This an idea I first came across in The Green Kitchen (HardieGrant), the debut cookbook by Stockholm-based bloggers Luise Vindahl and David Frenkiel of Green Kitchen Stories. It’s a very pretty book and full of virtuous, easy to make, vegetarian and clean-eating recipes. It makes me want to abandon animal protein (almost) and move to Sweden. Okay, I admit, it’s not just the uber-cool Vindahl-Frenkiel talent that has me all Scandi-obsessed – this is also fuelled by my addiction to Danish-Swedish TV series Bron/Broen and Danish The Killing – not that I want to live round the psycho killers portrayed, but the people, the scenery, the design – love love love.
Back to the food. The Green Kitchen features a recipe for a pizza base made with cauli rice, which I just adapted slightly in measurements and I used both egg and chia seed as binders. This recipe will make one large base or two smaller ones, enough for 2-3 adults. It’s not – obviously – a dough; there’s no gluten in it so it’s not stretchy or puffy at the edges or any of those delights we associate with a good traditional pizza base. It’s a different beast – but a lovely idea in its own right, it doesn’t impart a strong cauliflower taste which is surprising, it’s not going to upset any gluten-intolerant tummies and it’s full of good cruciferous nutrients. I don’t suffer from any food intolerances that know of, but I did notice that after eating a big portion of pizza made with this base, I didn’t feel overly full or feel the need to lie prostrate on the sofa the way I sometimes feel after ‘real’ pizza.
You’ll need about 2 cups of cauli rice to start with. That’s the yield from one smaller or half a very large cauli: remove the stem bits and pulse the florets in a processor until you have the consistency of fine couscous. Take your 2 cups of cauli rice and mix in a large bowl with 1/3 cup ground almonds, 1 heaped Tbsp white chia seeds and 2 eggs. The mixture will be a bit sloppy but will hold together like a thick paste. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the chia seed to do its gel thing – this helps bind the base. Tip the mixture out and press out into desired shape. I like to make this pizza oblong or a long rectangle, as it’s easier to cut and eat in that shape. Bake the cauli base in an oven preheated to 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes or until light golden round the edges. Remove from oven and add whatever toppings you fancy, then return to oven and bake for another 15 minutes or so until cheese is melted, topping is cooked to your liking and the edges of the base are a nice crispy brown.
WHERE TO BUY:
Ground almonds or almond flour is a fairly expensive ingredient, but this recipe only uses a small amount. I buy ground almonds from the Indian grocers Top N Town or Sandringham Food Market in Sandringham, where it’s usually around $17/kilo. This is the cheapest I’ve found it in Auckland.
Chia seed is also quite pricey, but again the amount used isn’t much and it expands in contact with liquid like in this recipe. I buy chia seed, both white and black, from Bulk Savings (217 Dominion Rd Auckland 09-630 6235).