Friday, February 3, 2012

Cauliflower Pizza

January came and went, and I survived yet another year of Vegan-O-Con. That's 30 days of eating a Vegan diet, which excludes cheese, dairy, honey, Eggo waffles, hot chocolate packets and countless other food products that I hold near and dear to my ticker. Given that it sounds generally strange for me to suddenly embrace such a dark, twisted world (a lifestyle that millions of other people adhere to regularly), here me out.

All through December, I continuously trash my body. I'm not necessarily an unhealthy eater, but I definitely have a difficult time saying no to all the holiday treats and eats that are constantly orbiting around my vicinity. I truly have zero self-control when it comes to December. And it works, because I know that when January rolls it's enlarged belly around, I will pay. And I will regain my personal standard of healthy by cancelling out the butter, sugar and grossly portions of chocolate with absurd amounts of kale chips, nutritional yeast, and grape tomatoes.

It's strange, but this is totally a system that works for me. Yes, I had two cheat instances (heelllo Tony's pizza and mini-cupcakes) but I didn't beat myself up for it. I got right back on track and dedicated myself to plant-based foods the next meal.

I also find that it sets the tone for the remainder of the year. If I eat super clean in January, I enter February with a strong mindset of what healthy meals should consist of. Meals that make me feel good and leave me with energy. Meals that will include cheese and milk, but will still include veggies and healthy protein. I also find that my cravings for sugar dwindle almost down to nothing. This is saying a lot, given that I am a human female.

Oddly enough (psych) I was completely counting on a nice hearty slice of PIZZA this first week to initiate my non-vegan diet. Quite coincidentally I came across this recipe that used veggies in a way I've never imagined before. As pizza crust. It had to happen.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
adapted from Eat.Drink.Smile.
makes 2 medium pizzas

3 cups riced cauliflower (one small cauliflower - read Beth's ricing instructions)
2 eggs, whisked
2 cups shredded cheese (I used half mozzarella, half cheddar)
1/2 cup almond meal
3 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons minced garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
any toppings you want!

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and grease your baking sheets

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cauliflower, eggs, cheese, and flax meal.

3. Once fully combine, add in the oregano, garlic and S&P. Stir stir stir!

4. Once all the ingredients are fully incorporated, divide into two equal-sized balls and flatten onto the baking sheets to a 1/4 inch width.

5. Place in the oven on the middle rack for about 20 minutes. These babies will begin to smell heaaaavenly, and will make you so excited to see how they turn out. Is cauliflower crust truly possible?

6. Once the crust is hardened but not burned, take them out and turn off the heat and the broiler setting on.

7. Add your toppings - we went with a Mediterranean themed pie, complete with sundried tomatoes, olives, caramelized onions and capers with a pesto sauce. The second was marinera-based, with a bean-puree, onions and cheddar sauce.

8. Place under the broil until the cheese begins to bubble - about 5 minutes.

9. Remove from oven and let sit for about a minute. This may be the hardest things you've ever done.

I really dug this! It's not quite pizza, as the crust IS made of cauliflower, so a fork was required for some bites. The flavor was excellent though, and i felt just as satisfied as if I had eaten real pizza. This will be happening again!

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