I have seen a few versions of these now, and this is how I make them after trying a few.
- 1 large head cauliflower
- 3/4 c low fat cottage cheese (drained)
- 1/2 c part skim mozzarella
- 1/4 c parmesan cheese
- 1/3c egg whites
- 2T* minced garlic
- 2 t* each: dried basil, oregano, and parsley
- 1/2 t* crushed red pepper
- 1 handful of organic baby spinach
- 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 20 slice turkey pepperoni, chopped
- Extra virgin olive oil
*In my recipes, T is shorthand for Tablespoon and t is shorthand for teaspoon
The prime rule of this recipe is, get everything as dry as possible, or it will be mushy and not stick together well even after half an hour in the oven. First, process the cauliflower into crumbs in a food processor, and put it on a pan with 1t olive oil and the spices and heat on medium high stirring occasionally until all the extra moisture is gone and it is starting to brown onto the bottom of the pan (about 12 minutes). While it’s cooking, chop the veggies and pepperoni. Pre-heat the oven to 425F. Wait for the pan to cool a bit while you squeeze the excess moisture out of the cottage cheese with cheesecloth or a heavy duty paper towel in a strainer. Then put the cottage cheese, parmesan, egg whites, spinach and then cauliflower mixture back in the food processor and blend thoroughly. Then mix in the “pizza toppings”. These you can alter to your taste. I enjoy chopped jalapenos and turkey pepperoni and onion, or sausage and mushroom. But for now, let’s stick with peppers, onions, and pepperoni.
At this point, I have to give a shout out to two of my favorite baking products. One: silicone baking cups. Naturally non-stick, they don’t have chemicals that can leach into your food like non-stick pans do, and the individual ones you can actually store the “bites” in until you’re ready to eat them. Two: the Misto sprayer. We got it for a wedding gift, and I LOVE my Misto. Instead of buying can after can of cooking spray, you buy one refillable spray can and a gigantic metal canister of extra virgin olive oil (saves so much money). You can get a couple in different colors for sesame oil (stir fry), vegetable oil (sweet bakes), etc.
Spray your silicone cups with just a tiny spray of oil. It will help them release even easier and help create more crispy on the edges. Fill the cups all the way with the mixture and bake on 425 for 25 minutes or until the tops are really golden brown for muffin size cups, or 450 for 18 minutes for mini muffin cups. These are much better a little over than under done.
I made two sizes, the larger heart shaped ones are for meals. Three are perfect for a meal with a bowl of tomato sauce. The smaller mini-muffin ones are really bite size and great for snacks. For me this is the perfect amount to snack on for a month when I freeze the leftovers. If you have kids who enjoy them, I would make a double batch at least because it does mess up quite a few dishes (totally worth it). These can be frozen for at least a month (I’m sure they’re good longer but I can’t make any personal guarantees). Snack size ziploc bags are great for portioning, but I have come to prefer pyrex glass containers with bpa-free lids. They are freezer safe, they can go straight in the microwave after removing the lid, they are re-usable, and also they stack really nicely.