Yesterday I introduced three low carb, gluten-free pizza crust recipes from around the web and gave an overview of how they compare with one another. Today I offer more details on what it was like to cook—and eat—these pizzas.

Again, here are the three recipes:

I made these in the order listed. Once they were made, each was topped with:

Two were also topped with a blend of sausage and ground beef.

Here’s the information on how each recipe worked out in the kitchen and on the table.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

When I first heard of this thing some months ago, I didn’t believe it. Cauliflower?! But I’ve seen it mentioned around the web so often, I had to give it a try.  And as it turns out, I’m very glad I did.

The biggest drawback to this pizza crust is that it requires you to make riced cauliflower. (Jamie links to instructions in her recipe.) And riced cauliflower can seem like a pain until you get the hang of it. But Tuesday night I finally figured out the trick (or tricks), at least as far as this recipe is concerned:

  • Overcook that cauliflower. You’re not looking for crisp, barely-steamed vegetables here, you’re looking for food that still has its original shape, but is mushy enough to easily mutilate.
  • Take Jamie’s advice and use a cheese grater. I was able to simply press the warm cauliflower through the largest holes on the cheese grater. (Not the slicer section, the big round holes. In case you were wondering.)
  • Don’t worry about consistency of texture. There may be recipes out there where that consistency matters, but this isn’t one of them. I pressed the cauliflower through once and called it done, even though some of the stalks were still a little large.

And lo and behold, it worked! Faster and easier than in the past, and the results were great. I added the egg and cheese, mixed it all, then pressed it out as directed—then promptly forgot to add the spices. The final crust—a very thin crust, by the way—looked suitably like the picture in the recipe.

I overdid the veggies when adding toppings, so I left off the sausage-beef blend. The pizza still came out great. The pieces can be held and eaten after the pizza cools a bit. Hubby loved it despite the lack of seasonings in the crust; I did too, and I was amazed at how filling it was.

I definitely want to make this one again. I want to see if cheddar will work as the cheese, and I like the change it offers from that protein-heavy deep-dish crust. (And if I forget those spices again, this crust will actually cost less than the deep-dish!)

I can’t leave it at that, though. I do have to offer two more notes:

  1. Next time, I definitely want to make the riced cauliflower ahead of time.
  2. This crust won’t take frozen chopped veggies easily: they need to be thawed or fresh.

Flax Parmesan Crust

Note: Since this writing, I have tried the flax crust again. It turned out great the second time around! Please see the Flax Pizza Crust Revisited post for the most current information.

I wanted this recipe to work out for us, and I’m still hoping it will: flax is inexpensive as grain substitutes go (at least around here), and I happen to like it. This first time through was a bust—but it may have been the fault of the cook.

My dough was disappointingly thick and dense with just the flax and eggs; once I added the parmesan, it became difficult. I put the finished dough on a silicon mat instead of greasing the cookie sheet, and I was soon glad I did: despite the density of the dough, it was still too sticky for me to press out with my hands! I had to put some parchment paper over it.

(I sometimes have to do that with flax dough, and sometimes not; I didn’t expect to with this one because the writer didn’t mention it.)

In my experience, that “dense-ness” before I added the cheese can be a problem with older flax meal (which mine was). So I’m wondering if I should have added some more liquid to try and make the dough more workable. (It would have been even stickier, but might have given us a better end product.)

As it is, hubby judged the final product “a little dry.” I agree, but I wonder if we should make allowances—hence the “1/2″ on yesterday’s taste test rating. The taste otherwise was great, and this crust was as at least as filling as the other, and maybe even more so.

I will eventually experiment further to try and find a flax meal pizza crust that works. This recipe is the least expensive of the three reviewed, and it will definitely tolerate those frozen chopped veggies that save me so much time.

I have other flax projects to perfect first, though. And since I now have two other pizza crust recipes to use, experimenting further with this one just won’t may not be my first priority. (Never say “never”!)

Deep Dish Pizza Crust

When I made this recipe for the first time, I burst out laughing in the middle of it. I had suddenly realized that I was basically making a cheesecake! (Granted, it’s savory instead of sweet, but it’s still basically a cheesecake.) This crust has been our pizza crust ever since.

