories and seven grams of carbs each. Available locally at Langenstein’s.
Ingredients include cauliflower, egg whites, mozzarella, tomato sauce, salt, herbs and spices. Nutrition facts per mini pizza: 57 calories, 1.5 grams fat, <1 gram saturated fat, 140 mg sodium, 7 grams carbohydrate, 1.3 grams fiber, 1 gram sugar, 4 grams protein.
Here is how to make low-carb cauliflower “flatbread” with fresh herbs, garlic and ooey gooey cheese that looks – and tastes – pretty close to the real thing. Recipe by RealHouseMoms.com.
Makes 6 servings
- 1 head raw cauliflower, riced
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly chopped basil
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Use pre-made cauliflower “rice” or make your own by pulsing in food processor until it’s crumbled into rice-like bits.
In large bowl, mix the riced cauliflower, 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, basil, parsley, salt and pepper until well-combined and holds together. Place mixture onto lined baking sheet and spread out into rectangle, about quarter-inch thick.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and top with 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and continue baking until cheese is melted and golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes and cut into “breadsticks.”
Sprinkle with fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese. Serve with your favorite red sauce or Greek yogurt dip.
Per serving: 140 calories, 8 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 435 mg sodium, 7 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar, 13 grams protein
These low-carb cauliflower patties adapted from Buzzfeed can be served up as sandwich thins, hash browns or as a pizza crust, topped with your favorite toppings.
Cauliflower “Sandwich Thins”
Makes 6 servings
- 1 large head cauliflower or one bag cauliflower “rice”
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Use pre-made cauliflower “rice” or make your own by pulsing cauliflower in food processor until crumbled into small bits. (Note: You can also use a coarse grater to grate the cauliflower into small crumbles).
Transfer cauliflower crumbles to a bowl and sprinkle with half teaspoon of salt. Stir and let sit for 20 minutes to draw out moisture. Transfer cauliflower to another bowl lined with large towel. Wrap the towel closed and squeeze so that all excess liquid is strained.
Transfer cauliflower back into first bowl and add eggs, cheese, rosemary, garlic, olive oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper and divide cauliflower mixture into six even portions, place on the tray, and shape into thin patties.
Bake 35-40 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes until they have set. Serve as sandwich, with eggs, or as mini “pizzas.”
Per serving: 140 calories, 9 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 610 mg sodium, 9 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar, 7 grams protein.