Saturday, January 18, 2014

Tailgating Recipe: Cauliflower Crust Chicken Tomato-Pesto Pizza!

So, after being challenged to create a healthy version of a tailgating recipe, with much deliberation, I finally decided to health-ify an old classic (and one of Steve's weaknesses): pizza! Of course, on game day, everyone loves to pick up the phone and dial for pizza delivery. But wait--- those pizzas are loaded with calories, fat, and carbs! Just because it's football time, doesn't mean you need to blow your diet entirely. So here's a healthy version of an old classic: cauliflower crust chicken tomato-pesto pizza!
Deliciously healthy twist on an old classic!
Sheesh, I can hear you guys from all the way over here! "Cauliflower crust?! What the heck?!" Simmer down guys, simmer down. Stay with me on this one, folks. Cauliflower is a superb cooking base, because it has such a mild flavor--- very neutral. That mild flavor lets it be melded into almost any dish seamlessly... be it mock alfredo sauce, low carb bread, scrambled tofu, and (in this case!) even pizza crust. So, just trust me on the deliciousness of this, and give this recipe a try! It'll be worth it!

Cauliflower Crust Chicken Tomato-Pesto Pizza (Makes 1 Pizza with 8 Slices; Serves 4 with 2 Slices Each)

1 Head of cauliflower, chopped
3/4 Cup whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning (a mix of basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram--- in case you don't have this in your cupboard!)
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon pepper
3 Egg whites

1/2 Cup tomato paste (tomato should be the only ingredient!)
1 1/2 Tablespoons roasted garlic vinegar
2 Packets Truvia/Stevia
1 Bunch fresh basil (retain 2 or so leaves for garnishing)
1/2 Teaspoon oregano
1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 Teaspoon onion powder
1/2 Teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 Ounces finely chopped chicken
1 Teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 Garlic clove, chopped
1 Large heirloom tomato, sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, process the cauliflower (raw) until the cauliflower has a rice-like texture. Mix in the whole wheat flour, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper until thoroughly combined. Lastly, add the egg whites until the mixture forms a dough-like consistency.

Place foil on a baking sheet (or a pizza pan if you have one), and grease the foil lightly. Place the cauliflower dough in the middle of the foil, and press outwards to form a flat, round pizza crust about 1/4 inch thick. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the crust becomes golden-brown, ensuring that the middle of the crust is thoroughly cooked as well.

In the meantime, coat the chicken in the Italian seasoning and chopped garlic, then cook on a lightly greased pan over high heat until the chicken is no longer pink. In a food processor, mix together the tomato paste, roasted garlic vinegar, stevia, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and basil (retain 2 leaves or so of the basil to garnish the pizza). Mix together to form a delicious pizza sauce.
Steve taste- testing the pizza sauce! He said "that blows Little Caesar's out of the water!" I guess that's a compliment!
Once the cauliflower crust is removed from the oven, spread the pizza sauce in a thin layer over the crust, except for the outer rim of the crust (for me, this pizza sauce was the perfect amount to coat the pizza). Then, arrange the heirloom tomato slices on top of the pizza sauce. Next, sprinkle the seasoned chicken over the pizza as well. Lastly, chop the remaining basil leaves, and sprinkle the basil over the pizza as garnish.

Return the pizza to the oven, and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and wait 5-10 minutes for the pizza to cool slightly, then use a pizza slicer to cut the pizza into 8 slices. Enjoy!

See guys? No need to throw your diet out the window just to indulge in some pizza! This recipe gives you a healthy alternative--- that you won't feel guilty about! And, of course, you can add almost any toppings you desire: mushrooms, peppers, onions, broccoli, shrimp, seasoned ground turkey--- just about anything you'd like! Of course, I'd avoid the boatload of cheese, just to keep this healthy--- but any veggies, lean protein, etc. would be great on this! Yummy! Enjoy this one guys! I know I did!

Oh my goodness... so tasty!