Tomatoes, goat cheese, and fresh basil encased in a savory cauliflower blanket.
Cauliflower pizza crust has been a “thing” for a while now and if you haven’t tried it chances are you’ve at least heard of it. I only recently got around to making a cauliflower pizza crust for the first time and though the results were delicious there were two things that bothered me. First, despite the fact that it LOOKS very much like pizza crust, it doesn’t have nearly the stiffness or structure, so if you try to hold it like a traditional piece of pizza, it just flops over. Second, it was incredibly messy to make. Most recipes for cauliflower crust pizza, including the one I was using, call for a head of fresh cauliflower that you chop into florets and then run through the food processor to make “cauliflower rice”. Not only do I hate using my food processor unless I absolutely have to – because it is big, bulky, and a pain in the neck to wash – but the cauliflower, when processed, turned into white sticky crumbs that clung to everything. I try to be as neat as possible when I cook so this drove me crazy! However, the final result was so tasty I decided to rework the recipe to create a new dish using the same ingredients. Cauliflower Roulade is nothing more than a cauliflower pizza crust, pressed into a rectangle instead of a circle, and formed into a “roulade”, which is a French culinary term meaning “roll”. It looks a lot fancier than pizza and boy is it scrumptious!
To simplify this recipe, I use frozen cauliflower vs. fresh because it is so much easier to work with. A 1-pound bag of frozen cauliflower florets is the exact size needed in this recipe so there is no waste. As mentioned, most cauliflower pizza crust recipes call for the fresh cauliflower to be chopped very fine (or riced) in a food processor, and then cooked. However, when using frozen cauliflower, you can cook it first, and then mash it really well by hand. This method eliminates the need for a food processor and ensures a consistency that is cohesive and smooth enough to easily press the mixture into one even layer. Another shortcut I used was to remove the water from the cauliflower using a potato ricer. (If you don’t remove water from the cauliflower you will end up with a crust that is too tender and may not hold together.) Most recipes call for you the dump the cooked cauliflower onto a clean dish towel, bundle it up tightly, and then wring out all the water. Again, I find this method messy and prefer to use a potato ricer to extract the water. Fill the potato ricer with the mashed cauliflower and press the handles together until no more water comes out and the cauliflower is just starting to poke through the holes. It works perfectly, but if you don’t have a ricer use the towel method instead.
Once the crust is baked, top it, roll it up, and bake 10 minutes more. That’s all there is to it!
If you love cauliflower but were never sold on the idea of using it in a pizza crust then this recipe is for you! You can fill Cauliflower Roulade with any of the toppings you’d find on a typical pizza but because it’s rolled up into layers you’ll get bigger, more satisfying bites than you would with single layer pizza slices. Pair this delicious gluten-free/vegetarian dish with a simple green salad and a piece of bread for a complete lunch or dinner.
- 1 - 16-ounce bag of frozen cauliflower florets
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ cup shredded (low-moisture) mozzarella
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese - about 3 ounces
- ½ ounce fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
- 10-12 red or yellow cherry tomatoes (about 4 ounces) halved or cut into thirds
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the frozen cauliflower and water in a 2 quart, flat bottom, microwave safe, covered casserole dish and microwave on high for 12 minutes.
- Remove from the microwave and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the cover and drain any water remaining in the bottom of the dish. Mash the cauliflower well with a potato masher or the tines or a fork.
- Let sit, uncovered, until the mixture is cool, then remove water from the cauliflower using a potato ricer (squeeze all water out and stop as soon a cauliflower starts poking through the holes) or by wrapping the mixture up in a clean dish towel and ringing it tightly until all the water is removed.
- Combine the mashed cauliflower with the olive oil, cheeses, salt, seasoning, garlic powder, and egg. Place the mixture on a silicone lined baking sheet and press it into a 9½ x 14½ inch rectangle of even thickness. (A piece of plastic wrap on top helps when patting the mixture into an even layer.) Dab lightly with paper towels to remove excess surface moisture.
- Bake for 20 minutes on bottom rack of oven. Let cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle goat cheese on top, followed by basil leaves, and then tomatoes. Starting at one of the short ends, and using a spatula as an aid, roll up the cauliflower roulade style. Bake for 10 minutes more.
- Garnish with fresh basil if desired.
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