It's hard not to enjoy the taste of pizza without keeping your digestive enzymes on stand-by. We think it's so good, it deserves a healthy upgrade. We've changed the ingredients to be vegan-friendly and we've created a gluten-free cauliflower crust pizza that will have you going back for seconds. This is a great recipe to adapt when on the 21-Day program, because you simply can omit the sun-dried tomatoes or substitute any of your favorite veggies (zucchini, olive, acorn squash - the possibilities are endless)!
Cauliflower is often used to replace grains like rice or white potatoes. Its firm texture and light flavor makes it a great substitution in this pizza as well. Cauliflower is full of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial antioxidants. Glucosinolates are a type of phytonutrient provided by cauliflower, and the reason for the pungent smell of cauliflower when it is cooking. They help a variety of bodily functions like immunity, digestion, and detoxification.
Quinoa is extremely protein-rich for a grain. In any vegan dish, adding protein through whole ingredients is hugely beneficial. Quinoa is one of the few plant sources that qualifies as a complete protein, this means that it contains all 9 essential amino acids, crucial for our bodies to function properly. Quinoa is also a great source of fiber, containing almost twice as much as most other grains. Soaking quinoa makes the grain more easily digested, and improves our body's ability to break down and use the nutrients.
Flax not only acts as a binder in this crust but also comes with a host of benefits. It is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to improve heart health and prevent high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attacks. Flax seeds have been shown to help with symptoms of menopause, PMS, and polycystic ovarian disorder. The benefits come from their content of lignans, which have estrogenic properties and can act as a natural hormone therapy. These lignans can also help regulate menstrual cycles and prevent osteoporosis.
BENEFITS OF PESTO
Nutritional yeast is another superhero for vegans. It's also a complete protein and often contains vitamin B-12 which is usually sourced from animal protein. Pine nuts (which are actually seeds), cause the digestive system to secrete a high amount of cholecystokinin, which is a hormone that suppresses the appetite. This may help you regulate how much you eat and prevent you from taxing your digestive system. Basil gives great flavor to this dish along with the antibacterial and antioxidative effects it has in our body.
1/2 cup quinoa, soaked for 3 hours
1/2 large cauliflower (about 1/2 pound)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon flax seed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Zest of one lemon
2 cups packed basil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup raw pine nuts
1/4 packed sun-dried tomatoes (omit if cleansing)
1/2 purple onion
2 cups dino kale
Place quinoa in a bowl and cover with water. Soak quinoa for a least 3 hours, overnight being preferable. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut cauliflower head in half, storing one-half for use later. Chop the other half roughly and discard leaves. Drain and rinse quinoa. Place quinoa, cauliflower, water, flax, baking powder, oregano, garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and salt into a blender.
Blend on high until a smooth mixture remains (it will resemble pancake batter). Heat a generous layer of olive oil over medium heat. When oil is shimmering but not smoking, pour in batter and use a spoon to even it out.
Cook until the crust is lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Use a spatula to carefully flip the batter. Place entire pan into the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Remove crust from pan and set aside to cool slightly.
While crust bakes, prepare pesto sauce. Place all ingredients except olive oil into a food processor.
Pulse a few times to mix ingredients, then slowly drizzle olive oil with speed on low to create pesto sauce. You can continue to add olive oil until your desired consistency is reached.
Thinly slice purple onions, finely chop sundried tomatoes, and destem and chop kale. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over kale and toss with your hands.
Place parchment paper over a baking sheet. Place crust on the baking sheet, spread pesto over top, and sprinkle red onions and tomatoes over top. Sprinkle kale last, so that it will crisp up in the oven. Bake for 10-15 additional minutes until veggies are cooked and kale is crispy. Let pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe and photography by Kaitlyn Noble
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