This deep dish crust is delicious and it’s filling; the protein from the eggs and cheese make such a difference! When I first ate this, I finally realized what people are talking about when they say carbohydrates can make you hungry: I literally could not eat as much of this pizza as I can of the junk white flour versions. (The same was true for the other two pizza crusts on our list, by the way: we had a lot of leftover pizza yesterday morning!)

Because I’ve worked with this recipe more, I do have a couple of modifications. The main one is mentioned in the reviews, and the rest follow from it, so they don’t really merit my re-writing the recipe.

Consider this your chance to take the best of those suggestions without having to test them all yourself:

  • I omit the salt.
  • I use the cheap powdered parmesan in the green shaker, to paraphrase the reviewer who suggested it. (This parmesan is why I omit that salt.)
  • I do put the parmesan in the bottom of the greased pan instead of in the batter. (I believe someone suggested otherwise.) But then I move it around to coat the pan, including the sides (similar to how you would dust a greased baking pan with flour back before you dropped the grains from your diet). After that, I spread the remaining parmesan evenly across the bottom of the pan. This really helps keep that batter from sticking to the pan.

By the way, I did run the numbers on using brick cheese instead of that “cheap powdered parmesan,” and I’m only saving a penny per serving with the parmesan. But I’ll probably keep using it: it’s already grated, and this way I don’t have to remember to buy yet another kind of cheese.

Needless to say, I will definitely make this again—it’s Hubby’s favorite! Hopefully I’ll get to alternate it with the cauliflower crust, though, so we have some variety in our pizzas.

Conclusion

If you’ve read this far, I really am in awe!

Seriously, though, there are some healthy, inexpensive and delicious low carb gluten-free pizza crusts out there, and I’ve shown you two that definitely deserve your attention.  I’ve also shown you a third that I believe could be made to work if you have some experience working with flax.

So it’s your turn now. Try some of these, then tell me about it. What did you put on them? Were your results the same? How do you like your pizza?

 

4 Responses to Review of 3 Pizza Crusts, Part 2

  1. Jamie says:

    Hey hey hey miss Pizza Girl! I love it! Thanks so much for the comparison. I learned a lot about the other methods for making pizzas that are also gluten free and fun to try.

    Another one to consider is seriously the zucchini crust pizza with taco toppings. Seriously. Zucchini is slightly easier to handle (shredding it with a greater is so easy), and it adapts to anything you want to put on it. I love it! there’s more moisture in zukes, so you have to squeeze more liquid out, but still. Some things are worth the effort. Like wearing pants to cook bacon…

    Thanks again for the fun, helpful reviews, tips and tricks you’ve learned from experience. You kick hiney!

    Fondly,
    Jamie
    Your Lighter Side

    • Frugal Jen says:

      Hey, Jamie; glad you liked it!

      And thanks for the “heads up” on that zucchini crust; I’ll definitely be checking it out!

  2. Jen thanks for the email and offering me a chance to comment on your review of my flax meal pizza crust! I’m sorry that you found it hard to work with! I didn’t have problems with it being overly sticky but I did wet my hands when I pressed it down onto the pan which may have helped. I also mixed my flax and cheese together first and then added the eggs which I did not specify in the recipe (which I will now rectify so thanks!) and would probably make it easier to stir – also I let it set for a few minutes before pressing it out which makes it easier to work with. If you only got an 8 inch pie out of the dough then you may have made it too thick because I probably got at least a 10 inch pizza out of mine. I hope you’ll try it again using fresher flax meal (per your comment) and pressing it out thinner and let me know if you get a better result! I love your detailed reviews and I will be trying the cauliflower pizza crust that you reviewed here because it sounds delicious! It’s awesome that you break down the cost as well! Great blog, you have a new follower! Thanks for taking the time to review my recipe – Mellissa

    • Frugal Jen says:

      Mellissa, thanks for taking me up on the invitation and checking things out! Thank you also for the compliments and the follow–and a HUGE thanks for the tips! Now that you mention it, I kind of “zoned” on you by doing those eggs first, didn’t I? Esp. when they’re last on your ingredients list. I’ll try again in a more sane order, and see if that helps. :) It may take a week or three, but I’ll definitely drop you a line when I do. Thanks again! – Jen

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