Cauliflower Crust Pizza Marinara

February 19, 2013

Paleo Pizza Marinara

There are many things I love about President’s Day. First of all, it is perhaps arguably the only Federal holiday free of convention. It arrives without any tradition attached to it: no fireworks, no barbecue, no parade, no turkey. There’s no pressure whatsoever to spend the day in a certain predetermined or, worst, prepackaged fashion.
Some may argue that this is the reason why it’s confusing: no ritual to follow, no fun.
Are you kidding me? Seriously, are you freaking kidding me?
You got 24 hours of free time that you can devote to yourself, and instead you’re rumbling in discontent about it?
Let me tell some of the things you can do with your free time.
First off, you can revise some facts about American history. It’s President day after all so let’s put it to good use. There are many fun anecdotes about Pres. Washington or Lincoln never mentioned during your high school history class but worth knowing.
You can also workout. Always a wise thing to do.
Finally, you can cook something healthy and delicious.
As for myself I did all of these three things. I studied, trained and cooked.
The most relevant activity was the latter. I baked my first ever paleo pizza. Now, that was quite something.
I wasn’t sure at all at the beginning but I have to admit that what came out of the oven was a straight passport to pizza-heaven. So surprisingly good.

Paleo Pizza Marinana

The crust is made of cauliflower, mozzarella cheese, egg and seasoning. It holds together really well and you can easily eat the pizza with your hands.
For the topping I skipped the cheese (as there’s already some in the crust) and just focused on tomato sauce, olives, capers and anchovies.
According to my friend Freddy (aka the pizza expert) pizza sans cheese is called Pizza Marinara.
So there you have it: a paleo pizza marinara. Grain-free, gluten-free, low carb, low calories, good and healthy. Honestly worth a shot.

Paleo Pizza Marinara
Paleo Pizza Marinara Print this recipe!
Adapted from Recipe Girl

Yields a 12-inch pizza (feeds 4)


1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets (should yield about 3 cups once processed)
½ cup / 1.7 oz / 50 gr mozzarella, shredded
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt½ teaspoon oregano
pinch of ground black pepper


2 ladlefuls tomato sauce
3 tablespoons green olives, sliced
3 tablespoons black oilives, sliced
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon oregano
anchovy fillets (optional)
Olive oil as needed


Preheat oven to 450°F (220°C) and place a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease liberally with olive oil.
In a food processor rice the cauliflower. Transfer to a microwave dish and microwave on high for 8 minutes, until cooked.
Place the cauliflower rice in a tea towel and twist it to squeeze out as much moisture as you can (I squeezed out more than 1 cup of liquid). This is very important. The cauliflower rice needs to be dry. Otherwise you’ll end up with a mushy dough, not a crusty one.
Transfer the cauliflower flour to a mixing bowl and add egg, mozzarella, oregano, sea salt and pepper.
Using your hands, press the mixture onto the baking sheet and shape into a thin pizza “disc”.
Bake for 15 minutes, until golden.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
Spread tomato sauce evenly on the dough; top with sliced olives, capers and anchovies (if using). Sprinkle oregano on top and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.
Serve warm.

Nutrition facts

The whole pizza pie yields 490 calories, 25 grams of fat, 38 grams of fat and 40 grams of protein.


  1. Hi Mike

    I wonder whether this pizza lasted long enough for you to find out how long it will keep in the fridge? Or possibly whether it freezes well? This would make a good lunch for work if you could make one pizza at the start of the week!


    1. Hey Courtney,
      Honestly, the pizza didn't make to the fridge (it was too good). However, I think it should refrigerate quite well. After all, it's just cooked cauliflower with egg and cheese.
      But you know what? I'm gonna bake another one this week and do the "fridge test" and "the "freezer test". I'll let you know the outcomes!

  2. I've never heard of a dough made from straight idea! This pizza sounds great.

  3. this wouldn't actually be considered paleo would it? because of the inclusion of the mozzarella in the crust?

    1. The inclusion of dairy products is the subject of much debate in the Paleo community:

      There is a stricter interpretation and looser one. After careful review of the literature it seems that the latter is prevailing.
      Provided that, if you decide to consume dairy on a paleo diet you should pick real dairy, no low-fat garbage. In this respect, mozzarella cheese (real mozzarella cheese not the plastic processed stuff) is made with full fat milk hence admissible.

  4. I've never actually a cauliflower crust yet, but I've heard such good things. i can't wait to try this!

  5. made this tonight w/just sauce and caramelized onions, delish!

  6. i want to make this but dont havea microwave? other options?

    1. You can steam (or boil) the cauliflower for a couple of minutes. What really matters is that you squeeze out all the moisture from it afterwards. The cauliflower rice should be as dry as possible, that's the important bit!

  7. Yammi Yammi ... this pizza is looks very testy !! I will try to eat this one.

  8. Do you have to cook the cauliflower in the microwave? It seems it would have a lot less moisture if it wasn't cooked until it is in the oven. I made this today and it was delicious, but it was a lot of working squeezing out the water.

    1. If you don't cook it in the microwave and squeeze out the moisture beforehand it will release all the water in the oven and it's going to be a mess.
      I've tried it before, and trust me it's not something to look forward to.
      The extra work does pay off.

  9. Hi MIke... I tried your pizza today and I can't figure out what went wrong. It stucked on the parchment paper even after I greased it. Also, it didn't really form a dough in the oven, it was breaking a lot. I tried to squeeze as much water as possible, so I dont't know if maybe that was not enough. Maybe I made it too thin? Any thoughts?

    1. Oh gosh Marina I'm really sorry that the pizza didn't worked out as planned.
      I had the same problem (i.e., the dough not really forming and sticking to the parchment paper) one of the first times I ventured with cauliflower crust. I figured it all had to do with the water in the cauliflower (I didn't squeezed it enough).
      Another time the mozzarella cheese I used released way too much milk and that was another big mess (I cheap out and paid the consequences!)
      So do look out for those two key factors.
      I hope it'll turn out as it should next time!

  10. What type of mozzarella are you using for this? Is it the fresh (somewhat wet) kind or is it the more dense low-moisture mozzarella? Also, the ingredients listed say "light mozzarella" as opposed to full fat, which I think may be more suitable for paleo. Think I could use that without an issue? Hope to make this very soon, it looks fantastic!

  11. Will defenitive try out the recepie, but. Doesnt the cauliflower loose alot of their vitamins and such in the microwave? I would defenitive boil them instead and take the extra time to squeese out the water. Microwaving is nooo good ;)

  12. Just throwing it out there: there is no scientific proof that microwave has any worse effect on nutrients in food than other kinds of heat processing.
    The recipe looks like the fulfillment of my dreams. I am trying to do LCHF, after five days I still identify complications, but am happy and up for the journey. Food like this makes me grateful for the shift: so far I believed any pizza is toxic and bad for me, now I can make it and enjoy it knowing that it will benefit me. What a life-changer. Thank you so much for this gorgeous, love-inducing recipe ;).

  13. What kind of tomato marinara did you use? Would subbing the sauce for sliced up tomatoes make this even healthier?

  14. Hi! I just pour boiling water over the cauliflower rice and let it stand for 10 minutes. Then I squeeze out the water, etcetera. I love your recipe! I made it twice without failing.

  15. What dairy free substitute would you recommend instead of mozzarella?