Fun Mini Pizzas With Veggies & Cauliflower Crusts

Fun Mini Pizzas With Veggies & Cauliflower Crust

Serves 4 ( 2 mini pizzas per person). Recipe provided by Epicurious is from Olivia Neely, 10, the Kansas winner of the 2013 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. She says she and her mother love pizza “and made up a delicious gluten-free cauliflower crust with low-fat ground beef packed with zucchini and squash as toppings. The result is a crazy-good pizza with tons of veggies.” Round out the meal with apple slices and a Greek-style yogurt smoothie with strawberries, blueberries and flaxseed.

For the cauliflower crusts:

1 medium head cauliflower, chopped

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1 large egg

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. salt

For the pizza topping:

1/2 lb. lean ground beef

1/4 cup shredded yellow squash

1/4 cup shredded zucchini

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Optional toppings:

16 cherry tomatoes (halved)

3 tbls. sliced almonds

1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

Several leaves baby spinach

1. To make cauliflower crusts, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a food processor, pulse the cauliflower until it is in very small pieces. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until tender, about 4 minutes. Let the cauliflower cool for several minutes. Wrap the cooled cauliflower in a kitchen towel and squeeze out any excess liquid.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the cauliflower, mozzarella cheese, egg, garlic powder, oregano and salt and stir to combine. Divide the mixture into 8 equal parts and form each one into a ball. Press and flatten the balls into circles or fun shapes, and place them onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake the pizza crusts for 15 minutes then flip them over and continue baking until firm and light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Leave the oven on.

4. While the crusts are baking, make the pizza topping. In a large sauté pan over moderate heat, cook the ground beef, yellow squash, zucchini, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, stirring to break up the beef, until the beef is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Drain any excess liquid.

5. Spread the tomato sauce on the crusts. Top the pizzas with the beef mixture, cheese and your favorite toppings as desired. Bake until the cheese bubbles, about 6 minutes. (Or for a delicious smoky taste, heat pizzas on a wood-fire or charcoal grill.) Serve with additional toppings.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 36 calories, 33 grams protein, 17 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams fat (7.5 grams saturated fat), 754 milligrams sodium.