Healthy Recipes Series
After many requests from our patients and followers, we have decided to start sharing some of our delicious, healthy recipes.
Is there any better way to start than with something that most of us love and think we have to give up in order to implement a healthy diet…? Can you guess what it is?
That is right! You can still have pizza and maintain a healthy, wholesome, plant rich diet.
Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Depending on your favorite toppings, it can be easy to make a healthy pizza if you start with a healthy crust! The right crust will deliver the perfect pizza.
Our delicious crust calls for three basic ingredients, plus some seasonings. The main ingredients for the crust are cauliflower, almonds and flax seeds. As seasoning, you may add salt, onion and garlic powder, depending on your taste.
Let’s take a look in more detail at the three basic ingredients that will make the crust of your pizza:
A cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea, botanically belonging to the Brassicaceae family of vegetables, genus Brassica.
Cauliflower is rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber.
Health benefits of Cauliflower2,3,4
- Excellent source of vitamin C (48.2 mg per 100 grams of fresh cauliflower; 80% RDA). Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, contributing to reducing free radical damage, improving immunity and even preventing and helping treat infection and cancer.
- Good source of B vitamins: thiamin (B-1), niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6), and folate (B-9), and vitamin K. All these vitamins are essential and play a crucial role in macronutrient metabolism.
- Good source of minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, calcium, and potassium.
- Rich in diverse plant phytochemicals, namely anti-cancer compounds such as sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, a plant sterol.
- Plant phytochemicals have been proven to be beneficial against several cancers, including colon, prostate, breast, ovarian and cervical.
- Also contains the compound di-indolyl-methane (DIM), a metabolite of indole-3-carbinol found in many brassica vegetables and an effective immune modulator, antiviral and antibacterial.
- Source of antioxidants due to the presence of vitamins C, carotenoids and antioxidant enzymes such as catalase, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase.
- Also exhibit antimutagenic action, owing to the presence of polyphenols and organic sulfur compounds.
- Brassica vegetables are also rich in glucosinolates, unstable compounds that undergo degradation into biologically active indoles and isothiocyanates (under the influence of the plant enzyme myrosynase). These substances may affect the elimination or neutralization of carcinogenic and mutagenic factors, and consequently inhibit DNA methylation and cancer development.
- High nutritional density but low in calories (26 calories per 100 grams of fresh cauliflower)
- Good source of dietary fiber (florets provide about 2 grams of fiber per 100 grams)
Almonds are rich in vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. A crunchy and nutty health treat!
Health Benefits of Almonds5,6
- Display a very balanced nutrient profile, with essential vitamins and minerals, healthy fats and protein.
- Good sources of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) like oleic and palmitoleic acids that contribute healthy blood lipid profiles, by increasing HDL (“good cholesterol”) and lowering LDL (“bad cholesterol”) levels.
- Great source of vitamin E (about 25 mg per 100 grams of almonds). Vitamin E is a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant. It protects from free-radical damage and contributes to cell-membrane restoration.
- Good source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin (B-1), riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6), and folate (B-9). B-vitamins work in conjunction as cofactors for enzymes in cellular metabolism.
- Very good source of minerals such as manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
- Naturally gluten free and a good alternative in recipes that call ingredients that contain gluten, such as wheat and rye flour.
Flax seeds are a rich source of many nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber.
Health Benefits of Flax Seeds7,8
- Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) such as oleic acid. Is also one of the best plant sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are highly anti-inflammatory. One spoonful of flaxseed oil provides about 8 g of omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed oil consists of approximately 55% ALA (α -linolenic acid).
- Helps regulate lipid profiles, by contributing to increase HDL (“good cholesterol”) and decrease LDL (“bad cholesterol”) levels in the blood.
- Contain lignans, a class of phytoestrogens considered to have antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties.
- Excellent source of vitamin-E, especially rich in gamma-tocopherol (around 20 grams per 100 grams of flax seed; 133% RDA). Vitamin-E is a powerful antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of mucosa and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
- Vitamins from the B-complex, such thiamin (B-1), riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6), and folate (B-9), are also present in good amounts.
