I took a rest day today and I’ve been nothing but restless! R is out of town this weekend and my friends are busy bees themselves, so I found myself without plans for the day. It’s funny how whenever I have a million things to do, from work to play, I dream about having a day to myself with nothing to do. But when it actually comes, it’s nice for the first couple of hours and then, boom, the boredom hits. A workout would’ve been a great fix for my boredom, but it’s my rest day so I sucked it up and found other ways to entertain myself sans socializing.
Sometimes my rest days come naturally – I’m really sore or just don’t have time to pencil in a workout. Last Saturday I strained what I expect is either my levator scapulae or my upper trapezius so it’s more important for me to take a rest day this week than any others. With no upper body days, I ran and trained my lower body more than normal. My muscles actually feel great and I was craving some endorphins! However, rest days are necessary to build muscle and shed fat, even if you aren’t sore or fatigued. Yup, that’s right. You need to do nothing some of the time to meet your fitness goals. I know, crazy, right?
With that being said, what better day to go through my recipe box and find a delicious, healthy, and clean dinner idea to share with all of you?! My boyfriend, R, and I are suckers for pizza. However, most pizzas are made with processed flour and lots of butter and are covered in high fat toppings. Some even contain added sugar in their sauces! It tastes great, but I usually end up feeling bloated, weighed down, and greasy once all is said and done. That doesn’t mean I deprive myself of a crispy crust, rich tomato sauce, gooey cheese, and topping flavors, though! Instead, I find ways to work around the bad to enjoy the good :). A cauliflower crust is the perfect way to lighten up a pizza and sneak in another serving of veggies.
A lot of cauliflower crust pizzas use extra cheese in the crust. However, I’d rather not eat that much dairy (hello mild lactose intolerance), so I subbed the mozzarella for almond meal. The rest of the ingredients are pretty simple – cauliflower, egg whites, and a couple seasonings. It may not be as convenient as delivery, but your health and wellness are worth the extra TLC. Toppings are up to you! It’s the most fun part where you can get creative with flavors and textures. I love topping mine with all-natural pizza sauce, a little bit of low-fat mozzarella, a sprinkle of parmesan, some chicken breasts for protein, and lots of veggies like spinach, tomatoes, onions, olives, and mushrooms. Maybe next time I’ll add some pineapple! The possibilities are endless, so let’s get to it!
Clean and Crispy Cauliflower Pizza Crust
2 heads cauliflower, chopped
3/4 cup almond meal
3 egg whites (or flax eggs if you want to make this completely vegan)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 cup all-natural pizza sauce
1/2 cup low-fat mozzarella or all-natural vegan cheese (or omit all together!)
Parmesan to taste, if desired
Veggies and lean protein of your liking!
1. Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place the cauliflower florets in a large food processor or blender (I used my Blendtec) and blend until a rice-like texture is created.
3. Pour the grated cauliflower into a large bowl, add 1/2 cup water, and place in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. Drain the liquid, then place the cooked cauliflower rice in the freezer to cool for 10-20 minutes.
***If you choose to make flax eggs instead of using egg whites, create those now while the cauliflower is cooling. Mix together 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds with 6 tablespoons of water, and set aside and allow the mixture to thicken.
4. Remove the cooled cauliflower rice from the freezer and transfer it to the center of a thin dish towel. Use your hands to squeeze the rice in the dish towel, removing all of the excess moisture from the cauliflower.
5. Place the drained cauliflower in a large bowl. Mix in egg whites or flax eggs, almond meal, 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds, garlic powder, basil, and oregano. Stir well to mix, then press the mixture into the parchment-lined baking sheet, keeping the crust about 1/4-inch thick.
**Make sure you press the crust together firmly, making sure that there are no “thin spots” where it might crack.
6. Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, until the top is lightly golden and dry to the touch. Then, flip the entire pizza crust (you may need a partner) by placing an additional sheet of parchment paper onto of the crust and flipping carefully. Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until crispy on the edges.
7. Remove crust from the oven, add your favorite pizza toppings, and bake again for about 10 minutes or until your toppings are heated through and cheese is melted.
8. Let pizza cool for 5 minutes before cutting and serving!
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