This low carb pizza is the perfect savory thin-crust pizza base that suits nearly every dietary need, is Weight-Watchers friendly and still manages to be naturally dairy-free.
Low carb, keto and cheese
Have you ever noticed that the vast majority of “low carb recipes” out there, at least on the Internet (I’ve never purchased a low carb cookbook), are absolutely dominated by cheese? I suspect that, in a few years’ time, all of that cheese in low carb and keto diets will be found to be unhealthy.
Now, I’m not a nutritionist and have never ever been willing to tell anyone how to eat (well, except for my children but even that only goes so far). I rarely provide nutritional information (although I’ve provided it here as an estimate only), and refuse to judge anyone’s personal choices—or allow anyone else on my website or social media channels to do so either.
The world did not need another recipe for the usual cheese-based cauliflower pizza. The Internet is lousy with them, and most of them work beautifully. But my oldest (although she adores cheese) can no longer eat cheese, and I just don’t want to give my family that much of it regularly anyway.
We’ve been relatively pleased with Daiya shredded dairy-free cheese, and I recently just ordered some new Vegan cheese made in Greece that I’m pretty excited to try. But we use that all sparingly. And I’ve tried making the “regular” cauli crust with the cheese replacements, and it’s been awful.
One of my favorite things to eat is my zucchini pizza which I love to make in the summertime when my garden is bursting with the stuff. And when all of my family used to tolerate cheese, I made a more “traditional” cheese-based cauliflower pizza quite frequently.
They were both a great way to get some extra vegetables into my oldest child, who loves both of those recipes despite her general hatred of all recipes. She’s good, she’ll eat some vegetables every day, but not because she usually enjoys them.
But I had been testing both the zucchini and the cauliflower pizza recipes literally for years without cheese with absolutely no success. Generally, cauliflower pizza calls for ricing lightly cooked cauliflower, wringing it dry of moisture and then combining it with eggs and cheese before baking. The texture is great, as long as there’s real cheese in there.
The winning dairy-free method
If you want a flavorful cheese-free low carb pizza base, cauliflower is still a great place to start. But if you only rice the cauliflower, without cheese the texture is just so, so wrong. I’ve choked down those experiments, but I would never even serve them to my family much less recommend them to you!
Finally, the answer was obvious: puree the riced and dried cauliflower along with some eggs, some really flavorful powdered vegetable bouillon that has a nutritional yeast base (I got that idea from my recipe for low carb cauliflower tortillas), and some tapioca starch to serve as both a binder and add some flexibility so the pizza bends (!).
When you spread this simple mixture into a round, and bake it in a really hot oven, it makes such a lovely low carb pizza base with tons of flavor and the perfect crisp-tender texture. You can top it with a simple tomato sauce and some vegan cheese, leave it plain or top it with whatever you like. Once you’ve par-baked it, you can even refrigerate or freeze the base for later use.
Weight Watchers and Carb Counts
I don’t really love the idea of counting WW points or carbs, and am certainly not encouraging anyone who isn’t already doing that to do so. But if you call something “low carb” and say it’s Weight Watchers-friendly, you’d better have the goods!
If you’re following Weight Watchers, this recipe, as written, only has 5 SmartPoints in the entire pizza (without toppings). One-quarter cup of Daiya mozzarella shreds and as much simple oil-free tomato sauce as you like only adds another 3 SmartPoints, too.
The carb count is only 42.9 net carbs for the whole without any toppings (5.4 net carbs for one of 8 slices, according to Cronometer). I really don’t like online nutritional information, as it’s so imprecise. But there it is, for what it’s worth (the label that I generated through Cronometer is in the recipe card below).
Ingredients and substitutions
This is a 4-ingredient recipe, so each ingredient is essential to its success. Making substitutions is going to be difficult, but here are my best-educated guesses. Unless specifically stated otherwise, I have not tried these substitutions.
Egg-free: Diving right into the hardest one, there are 2 eggs in this recipe and theoretically you should be able to replace them with a “chia egg” for each (1 chia egg = 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). But I’m really just not sure here! If you’ve ever been tempted to try a “boiled flax egg” this would be the time to go for it!
Tapioca starch: Tapioca starch/flour (starch and flour are the same thing here!) is always a tricky one to replace as it’s unique in its stretchy properties. You could try replacing it with arrowroot and see how it goes? If you decide to try, please let everyone know!
Vegetable bouillon powder: I adore my homemade vegetable bouillon powder. I almost always have a batch or two in a mason jar in my refrigerator. It’s so easy to throw a bunch of it into boiling water and create instant soup (or homemade “instant” noodle soup) at home or even for an office lunch. It’s absolutely packed with flavor from all the amazing spices in just the right balance.
There are store-bought vegetable bouillon powders, and if you have one you really like, it should work here. A better substitute, though, and one that I know works (but produces a much blander low carb pizza base), is simply 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast flakes + 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
Cauliflower: With this, and any other recipe that is made with “riced” cauliflower, please use as much elbow grease as you can muster to wring all the moisture out of the cauliflower. If you don’t, your mixture will be loose and wet and you’ll have to start adding things to get it to the proper consistency. Just wring it, and then wring it some more!
The only possible substitute I can imagine is shredded zucchini. You might be able to grate an equal amount of raw zucchini, and then wring that dry and use it in place of the riced, cooked and dried cauliflower. But absolutely no promises here. Unless you’re actually allergic to cauliflower, just use cauliflower!
Watch this 1-minute video first
Push play ▶ on the video below and watch me make this pizza base. Then make your own! It might be the easiest thing you do all day!