Free of gluten, eggs, dairy, meat, and nuts. And full of flavors, textures, and tastes for a mouth-wateringly healthy take on a classic family dinner....
I was once told that you could have 9 doctors in a room and hear 13 different opinions on the same question. It's true. It isn't because we are trying to be contrary or difficult (though it may seem like it sometimes). Over the years, I have realized the truth is that there isn't always just one way to approach a situation. There isn't always one "right" answer. This is true of diet and what are the healthiest eating habits.
Most seem to be able to agree on some general diet basics though:
Eat a variety of fresh veggies and fiber sources
Eat less salt, sugar, and "bad" fats
Eat more plants and whole foods
Now, folks, as with everything in health and medicine, what is best for one person, may not be best for all people. It is always best to work with your healthcare team before making too many dietary changes. Nutrition can be complex and you may want to add in specific foods or other nutrition once you start eating less meat and other animal-products. In any case, it is worth the conversation with your healthcare provider.
As I begin to talk more with school-aged children about eating a more heart-healthy diet, there is a really interesting thing that has become very clear. Most often, it isn't the students in the room that are the most hesitant to try the new dishes. It is the adults. Listen, I get it. The adults in the room are most often fairly close to the same age as me. And we grew up in a different time.
We grew up in a time when processed foods were preferred by most everyone at the table. Stouffer's, Kraft, and Kellogg's were reliably delicious. Almost like the precise balance of sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats in each serving was perfected in a lab to meet our exact biological cravings.... Also, there was no recipe to mix up or brussel sprouts to overcook. Ugh, the overcooked brussel sprouts were the worst. No wonder we all grew up hating vegetables.
Seriously, veggies were scary as a kid in the 70's, 80's, and 90s. Sometimes they were delicious, but more often they were bland, soggy, and tasteless. You could never tell what you were going to get until it was placed in front of you and this sort of instability about how dinner was going to taste was scary! It was far safer to just eat some meat or processed food. At least you knew how that was going to taste.
Well, folks, times have changed. Most have come to realize that one of the surest ways to good health is eating a healthy diet. And, most experts agree that a diet based mostly on plants is healthiest. So, many people have started to prepare veggies and other plant-based foods in new and exciting ways. Then, once they have perfected the precise blend of spices and other flavors, the recipe is posted on the internet so you too can enjoy the delicious plant-based creation!
This means that there is an endless supply of delicious and innovative ways of preparing vegetables and other plant-based meals right at your fingertips. You just have to do a little research. And be open. Veggies aren't nearly as scary as they were when we were kids. And they aren't nearly as scary as that bag of food that has no expiration date. Promise.
This gluten-free, vegan Cauliflower-Crust Pizza is one of those meals that will leave everyone at your table asking what is in that crust?! The cauliflower can be your little secret. Or, your personal pride in sneaking in one or two more servings of veggies into dinner.
In any case, you will be asked for this recipe. Promise.
Temptingly Delicious Cauliflower-Crust Pizza
Prep time: 45 minutes
1.) Preheat oven to 400F.
2.) Prepare Cauliflower Crust:
Cook riced cauliflower according to instructions, allow to cool completely. Place cooled cauliflower in a cheesecloth and squeeze excess water. (This step is essential in making this crust the most delicious.)
In a small mixing bowl, combine 5T of ground chia or flax seeds and water. Mix well and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Add in chia/flax eggs. It may be necessary to use your hands to kneed the dough together.
Line pizza sheet with parchment paper. (It is very important to use parchment paper, it will not turn out as well without it.) Spread dough into a thin layer on top of the parchment paper.
Place in oven until lightly browned and pulling up at the edges, about 15-20 minutes. Often helpful to flip the crust one time to brown on both sides.
3.) Prepare the Pesto:
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until nearly smooth.
Set aside to allow flavors to combine.
Can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week or the freezer for up to 3-4 weeks.
4.) Prepare the toppings:
Brown the soy chorizo according to instructions.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and lightly brown. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened. Set aside.
Lightly brown the broccolini and set aside.
Lightly brown the zucchini slices and set aside.
5.) Make the pizza:
Coat cauliflower crust with thin later of pesto. Top with Daiya "cheese". Add soy chorizo and veggies. Add a bit more Daiya cheese on top.
Place in oven for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting.
6.) Best enjoyed immediately, but it is still pretty tasty as left-overs. Hope you and your family enjoy this heart-healthy twist on a classic dinner!
This recipe was created as a part of the Jefferson Middle School, Spring 2017 class.
The students at JMS were a part of the pilot program thru funding from:
Additional support provided by: