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Cauliflower is great for a side but fails as a crust

By Dave Schreck

My first attempt at cooking was a pizza. Remember Appian Way pizza in a box, the Chef Boyardee pizza kit?

I then graduated to dough from the local Italian bakery and then making my own organic whole wheat pizza dough in a Cuisinart. What could be healthier -- lots of complex carbs (grains), vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, and onions), and cheese, just what the experts recommended and years before I read "The Zone." For me pizza was more than comfort food. It was a staple for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Recently, a colleague suggested I feature the humble cauliflower as one of the few white foods acceptable on the Zone. When I read about a pizza with a cauliflower crust, I got excited. After grating, boiling, squeezing the water out, mixing in an egg and goat cheese, I had a small grapefruit size ball of cauliflower. It was labor intensive, and I still had to "roll out the dough." The result was three small patties that after baking for 20 minutes I knew would never compare to a thin-crusted, coal-fired pizza. They reminded me of my mother's German potato pancakes. Helpful hint: If you're hankering for pizza, go to your favorite pizza joint for your monthly pig- out. If you need your pizza fix on a regular basis, place pizza sauce on an Original Low-Carb Flatout Flatbread, topped with 2% cheese and your favorite lean protein. Bake, and you'll be done an hour and a half before the cauliflower pizza dough is ready!

Back to the humble cauliflower. Here are two recipes you will find easy and tasty. Consider these recipes as a side dish. Additional veggies and lean protein are required for a balanced meal.

Curried Cauliflower with Chickpeas and Spinach

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 head of cauliflower (about 1 lb.) cut into florets
1 medium onion
3/4 cup water
1 container (6 oz) plain low-fat Greek yogurt
2-3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons curry paste (Pataks') choose your flavor type
1 can chickpeas – rinsed, drained
1 small bag baby spinach (10 oz.)

Salt and pepper to taste.

Procedure:

  1. Heat oil in a non-stick pan, add onion and cook until soft.
  2. Add cauliflower florets with ¾ cup of water. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender.
  3. In a bowl mix yogurt, milk and curry paste. Add more milk for desired consistency
  4. Add chickpeas and spinach to cauliflower and cook until spinach is wilted
  5. Stir in yogurt mixture; simmer uncovered for desired consistency
  6. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Garnish with parsley

Sounds tasty but is there something easier? Try this:

Roasted Cauliflower (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

Ingredients
1 head cauliflower (about 1 lb.)
2 tablespoons olive oil or olive oil spray
Kosher salt and pepper

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 475. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Remove outer leaves and cut cauliflower into 4 equal wedges.
  3. Drizzle and rub all wedges with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place wedges cut side down.
  4. Cover with foil and place on lowest oven rack for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove foil and continue to roast until wedges begin to brown, about 8-10 minutes.
  6. Flip wedges over and continue to roast until golden.
  7. Adjust seasoning; drizzle with additional olive oil if desired.