This grill comes from the frozen section, and to be honest I wasn’t expecting much for one simple reason: I hate cauliflower. I have always hated cauliflower. My tastes have changed a lot over the years (mushrooms were my favourite, then I hated them, now I can eat them raw by the handful) but cauliflower has always been my enemy. My nemesis. It was time to face it down with these cauliflower cheese grills.
And, well, to be honest, they aren’t that bad. The coating around the outside is crispy and crunchy as you would expect, which makes a good topping (think mac and cheese). The inside is not really hugely cheesy, but the good news is that it is also not really hugely cauliflower-y. Cauliflower-esque. Call it what you will. It does certainly have flavour and it tastes good, but it’s not like the cauliflower cheese I remember disliking immensely as a child.
I wouldn’t say these were my favourite burger alternatives, not by a long run – but the very fact that I can eat them without complaint is a really big compliment to them.
For the second of our alternative pizza month Vines, we made a base out of cauliflower. I’m sure you’ve seen this idea elsewhere – it’s been quite widely used as an alternative way to create a pizza base, making it gluten free. I’m not a big fan of cauliflower, so I had been approaching this one with a little trepidation – was it going to taste like an actual cauliflower, or would there be subtler tastes at work?
It took a little while longer to make than I would have expected, although given that we were making our own dough, it was not unreasonable. One word of warning: don’t use your favourite tea towel. It took two washes to get the smell of cauliflower juice out of ours, and leaving it for just one day before the wash was put on left it stinking in a way that I could barely believe. I thought at first the drains had somehow got blocked until I realised where the smell was coming from.
You can of course substitute your own toppings for those we have used here. One thing I had to notice is that it calls for a lot of parmesan. Perhaps a bit too much. You can definitely taste it in the base, but it is not very strongly flavoured. We had to put in a whole pot, which seems a bit excessive given the results. I’m not sure what the alternative would be, however.
How did it taste? Pretty much like a cheesy cauliflower pizza. It wasn’t terrible – far from it. If I had to get rid of gluten from my diet, maybe I’d try this recipe more often just to get my pizza fix. But this isn’t the best base we’ve had so far during alternative pizza month – the tortillas were so much tastier. I’d rate it somewhere around a 4/10. If you actually like the taste of cauliflower, then you will love this base. It’s also a bit crumbly though, so you might want to eat with knife and fork – although I did manage to pick up the slices by hand, it was a close thing.
Here’s the Vine, so you can see what it’s like to make!
And if you want to try it yourself, the recipe we followed:
Cauliflower base pizza
An alternative pizza base which is gluten free!
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1 head of cauliflower
Handful of basil, shredded
Handful of oregano, shredded
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
50g parmesan (powder)
50g mozzarella (shredded into small pieces)
50g mozzarella, broken up into chunks
1/4 red onion
50g-ish grated cheddar cheese
Preheat oven at 240C.
Trim the leaves/stem from the cauliflower head and chop up to 2 inch chunks.
Rinse cauliflower under running water.
Put cauliflower into blender until finely ground and powdery.
Put the cauliflower in a microwaveable bowl and cover the bowl loosely with kitchen roll. Microwave for 3 minutes.
Spread the cauliflower across a dish towel.
When it is cool enough to hold, gather it all up in the middle and use the towel to wring out the water from the cauliflower. This will take you quite a while, so keep going. You'll have a tiny bit of cauliflower left compared to what you started with.
Combine cauliflower, mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, basil, and garlic powder in a bowl with your hands.
Add the egg and then combine until fully mixed.
Put the mixture onto baking paper on top of a pizza tray and form the crust, around 1/4 inch think.
Bake for around 10 minutes, until crust is golden brown and a little crispy at the edges.
Put your chosen toppings onto the pizza, using the back of a spoon to spread the sauce.
Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until mozzarella is gooey and the crust looks well done.
We used fresh herbs, but dried ones work too.