Make the most of summer vegetables and still enjoy that chewy pizza crust with this low carb recipe for zucchini keto pizza.
Baking with zucchini
Whether you're just trying to keep up with the zucchini growing in your garden, or trying to sneak some veggies into a child who hates them, baking with zucchini is at first strange, and then lovely.
Remember when cauliflower recipes started showing up everywhere? It's packed with nutrients, very low carb, relatively cheap, and incredibly versatile. I like to think of zucchini as summer's cauliflower.
How (and why) to squeeze out the moisture from zucchini
Like cauliflower, zucchini has a ton of moisture. If you've ever grown zucchini yourself, you know that it can go from small to jumbo in the blink of an eye. That extra growth is nearly all moisture.
It's nearly impossible to control for the amount of water in each zucchini in baking. So to level the playing field for baking a consistently good product, I like to squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the zucchini before baking with it.
In addition, if you want to make a pizza that's crisp and chewy instead of light and fluffy, you want to limit the moisture in the recipe entirely. Here, the cheeses and eggs provide a fair amount of moisture on their own, but the coconut flour absorbs that moisture and creates just the right balance.
The best way to remove the moisture from zucchini is to shred it on a standard-size metal grater, and then place it in some sort of mesh fabric and squeeeeeze. A (affiliate link, but please shop around:) large nut milk bag, which is designed to separate soaked nuts from their liquid to make almond or cashew milk, makes this process simplest and easiest.
Simply place the shredded zucchini in the bag in batches, and squeeze over the sink until the shredded zucchini clumps and no longer appears soft. For sure, there are lost nutrients in that liquid, so maybe use it for a smoothie?
This does take some force, but you can do a ton of it at a time and then store it in the refrigerator for at least 3 days and in the freezer for much longer. Defrost at room temperature and proceed with the recipe.
How to make low carb zucchini pizza
We've already made zucchini pizza, and that recipe is one of my all time favorites. But we made it with tapioca starch/flour which is relatively high in carbohydrates.
Tapioca starch is unique since it provides both chew and stretch. In recipes that call for just tapioca starch, nothing else will do. In this recipe, a combination of coconut flour (which also absorbs moisture, as starch does) and a very small amount of xanthan gum, seem to do the trick in a way that's very similar to tapioca.
Unlike our other low carb keto pizza recipe, which must be cooked partially on the stovetop to melt the mozzarella and cream cheeses, this zucchini keto pizza recipe is made simply, in one bowl. Simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, and mix until well-combined.
The pizza dough is molded with wet hands into a round, then baked. You can use whatever toppings you like (if you're trying to keep this recipe keto-friendly, avoid a tomato sauce with any sort of sugar), or serve the pizza plain.
Yes, you can eat pizza on a keto diet
This recipe makes one, large pizza crust. There are approximately only 4.5 net carbs (carbs minus dietary fiber) in each generous slice, though (see the nutrition label in the recipe below, which is an approximate calculation using Cronometer.com).
If you're limiting your carbohydrates and trying to increase your fat and fiber, this recipe is a great place to start. And it still has that chew that a high-fat, low carb diet can be lacking. Sometimes, you just need something to really chew!
This recipe began with the original Fathead-style recipe and crossed it with our original recipe for zucchini pizza. The result is the best low carb, keto-friendly meal you'll have all summer!
Ingredients and substitutions
This pizza recipe is made up almost entirely of shredded cheese and eggs. That means (you guessed it) that replacing either the dairy or the eggs is going to alter the recipe beyond recognition. But, as always, here is the information I can provide if you need to do just that:
Dairy-free: I have tried (and tried) to make cheese-heavy recipes with dairy-free cheese and it was nearly impossible. Dairy-free cheese simply doesn’t melt the same way as conventional cheese, and it tends to have more moisture which gives the pizza an unpleasant sponginess.
In addition, when you use this much of it, it doesn’t have the same “chew.” I also have never been able to find a dairy-free cream cheese that is a proper substitute for conventional cream cheese, I’m afraid.
Take heart, though. There’s always our basic gluten free pizza dough, which never disappoints and contains no eggs or dairy.
Egg-free: You can try replacing each egg with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). But keep in mind that if you are also making other substitutions, you’re getting further and further away from the original recipe.
Coconut flour: Coconut flour doesn't make this pizza taste at all like coconuts, happily. It has no equal, though, I'm afraid. You must use it in this recipe to get these results.
Xanthan gum: Just 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum in this pizza recipe really helps hold the pizza together and make it chewy. You can omit it, though, and you'll simply have a less chewy pizza that's a bit more fragile.
Low Carb Zucchini Keto Pizza
4 cups (440 g) grated fresh zucchini (from about 2 medium zucchini) (about 250 g when squeezed dry)*
8 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 cup (24 g) coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell), beaten
2 ounces cream cheese, at soft room temperature
Optional pizza toppings: tomato sauce, more mozzarella cheese, gluten free pepperoni, sautéed mushrooms
*I squeeze the liquid out of grated zucchini by placing it, about 2 cups at a time, in a fine mesh bag (like a nut milk bag) or tea towel, closing the bag or rolling up the towel and twisting it to squeeze out all of the liquid.
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Place a pizza stone or overturned baking sheet in the oven as it preheats. Line a pizza peel or other flat surface (like a large cutting board) with a sheet of unbleached parchment paper, and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place the dry grated zucchini, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, coconut flour, baking powder, and xanthan gum, and mix to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the beaten eggs and cream cheese, and mix to combine well. The mixture will be thick and clumpy. Transfer it to the parchment paper and, with clean, moistened hands, spread into a round about 13-inches in diameter. Using a moistened offset spatula or butter knife, smooth the top of the round, spread it into a 14-inch round, and even the edges around the perimeter. The pizza will spread about 1-inch wider during baking.
Slide the pizza on the parchment off the peel or cutting board onto the pizza stone or overturned baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pizza is an even light golden brown color on top. Remove from the oven, spread your desired pizza toppings on top, and return to the oven for another 5 minutes or until any cheese is melted and the edges are crisp. Remove the pizza from the oven and allow to set for 2 minutes before slicing into wedges and serving warm.
Nutrition information is per slice (based upon 8 slices, without toppings). It is provided as a courtesy, using the calculator at Cronometer.com, but values are approximate and will vary based on real-world conditions, including the particular brands of products used among other factors.