Anna Jones' Cauliflower Pizza recipe

Cauliflower pizza with chard and red onion
  1. Cauliflower pizza with chard and red onion
  2. Cauliflower pizza margherita

Anna Jones' cauliflower pizza recipe is amazing but it helps not to think of it as a traditional pizza. I've made it countless times and although I love bread based pizzas, this cauliflower alternative is a good choice if you're craving pizza but want a slightly healthier option.

My first attempt was somewhat lacklustre but showed promise. The original recipe suggests using half a tin of chopped tomatoes, basil and olive oil for the sauce but I found that chopped tomatoes didn't really cut it. I now either make a big batch of strong tomato sauce (enough for three pizzas) and freeze the leftovers to use later or I use a good quality, thick passata. The sauce doesn't take long to make and because it gets blended using a stick blender there's no need to finely chop anything so it's fairly low effort. 

If the cauliflower I'm using is quite large (my last one weighed 550g when chopped into florets) I add an extra egg to help the mixture bind but two eggs is normally enough for a medium sized cauliflower.

My favourite toppings include rainbow chard, onions, black olives, fresh basil, goats' cheese, pesto and the controversial pineapple (but not all at once). I'm greedy when it comes to portion sizes but I find that this pizza is satisfying for two to share.

Note: This recipe requires a food processor.

Additional note: Anna Jones' vegetarian cookbook is an absolute favourite of mine. I've been using it for just under a year and it contains some incredible recipes, in particular the 'proper chilli', 'ribollita' and 'lemon lentil soup'. I can't recommend it enough.

Ingredients

Serves: 2

Pizza base

  • olive or rapeseed oil
  • 100g oats
  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • salt and black pepper

Sauce

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbs tomato purée
  • 1 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • large handful fresh basil, stalks included
  • salt and black pepper

Toppings (whatever you like)

  • a ball of buffalo mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp caramelised red onions
  • a few stalks of rainbow chard, sliced
  • fresh basil

Method

For the base:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan). Line a large baking tray with good quality greaseproof paper (my tray is 44cm by 30cm) and drizzle over some oil.
  2. Blitz the oats in the food processor briefly and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Chop the cauliflower into small florets and process in the food processor until you have fine crumbs (I have to do this in batches as my food processor is small).
  4. Tip the cauliflower into the bowl with the oats and add the ground almonds and dried oregano. Give everything a good stir and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Make a well in the middle of the cauliflower mixture and pour in the eggs. Mix until everything comes together. The dough will feel wet and won't be stretchy like regular pizza dough.
  6. Place the dough onto the oiled baking tray and flatten it out until it's about 0.5cm thick and slightly thicker around the edges. I either make a large rectangular pizza or two round pizzas.
  7. Place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes until the base just starts to colour.

While the dough is baking make the pizza sauce (or just use good quality thick passata):

  1. Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the oil to the pan.
  2. Roughly slice the garlic cloves and fry them until they start to soften. This should take about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tinned tomatoes to the saucepan along with the vinegar, tomato purée, oregano and basil.
  4. When the sauce starts to bubble, season and taste it. 
  5. Blend with a stick blender until smooth then divide into three portions (two to be used later). The extra portions can be frozen.

To finish the pizza:

  1. Increase the oven temperature to 240°C (220°C fan).
  2. Remove the pizza base from the oven and pour over the pizza sauce spreading it right to the edges.
  3. Add the toppings, tear over the mozzarella and finish with fresh basil. Drizzle over extra olive oil if desired.
  4. Place back into the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese starts to turn golden brown.
  5. Remove the pizza from the oven and divide into slices. Take care when removing the slices as they can be delicate. I use a fish slice or a long turner to transfer them to pre-warmed plates.

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