【CONFINEMENT】Cauliflower Crust Pizza

If pesto variations are my number one way of getting use out of on-the-verge-produce, pizza bases and toppings are my number two.

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F.
  2. Use a food processor to rice your cauliflower (or you can chop manually, if you’d prefer).
  3. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil before adding the cauliflower rice. Keep it boiling for 3 minutes before pouring through a strainer and letting it cool for a few minutes. Save the water and return to pot.
  4. Bring the water back to a boil for a second time and drop in the vegetables you’re planning to use for topping (kale, bell pepper, etc.) for a minute. Fish them out, shake out the water, and place them in a bowl to cool.
  5. Tip your cauliflower rice into a clean dishtowel or mesh bag and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can. Make sure you test lightly wringing first so you don’t burn yourself – water in the centre of the rice may still be hot.
  6. Mix the cauliflower rice with the rest of the crust ingredients until a semi sticky dough forms.
  7. Pour half of your pesto into your topping vegetables along with your cherry tomatoes and basil. Toss to coat completely.
  8. Line a baking tray parchment paper and evenly sprinkle any gluten-fee flour in a rough circle to help prevent your pizza base from sticking to it.
  9. Transfer the dough to the parchment paper and use your fingers to press it into whatever shape you want your pizza to be. Keep the outer edges a little thicker than the centre. General rule of thumb is somewhere between 1.5cm/0.5in thickness overall.
  10. Bake this base for 50 minutes, checking it at 40 (depending on your thickness, it may have become golden-brown a little earlier). Remove from the oven and run a spatula between the crust and parchment paper in case there has been any adhesion. Place another piece of parchment on top and flip. Return the crust to the oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes. Test by pushing down on the middle of the crust – it should feel firm.
  11. Remove from the oven and spread a layer of marinara sauce/tomato, a layer of pesto, then all of your topping vegetables arranged to preference.
  12. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes (or until the toppings are cooked to your liking).
  13. Serve immediately sprinkled with red chili flakes, nutritional yeast or vegan cheese. Perhaps a bit more fresh basil.

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Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese filmmaker, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Zhang has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Zhang’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NOWNESS, and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for four consecutive years. CNN has identified Zhang as a leading fashion photographer in Asia and ELLE named her the region’s most influential digital voice. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim. In 2018, co-curated the first annual FOREFRONT Summit focused on inter-industry problem-solving at all scales of business. From this king summit, Zhang developed FOREFRONT+ – a round table series of candid conversations covering subject matters of universal concern. In 2019, THE FACE Magazine engaged Zhang as Creative-Director-at-Large for Asia for its relaunch. Zhang is currently working on her first feature film.