5/6/15

Celiac Awareness Month and Cauliflower Pizza




Celiac disease is an allergy to the protein gluten that is found in wheat, barley, and rye. When individuals with celiac disease ingest foods that contain gluten, their immune system responds by causing damage to the small intestine. The damage that occurs leads to decreased absorption of nutrients from food which can lead to malnourishment.  About 1% of Americans have celiac disease and the only treatment is a 100% gluten free (GF) diet.  It’s also becoming very popular among individuals without celiac disease to choose to follow a GF diet.

When making choices within a GF diet, some items are more nutrient dense than others. There are plenty of whole foods that are naturally free of gluten including fruits, vegetables, meats, beans, and some grains such as quinoa, rice, sorghum, and some oats. What we are seeing more often in the grocery store are GF pre-packaged foods such as breads and baked goods.  It is important to take note of the nutrition labels on these foods. Often times, these products may be higher in calories, sodium, fat, or added sugar compared to the original products.  This doesn’t mean these products should be avoided, but take the time to compare them to make the best choice possible among GF products.  Eat them in moderation and most of the time, go for the naturally GF products! 

For those that aren’t diagnosed with celiac disease, realize that choosing a GF product over the regular doesn’t automatically mean it is a “healthier” product or that it will lead to weight loss. Eating a GF diet can lead to an improved eating pattern if you choose to fill your plate with more fruits and veggies that are naturally free of gluten.  This holds true for all people and every diet! 

Here's a recipe for a gluten free pizza.  It's made with a cauliflower crust! Let's start with the ingredients you will need to gather:



Pulse one head of chopped cauliflower in a food processor until it looks like rice.


Microwave the cauliflower for 8 minutes in a microwave safe bowl.  In a medium bowl, stir together riced cauliflower, mozzarella, oregano, garlic salt, garlic, and egg. 
Pat mixture out into a circle.  You can do one larger pizza or several smaller pizzas. 

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. 

Top the pizza with your choice of toppings.  This is a Mediterranean pizza with marinara sauce, olives, basil, red onions, sliced tomatoes, bell pepper, and feta cheese.  Yum!
Broil 3-4 minutes or until cheese melts.  Enjoy!


Cheesy Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Ingredients

Pizza Crust
  • 1 cup riced cauliflower
  • 1 ½ cups mozzarella
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1 egg
  • Olive oil
 
Toppings
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 pkg. grape tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • Olives
  • Basil, fresh
  • Marinara sauce
  • Feta cheese

Other topping ideas
·         Turkey pepperoni
·         Pineapple
·         Mushrooms


Directions
·         Remove the very top of the cauliflower (avoid the stem).
·         Pulse one head of chopped cauliflower in a food processor until it looks like rice. Microwave the cauliflower for 8 minutes in a microwave safe bowl.  In a medium bowl, stir together riced cauliflower, mozzarella, oregano, garlic salt, garlic, and egg. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
·         Pat mixture out into several small 4-inch circles and brush with olive oil. This will make several small mini-pizzas!
·         Bake at 450° F for 15 minutes.
·         Top the pizza with marinara sauce, olives, red onion, basil, sliced tomatoes, bell pepper, and feta cheese for a Mediterranean twist!
·         Broil 3-4 minutes or until cheese melts!


Tips
·         A whole head of cauliflower made almost 3 cups of riced cauliflower! You can make several pizzas from this. Try new toppings on each one to make it more fun and exciting!
·         A food processor helps speed the process and makes it easier!
·         Make sure to get as much moisture out of the cauliflower as you can! The recipe calls to microwave the cauliflower and use a cheesecloth to help remove the water.

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