A Crispy, Delicious Plant-Based Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

Photo by Julia Gartland

Anyone who’s attempted cauliflower pizza crust knows its primary pitfall: a soggy center. With only a few exceptions, recipes for cauli crusts often result in something that, while delicious, requires a spoon and a bowl to eat.

When we first stumbled upon a photo of Lily Simpson’s version in Detox Kitchen Vegetables, we were taken aback by its deeply tanned, amber-tinged edges, and what looked like a thin, firmly crispy center. We took things to the test kitchen, and were not disappointed. Thanks to Simpson’s instructions, plus a few improvisations of our own, we’re happy to report that we have a plant-based pizza keeper on our hands.

1. How Low Can You Go?

As Simpson says, “A perfect cauliflower pizza has a crispy base and the key to that is making sure it is pressed out as thinly as possible.” She recommends a thickness of about 1-centimeter, or a little more than 1/3-inch. Any thicker, and you’re likely to end up with a crust that has the texture of a baked potato, rather than a cracker.

2. Chill Out.

After you’ve pressed out your cauliflower crust, if you have time, Simpson recommends popping it into the fridge to chill for 20 to 30 minutes. This step allows the crust to meld together better, and facilitates maximum crispiness once the pizza is baked.

3. Take a Page from Pie’s Book.

As with pie crusts, we’ve found that par-baking our cauliflower crust before topping it with sauce and accoutrement is crucial for firming up and drying out the center. We’d recommend baking Simpson’s crust for 10 minutes before removing it, adding the toppings, and finishing it for another 15 to 20 minutes in the oven.

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Beyond its crisp crust, we love Simpson’s cauliflower creation because it’d be equally good as a light weekday dinner, or as the star of a Saturday night pizza party. “Marinating” the tomato topping in lemon zest is a clever way to brighten late-season tomatoes, and the addition of acid balances the starchy flavor of cauliflower. Double down by tossing in a teaspoon or so of lemon juice as well.

Like with any good pizza, the recipe is flexible: Swap out the plum tomatoes for another type, or for whatever vegetable looks best at the farmers market. You could use Simpson’s instructions just for the crust, and pile on your favorite sauce and toppings: Pesto, vegan “cheese,” and thinly sliced fridge pickles would all be excellent.

Serves 2

  • 2

    large plum tomatoes, cut lengthways into thin wedges

  • 1/2

    red onion, cut into wedges

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • 1

    teaspoon olive oil, plus extra for frying and drizzling

  • Fresh basil leaves, to garnish

  • 2

    garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 150

    grams cherry tomatoes

  • 1

    teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1

    cauliflower, cut into florets

  • 100

    grams ground almonds

  • 75

    grams gluten-free flour

  • 1


  • 1

    teaspoon dried mixed herbs

  • 1

    teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/2

    teaspoon celery salt

  • Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper

Go to Recipe

What are your favorite toppings for cauliflower pizza? Let us know in the comments!

Gluten-Free, Wellness

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