- Good source of minerals such as manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
- High caloric density (about 534 calories per 100 grams of seeds)
Now that you know the greatness of our crust, it is time to go shopping for these ingredients and start making your dough. It might surprise you that our pizza takes so long to be made, a total time of around 18 to 20 hours.
In order to preserve the full nutrition of the ingredients, we use dehydration instead of baking, to prepare the crust. Dehydration guarantees the full preservation of most vitamins and minerals, and even the integrity of the enzymes naturally present in foods. Just plan in advance and do not get discouraged, it is totally worth it!
When the crust is done, then it is time to get creative with your toppings and choose what appeals the most to your taste buds. Here are some suggestions.
Of course, a healthy homemade and raw tomato sauce will deliver both taste and nutrient density. Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants scientifically proven to be protective against cancers, such as vitamin C and the flavonoids lycopene, zea-xanthin and other flavonoid antioxidants such as α and ß-carotenes, xanthines, and lutein. To the tomato paste you can also add garlic, onion and other herbs that will deliver more health promoting plant nutrients.
Our raw vegan suggestions for “cheese” are the delicious macadamia ricotta and Brazil nut parmesan! You can buy them or try to make them yourself. Nut cheeses are fermented and beneficial for your gut microbiome, besides the many nutrients naturally present in nuts, like vitamins and minerals, monounsaturated fats and omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats.
Need more ideas?
Choose fresh veggies that are in season, like bell peppers, arugula, broccoli, onions, mushrooms (cooked), fresh and dried herbs… The plant world is your limit!
- Makes: 12″ pizza • Prep time: 45 minutes • Total time: 18-20 hours
For the crust:
- 1 ½ cups almonds
- 3 cups cauliflower, chopped
- ¼ cup flax seed, ground
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
For the sauce:
- 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
For the toppings:
- 1 cup seasonal veggies, chopped
- ½ cup macadamia ricotta (page 45)
- ¼ cup brazil nut parmesan (page 46)
- 2 Tbsp basil, chopped
For the crust, place almonds in a food processor and grind into a flour. Add all remaining ingredients and process into a thick, slightly grainy dough. Pour dough onto a teflex sheet and spread into a 12-inch circle. Dehydrate at 110 °F for 18-22 hours, flipping onto a mesh tray after the first few hours.
For the sauce, combine all ingredients except oregano in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Stir in the oregano. Taste and adjust the flavors as needed.
Spread sauce onto the cauliflower crust and top with any toppings of your choice. Enjoy immediately or place back in the dehydrator for another 1-2 hours.
- Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. Cruciferous Vegetables. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruciferous_vegetables, accessed Jun 13, 2022.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Cauliflower, raw. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169986/nutrients, accessed Jun 13, 2022.
- Kapusta-Duch J, Kopeć A, Piatkowska E, Borczak B, Leszczyńska T. The beneficial effects of Brassica vegetables on human health. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2012;63(4):389-95. PMID: 23631258.
- Nutrition and You. Cauliflower Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/cauliflower.html, accessed Jun 13, 2022.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Nuts, almonds. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170567/nutrients, accessed Jun 14, 2022.
- Nutrition and You. Almonds Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/almonds.html, accessed Jun 14, 2022.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Seeds, flaxseed. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169414/nutrients, accessed Jun 14, 2022.
- Nutrition and You. Flax Seed Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/flax-seed.html, accessed Jun 14, 2022.
Vanessa Pinto graduated with a degree in Biology and Masters in Ecology from Lisbon University. After graduating, she underwent a series of professional and personal growth experiences, including being an officer in the Portuguese Army, working in countries as diverse as Iceland and Costa Rica. Vanessa became certified as a Yoga and Meditation teacher in rural India.
Being a compassionate person by nature, Vanessa is able to bring her connectedness when working with others while enhancing the importance and practicality of a pragmatic evidence-based approach to facilitating lasting and permanent change. Vanessa is a certified health coach whose specialties are nutrition, exercise, and mind/ body connection. She works both in Portugal, Thailand and USA, where she develops her work closely with people diagnosed with cancer, mainly in the areas of nutrition, movement and health education.