Yes, you read it right. What can I say? It was bound to happen. My love of pizza, spicy food, and cauliflower converged one night recently. The Manchurian Cauliflower Pizza you see in the photo was the result of their union.
At the time, I also had a hankering for cabbage, so I spread a layer of sautéed shredded cabbage and onions on top of the pizza dough before adding the cauliflower. In retrospect, the cabbage was tasty but a bit distracting, so next time (yes, there will be a next time!) I think I’ll instead go with a layer of pureed seasoned chickpeas between the crust and cauli.
If you want to try this unusual pizza, just start by making your favorite pizza dough (I like the one in Vegan on the Cheap) or use a storebought pizza dough like the one from Trader Joes.
Cut the cauliflower into thin slices (like you’re cutting a loaf of bread) and arrange the slices on a baking sheet that has been oiled or coated with nonstick cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Roast the cauliflower at 425 degrees F for about 15 minutes, then turn and roast on the other side until just soft, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Keep the oven turned on.
While the cauliflower is roasting, make this “shortcut” Manchurian sauce. Combine in bowl: about 1/2 cup ketchup, 1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, depending on how much heat you like. You can also add some minced scallions and cilantro, if you like, and a couple tablespoons of water to thin it out a bit. Set aside.
Then, puree 1 can of chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups of home-cooked chickpeas) in a blender or food processor with a pinch of garlic powder, ground coriander, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Add a little lemon juice if desired and a tablespoon or two of water to make it more spreadable. Spread the chickpea mixture onto the pizza dough.
Toss the roasted cauliflower with the Manchurian sauce and arrange the coated cauliflower on top of the pizza. Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven until the crust is nicely browned on the bottom, about 15 minutes or so.
If the idea of Manchurian Cauliflower Pizza sounds like crazy-talk, I understand. It certainly isn’t for everyone. But you can still enjoy the spicy cauliflower, either served on its own or over cooked brown rice or quinoa.
In the meantime, I hope the price of cauliflower comes down soon — I have lots more ideas I want to try!