Shop the 5 Best Cauliflower Pizza Crusts, Recommended by Registered Dietitians
"Does cauliflower crust count as a serving of vegetables?" You're going to like the answer! Plus, shop right here to get the cauliflower pizza crusts our registered dietitians eat at home.
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Why *cauliflower* crust?
In the past few years, cauliflower has risen from the garden patch, to the dinner side that earned its share of side-eye (sorry, Mom), to what’s now the go-to pick for healthier, low-carb pizza crust. But why has this iteration of cauliflower so captured our hearts?
It may have started because this cruciferous vegetable (defined this way for the “cross” shape of its flowers) has been a fave for keto dieters. “It’s been made popular with the uptick of low-carb and gluten-free diets,” says Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, a registered dietitian in Cincinnati, OH. It’s possible that cauliflower as a sub for flour has become so widely embraced because it’s less starchy than some other vegetables (such as spaghetti squash), and because it has more of a neutral taste (and color) than many veggies, the way zucchini does.
No matter why cauliflower crust may be on your radar, many nutrition professionals are delighted to see more of it appearing in grocery store freezers, boxed mixes, and restaurant menus.
But, it’s not for everybody: Many people hear “cauliflower crust” and think the food must be vegan. But “the crust itself usually includes an egg and some type of cheese to hold it together,” Andrews points out.
Also, the health factor of this, or any, pizza depends on the exact product you’re buying, and what you’re putting on it. “Cauliflower pizza can be made healthier by limiting typical meat—bacon, pepperoni, and sausage—toppings,” says Andrews. “Egg substitute and low-fat mozzarella may be used to keep the fat and cholesterol down.” (OK, our stomachs are growling.)
Is cauliflower in fact an ideal substitute for a starchy carb, like pizza crust made from bread dough?
“Cauliflower itself is a low-carb veggie, with a cup of ground cauliflower having only five grams of carbs,” says Kelsey Sackmann, MS, RD, a dietitian in New Jersey. However, when manufacturers add the other ingredients that are often present in cauliflower crust—including rice flour—the carbohydrate count often increases.
Thus, although cauliflower pizza is seen as a low-carb alternative—and many options indeed are—not all fit this bill. “A single slice of store-bought cauliflower pizza can range between two and 30 grams of carbs,” Sackmann says. Indeed that’s a pretty wide range. If you’re trying to follow a low-carb diet for weight loss, blood sugar, or any reason, aim for cauliflower crust products that fall on the lower end of that scale.
Can I eat cauliflower crust pizza if I have diabetes or celiac disease?
Lower-carb crusts, such as those made from cauliflower, can be a great choice for people with prediabetes, diabetes, or other conditions requiring a lower-calorie or lower-carb lifestyle. No matter what type of diet you’re following, consider pairing a couple of slices with a big leafy salad with protein, such as beans or chickpeas, to help you feel fuller for longer.
Another benefit of cauliflower crust? “[Most are] gluten free, making it a great substitute for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity,” says Andrews.
Are there sneaky artificial ingredients in a lot of the most popular cauliflower pizza grocery products?
“While some can be a healthier alternative, the devil is definitely in the details,” says Bridget Wood, RD, CDCES, a certified diabetes educator in Reno, NV. “Some cauliflower substitutes are great swaps, [but] others are loaded with sodium and saturated fat, so it’s important to look at the nutrition facts.”
For instance, if you’re aiming to eat a diet that’s lower in saturated fat, take a close look at a crust’s nutrition label and ingredients list before purchasing. “Extra egg and cheese are thrown in as binders, which raises saturated fats,” Sackmann says.
You’ll recognize most of the ingredients in popular cauliflower pizza crusts. These may include cauliflower, flour (rice or corn), starch (potato, corn, or tapioca), yeast, baking powder, cheese (mozzarella or Parmesan), oil (olive or sunflower), vinegar, egg whites, nutritional yeast, sugar, salt, and spices (garlic, basil, and oregano). Other ingredients, perhaps less familiar, may include psyllium husk, a fiber, or xantham gum, typically used as thickeners. Katie Bressack, a holistic nutritionist in Los Angeles who’s board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, suggests that while neither of these ingredients is likely to pose a major health risk, xantham gum can cause bloating and digestive issues (though some sources have also said it may be beneficial for blood sugar and heart health).
