#MeatlessMonday: Chorizo & Caramelized Onion White Pizza on a Cauliflower Crust

Now that I'm home and have access to my mom's GORGEOUS kitchen, we've been doing a lot of cooking. And I'm loving it. Cooking in my New York kitchen was pretty challenging. I didn't have a ton of counter space and my dishwasher...was my 2 hands. So as you can imagine, I didn't like to dirty up a ton of bowls and kitchen utensils, so I stuck to more simple recipes.

But no more! I now have access to not just one, but TWO dishwashers. And since I'm the cook, I make Peggy do the dishes. This is totally fair and has been approved by Mom, so don't judge me for putting her to work.

We have also decided to institute Meatless Mondays in our house. Now, I'm a HUGE carnivore so this is going to be a bit of a challenge. BUT, I'm an adventurous cook and totally up for it. We got the idea after visiting the Greenville Saturday Market and stopping at No Evil Foods booth. No Evils Foods feature the best & most sustainable proteins on the market. Owners Sadrah Schadel & Mike Woliansky offer bold, full-flavored plant meats that are both environmentally friendly and cruelty-free. And y'all, this stuff is GOOD! We taste tested a few and went with El Zapatista - a Fiery Mexican Chorizo flavor. Now I just had to figure out what to do with it. And what's the best way to eat something new? Put it on a pizza. DUH!

This pizza recipe I'm about to share with you is basically guilt-free because it features...wait for it...a CAULIFLOWER crust. And you can thank my mother for requesting that. Kudos Peggy! The crust is crispy and a little chewy. I honestly didn't miss the gluten. The creamy white sauce, sweet caramelized onions, and that spicy, meatless chorizo really balance each other out and make one hell of a delicious pizza. It was so delicious that even my carnivore big, little brother devoured it and gave me 2 thumbs up. His dog also stared at me the entire time I was eating my slices, and she literally drooled on my lap (don't worry, I let the poor thing lick the plate clean). So this recipe has been mom, brother, and dog approved. Let's dig in!

Meatless Chorizo & Caramelized Onion White Pizza on a Cauliflower Crust

Ingredients:

Cauliflower Crust
1 medium sized head of cauliflower
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg

White Pizza Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups of milk (room temp is better to work with)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon white pepper
a little pinch of nutmeg
1/3 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Caramelized onions
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, sliced thin 

Other Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 package of No Evil Foods El Zapatista - Fiery Mexican Chorizo flavor
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

To make the chorizo:
1. Heat a NON-STICK skillet to medium. Add in your olive oil. Once the olive oil is shimmering in the pan, add your chorizo. Brown chorizo for a few minutes and then drain off to the side on a paper towel.

 This is what NOT following directions looks like. Make sure to use a non-stick for this guy.

This is what NOT following directions looks like. Make sure to use a non-stick for this guy.

Caramelized Onions:
1. Using the same pan as the chorizo, melt in your 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Then add your onions. Cook these low and slow for around 20 minutes until the caramelize.

 Knife cuts not #onfleek.

Knife cuts not #onfleek.

Bechamel sauce:
1. Melt your butter in a saucepan over med/high heat.

2. Add in your flour and whisk. It should thicken into a paste. Keep cooking it until it gets a light, nutty fragrance (approx. 2 minutes). You want to make sure you are cooking all the flour flavor out. 

3. Whisk in the milk until well incorporated. Then add in your seasonings. 

4. Once the sauce has thickened, remove it from the heat. Adding in your cheese, whisking to combine. 

5. Stick your finger in and taste. Or you can be hygienic and use a spoon. You're the chef so it's your call. 

To make the cauliflower crust:
1. Place a pizza stone (or large baking sheet) in the oven. Preheat to 450 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cutting board and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Wash and dry your head of cauliflower. All you want for this recipe is the florets, so cut as much of the stem off as you can. A little trick to getting that stem off: smack the stem on your counter top and rip that sucker off.

 All my little baby florets

All my little baby florets

3. Place all your little baby florets in a food processor and pulse em up until they look like snow. Dump them into a microwave safe bowl and microwave, covered, for 4 minutes. Take your bowl out and spread the cauliflower onto a clean dish towel to cool.

 Cauliflower Snow

Cauliflower Snow

 Hot AF cauliflower mush

Hot AF cauliflower mush

4. When it's cool, you want to wring the water out. The more water you get out of this guy, the better your crust is going to be. So wring, wring, wring, that bel...I mean, the rag of cauliflower. (Trade off with your sous chef if your hands get tired).

5. Now that you've got the majority of the water out, put the cauliflower back into a bowl and add all of your spices and cheese. Add your egg and then mix until incorporated.

6. Once incorporated, form your "dough" into a ball in your hands and then spread it out into a circle (or square if that's your thing) on your oiled parchment paper. Make sure you are patting down to make sure it's all formed together.

7. From your cutting board, slide your parchment paper and cauliflower crust onto your pizza stone in the oven. Let it bake for 8-11 minutes until it starts to turn golden brown. (I only did mine for 8 minutes, but it probably could have stayed in a little longer.)

 After pre-baking. Could have let this get a little browner. Next time.

After pre-baking. Could have let this get a little browner. Next time.

8. Take the crust out and top with your bechamel sauce, cheese, caramelized onions and chorizo (or toppings of your choice). Place back into the oven for another 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is melty and you are too hungry to wait any longer. 

9. Let the pizza cool on a cutting board and then chop that puppy up and ENJOY - without any guilt. 

 My slices with a fancy [store bought and going slightly bad] salad.

My slices with a fancy [store bought and going slightly bad] salad.

This pizza is a little more involved than just calling up your local Papa John's but so worth it. (Wait, do people actually call pizza places to order anymore? I'm so used to Seamless so I'm not sure.) The beauty of this pizza is that you can put whatever you want on it and still feel like you're being healthy because you got that cauliflower crust holding down the fort... well, toppings. 

So take this recipe and put YOUR spin on it by adding your favorite toppings, and be sure to tell me about it!