Hi, I’m Melady and I’m a BLT addict. I’ve made BLT soup, which was SO good. I made BLT pasta salad and THAT was fabulously flavored as well. For an appetizer at a finger foods party recently I made BLT cherry tomatoes that were a HUGE hit. Recently I made a BLT dip for chips. Next trick: BLT pizza.
Oh so simple, you say? Not so. I also was making my first vegetable crust pizza. After watching everyone try the cauliflower pizza crust and wanting to try it myself, I found people also made the crust out of either spinach or zucchini. Well poo, now I had to decide which veggie to use. Since I had a cauliflower in my fridge, it was a no-brainer: cauliflower crust it would be.
Again I read through many blogs who had tried the cauliflower crust and decided to trust Lucky Penny and follow her recipe. She’s made several kinds of pizza crusts and bread sticks and I thought I’d go with experience so I wouldn’t end up with a mess. That’s not to say that she would be the reason something wouldn’t turn out right; I totally understand the cook herself (me) could be the reason a recipe fails. And I’ve had some doozies (does anyone besides my mom still say “doozies?”).
I was going to think positive, put on my superhero apron, and tie it around my waist this time instead of around my neck. I cut up the cauliflower and put it into my food processor. A few pulses and it was reduced to a fine texture. After microwaving it for a few minutes I let it rest for about 15 minutes to cool.
Using my handy jelly strainer bag, I put the cauliflower in and squeezed out the moisture a few times. I made sure I squeezed out as much as I could, then dumped the cauliflower back into a mixing bowl.
I measured the cheeses and the rest of the ingredients, and mixed it well with my hand. I then spread it out onto a piece of parchment paper I’d sprayed with cooking spray. Carefully I spread it out and formed the pizza crust circle, making sure the edges were a little thick. Most of the pictures I’d seen with very dark edges on the finished crust looked like the edges were too thin. And I was wise on that, my edges weren’t very dark. Well, not all the way around, anyway.
From what I read on blogs, this crust has stuck to everything except sprayed parchment paper or silpats. I had no trouble with the parchment paper sticking so I suggest you not try foil or straight onto a greased pan.
I put the sheet pan in my preheated 450° oven and set my timer for 20 minutes. I kept checking on it, watching it closely. I let it go 5 more minutes, for a total of 25 minutes, and thought it looked browned enough and possible crispy.
Removing the pan from the oven, I set it on a rack while I assembled my toppings. I’d browned up some smoked bacon; diced the bacon up into ½” pieces, and fried them until they were crispy.
I didn’t want sauce on this pizza because I was going to cover it with slices of luscious garden ripened tomatoes. I spread about two cups of white cheddar cheese over the crust first. I was out of mozzarella but I like white cheddar even more so that was a good substitute. I’d put the last of my mozzarella into the crust.
Next I sprinkled the bacon bits all over the top of the cheese, then laid the tomato slices over the pizza.
I roughly chopped a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach and spread them over the tomato slices, then topped the pizza with a sprinkling of shredded parmesan. I know I said this was BLT, but really it was a BST. You could use lettuce instead by simply adding it after the pizza is baked. If you really wanted L instead of S. Just an option.
I put the pan back into the oven on the middle rack so that it would take just a bit longer to bake and hopefully the cheese would be golden and bubbly before the edges were very dark. I watched the pizza closely; it took about 25 minutes. I turned the pan halfway around after about 15 minutes so the pizza evenly browned.
When I removed the pizza from the oven it smelled heavenly. I was eager to see how this worked out. I let it cool for about 5 minutes, then used a pizza cutter to cut it into 8 wedges. How did it cut? Like a real pizza! So far, so good! It didn’t seem too tough or too soft. Maybe it was going to have the right texture?
Yes! It was really good! The crust was firm enough so that I could hold and eat the pizza, even though I don’t always do that. I’m a fork kind of person most of the time since we usually order deep dish pizzas, the rare times we have pizza.
The flavor was good, with all that cheese in the cauliflower it made up for not having a yeasty bread kind of taste. And the toppings that created the BLT effect were on the mark. I think a drizzle of homemade ranch dressing would have been an excellent finish for the effect. Note to self: have it freshly made and on hand next time I make a BLT pizza (probably never).
I will mention that I found the crust a little salty. With the different cheeses in the crust and more added on top with bacon, I think I’ll skip adding salt to the crust next time. The salt in the cheese would be plenty.
I was encouraged by the success of my first veggie crust, and will move on and try other vegetable crusts. I’ll let you know. As for my BLT phase, I’ve done a soup, a dip, a salad, a pizza.. maybe next we need a BLT drink? Um, or a BLT dessert? I’ll think on it.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
3 cups cauliflower, riced
1/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
½ teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt (optional- the cheeses make it fairly salty)
2 cups mozzarella, shredded (or cheese of choice)
8 slices bacon, diced and browned until crispy
2 large tomatoes; thinly sliced
1 cup spinach, slightly chopped
½ cup parmesan, shredded
Microwave the cauliflower on high for 4 minutes. Let cool for about 15 minutes, then squeeze all of the moisture out using a tea towel or jelly strainer bag.
In a bowl, mix the cauliflower, mozzarella, parmesan, egg, oregano, basil, garlic powder and salt if desired. Form the mixture into a circle on a slicone mat or sprayed parchment paper lined baking sheet. Make sure the edges are thick and neatly formed. Bake in a preheated 450° F oven until lightly golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
Layer crust with cheese, bacon, tomato slices, spinach and parmesan. Bake on a rack in the middle of the oven until the cheese is browned and bubbling, another 15-20 minutes.