So, these are the ingredients listed on the cauliflower pizza product you’re buying, it’s likely pretty safe.
Does cauliflower pizza crust count as a veggie serving?
It depends on how much cauliflower is in the crust you’re eating. But most times, dietitians say yes. “Since it’s made with riced cauliflower, you’re getting a cruciferous vegetable serving,” notes Andrews.
And, this vegetable is full of nutrients. “Cauliflower has an extremely powerful nutrient, sulforaphane,” says Amanda Sauceda, MS, RD, a gut-health dietitian in Long Beach, CA. “Sulforaphane helps support your body’s natural detox pathways.” She notes, however, that this nutrient does decrease in activity when you cook cauliflower.
Also, she says, a lot of people don’t know cauliflower can compete with oranges—a cup of cauliflower will meet at least half of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C.
And, “Like your grain-based flour crust, cauliflower is also a good source of folate—but you’ll also get a good amount of vitamin K, as well, with cauliflower.” (This can be great for skin health and longevity—also read The 12 Vitamin K-Richest Foods for Healthy Aging, from a Nutritional Biochemist.)
Which cauliflower crusts are the best?
Dietitians have several favorite cauliflower pizza products. Here’s what they suggest are the best grocery-bought cauliflower pizza crusts.
Cali’flour Traditional Plain Crust
About Cali’flour, Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, a diabetes expert in New Jersey and author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet, says: “This cauliflower pizza is free of grains and gluten, so it may work for a variety of meal plans. Just cauliflower, egg whites, and cheese are the main ingredients in this simple crust, which provides a mix of protein, fat, and fiber for a minimal impact on blood sugar. Per serving, this pizza provides just one gram of net carbs, making it a great option for those following a low-carb or keto diet.”
Outer Aisle Plant Power Cauliflower Pizza Crusts
“Made with four simple ingredients, this nutritious, low-carb, gluten-free Outer Aisle crust sneaks in two servings of vegetables and all the flavor,” says Sackmann. “While it may be a little low in fiber and protein, you can use your pizza toppings to fill in the gaps.”
(We love arugula, chickpeas, cannellini beans, and artichokes tossed with a touch of salt, pepper, cumin, lemon juice, and olive oil! Also, read 10 Healthy Ways to Top Pizza—That Still Taste Amazing.)
Caulipower All About the Base
“This Caulipower crust blends cauliflower with rice for a gluten-free crust,” says Palinski-Wade. You get one gram of fiber per serving.
The Green Giant cauliflower pizza crust and the Trader Joe’s cauliflower pizza crust are also popular options, according to experts.
“This frozen Green Giant crust blends cauliflower with brown rice flour for a delicious frozen option you can customize to your liking by adding your own sauce and toppings,” says Palinski-Wade. “Each serving of this crust contains just 110 calories along with 2 grams of fiber.”
“I love [that] this low-calorie crust is made from simple, minimal ingredients,” says Sackmann of the Trader Joe’s version, which is only available in stores. “It’s a great substitute with less sodium, carbs, and calories than other frozen crusts. With only 80 calories a slice, you can decorate it with whatever veggies and toppings you want to give it a nutrient-rich twist.”
Or, says Palinski, you can also make your own cauliflower crust pizza. “I have the easiest recipe to make homemade cauliflower pizza,” she says. Here’s how to do it: “Just mix together riced cauliflower—you can make this at home or buy it already prepared—add shredded cheese, egg, and then form into a crust for baking,” she says. “Simply add your toppings, and you are all set.”
And with that, we are cauliflower pizza crust lifers. Also read 16 Foods You Can Turn into a Healthy, Delicious Pizza Crust.
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- Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, owner of Sound Bites Nutrition in Cincinnati, OH
- Kelsey Sackmann, MS, RD, a dietitian in New Jersey and owner of Kelsey P. RD
- Bridget Wood, RD,CDCES, a certified diabetes educator in Reno, NV
- Amanda Sauceda, MS, RD, a gut-health dietitian in Long Beach, CA
- Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, a diabetes expert in New Jersey and author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet
- Healthline: "Xantham Gum—Is this Food Additive Healthy or Harmful?"