So in the fridge you have a small chunk of cauliflower, a courgette, some radicchio and some stray basil. Not enough to make a mean veggie bowl filled with grains and a killer dressing, and we’d eaten pasta the night before so that was off the books. My mum isn’t the biggest fan of cauliflower unless I completely mask it with loads of spices, and no avocado is just real sad. You see come Friday it’s the end of the week and the day when I always like to cobble the leftover contents together, and miraculously make a veggie meal for my mum and I. Thank god it’s also the day when my dad goes out to the dirty beer shop (AKA the pub) so doesn’t eat with us, meaning less panic on my behalf due to the lack of meat.
(That’s not to say that I don’t eat meat, im not vegetarian or vegan I just prefer to eat plant based the majority of the time)
I kept wandering to the fridge that day, back and forth racking my brain for what to make for dinner that will use up the odds and ends, but obviously still taste really good. Peeking into the corners and behind the drawers in hope that something had fallen and become lost, no luck there, and if it had, probably would be from a few weeks back and starting to digest itself. Only one thing was on my mind, it had to be pizza. Cauliflower pizza that is. I’m not one to say that this is better than the real thing and you would never know it doesn’t contain gluten, as A. it’s not and B. you would. A proper pizza when done well, a slow risen dough to produce a thin crispy crust, puddles of mozzarella, fresh herbs and a smatter of a tomato sauce, if that’s what you’re expecting cauliflower pizza will never live up to that standard. It’s pretty shameful to even compare it to pizza, it shouldn’t be a substitute for when you’re on a ‘health kick’ or ‘detox’, both should be eaten with enjoyment because they both taste pretty fabulous. It’s same same, but different!
I’ve made this pizza many times, for a Friday night, shared with my mum over a glass of wine. I make a thick tomato sauce spiked with a heavy helping of garlic and fiery chilli along with some oregano and a squirt of tomato purée for some depth. Sometimes I’ll whizz up a pesto with fresh herbs, masses of lemon and a handful of nuts and some oil, lovely drizzled over before serving for that fresh and zingy hit. The toppings are completely adaptable. This time we had roasted courgettes, radicchio and tomatoes, but try a selection of peppers, mushrooms, roast aubergine, artichokes, capers, olives and sweetcorn (which caramelises and goes slightly crispy, we fight over those bits). Then a good scatter of cheese, feta is always a guaranteed pleaser, but some goats cheese is rather good too. Then just before serving a large handful of some vibrant greens like watercress or rocket, drizzle with oil and a squeeze of lemon. Simple, full of veggies, uses up odds and ends and most importantly tastes really very good.
Radicchio, courgette and goats cheese cauliflower pizza
Adapted from Hemsley and Hemsley’s Flower Power pizza
- 140g cauliflower
- 1 egg white
- 50g gram/chickpea flour
- 40g buckwheat flour
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 1/2 tin plum tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Big pinch of chilli flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 1 courgette
- 1/2 radicchio
- Cherry tomatoes
- Cheese, I used a hard goats cheese, but feta, soft goats cheese or mozzarella would also work nicely
- Pine nuts, toasted
- Fresh basil
- Salad leaves, I had a mix of rocket, watercress and spinach
- Olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan. Chop the courgette into rounds, drizzle with oil, place in a roasting tin in the oven for around 20-30 minutes until golden and caramelised
- Next make the base. Put the cauliflower in a food processor and blitz until it looks like couscous. Add the other ingredients and whizz until you form a damp dough. If you don’t have a food processor you can grate the cauliflower on a box grater then mix with the other ingredients in a bowl, this will just take a little longer.
- Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and grease lightly with oil. Spoon the dough on the sheet and spread out thinly, leaving a slightly raised edge. I like to keep it circular for aesthetic reasons (we do eat with our eyes) and around 25cm diameter is a good size to aim for.
- Bake in the oven for 15 mins, flip over and bake for 5 mins more.
- Meanwhile for the tomato sauce, add some oil to a saucepan and place on a low heat, finely chop the garlic and add to the pan and sizzle until it starts to turn slightly golden.
- Squeeze in the tomato purée and cook it for a few minutes, then tip in the tinned tomatoes mush them up with a fork, fill the tin halfway with water and add to the pan also. Add the oregano and chilli flakes and simmer until thick and spreadable, check for seasoning and set aside.
- Flip the pizza base so it’s the right way up and spread in the tomato sauce, leaving a rim around the edge.
- Slice the radicchio thinly and the cherry tomatoes in half, and place on the pizza along with the roast courgette and some chopped fresh basil if you have it.
- Grate the cheese (if it is a hard one) or crumble as much as you like over the pizza, then place back in the oven for 10 mins.
- When it’s cooked, serve on a board with a drizzle of oil and a handful of salad greens.
I’d love to hear what your favourite way with leftovers is, or your favourite pizza toppings. And it is true that leftovers make the best meals, always far better the second time round (especially if paired with a nice glass of wine).
Happy munching my lovelies