This is a fitness, nutrition, and healthy living blog, so why did I do an article on “low carb pizza crust?” That’s easy. I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store for a cauliflower crust, so I looked up low carb pizza crust recipes.
Most of the recipes I found for low carb pizza crust were not low carb. Total bummer! So, I thought to myself, I have a few semesters in food science under my belt and a real background in human metabolism. I’ll just create my own (with my wife’s help since she’s a fantastic cook)!!
Let’s look at the recipe and instructions first. Then we can go over some of the basics on how a low carb pizza crust affects our metabolism. And also why it’s worth the effort! And there is a little bit of effort to this low carb pizza crust recipe. But that makes it taste better!
I like to keep things simple, so this is a really simple low carb pizza crust recipe without all kinds of bells and whistles.
Takeaways That Won’t Fail You
- This is a simple moderately low carb recipe for a tasty pizza that’s not too difficult.
- Even a low carb pizza is not a good solution for weight loss if eaten frequently.
- This should still be considered a break meal if you’re serious about healthy eating.
- There’s no benefit to a low carb pizza recipe if the rest of your day is filled with unhealthy food choices high in sugar and other simple carbs.
Low Carb Pizza Crust Recipe and Instructions
Pizza Crust Ingredients
|2 10oz bags||frozen riced cauliflower||24g||6g||0g|
|¾ cup||Shredded mozzarella cheese||6g||18g||18g|
|¼ cup||Grated Parmesan cheese||0g||12g||3g|
|2 tablespoons||Coconut flour||9g||3g||1.5g|
|½ teaspoon||Garlic powder|
|½ teaspoon||Onion powder|
|½ teaspoon||Dried Italian seasoning|
|Freshly ground black pepper|
|Thin Coat||Pizza sauce||7g||1g||1g|
|1 cup||Shredded mozzarella cheese||8g||24g||24g|
Low Carb Pizza Crust Instructions
Cook the riced cauliflower in the microwave for 2 minutes. Let cool. Once cool enough to handle, transfer cauliflower to a clean dish towel or cheesecloth. Squeeze out all excess moisture — make sure to do this until virtually no water comes out and the cauliflower is dry. This is very important to the success of the recipe!
2. Preheat the Oven
Preheat to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper.
Next, transfer cauliflower pulp to a large bowl and add in eggs, mozzarella, Parmesan, coconut flour, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasonings, and freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine and form a soft dough.
Place dough in the middle of the prepared pan and push out with your hands to form a 9-10 inch circle, with about ¼ inch dough thickness.
5. Bake Crust
Bake for 20 minutes until the crust is firm and slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven, then top with pizza sauce and cheese (or whatever other toppings you like).
6. Bake Pizza
Bake for 5-10 more minutes until the cheese is melted, then turn the broiler on for 1-2 minutes to get the cheese nice and golden brown and bubbly. Make sure to watch carefully!
7. Remove Pizza
Remove it from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting into 8 slices and serving. Serves 4, 2 slices each.
Will this pizza feed a family of four?
No, it’s ideal for 2-3 people. If there’s more in your family, you should double the recipe.
Does this recipe use a low carb pizza sauce?
Pizza sauce is fairly low in carbs and you don’t use a whole lot anyway. The pizza sauce in this recipe contributes 7 grams to the entire pizza.
Approximate nutritional information for this low carb pizza crust
Since we’re not working in a lab and able to use a calorimeter, I’ll calculate this based on the ingredients.
The totals for the whole pizza are approximately:
Keep in mind two things
- You’re not eating the whole pizza!
- The calories are high because we incorporated a lot of cheese
Okay, so how about one-quarter of the pizza as a meal with some veggies on the side?
The macronutrient breakdown looks more like:
That’s not too bad and keeps you within the appropriate number of carbohydrates if you’re on a ketogenic meal plan. Again, I would consider this a break meal with the benefit of not screwing up the plan.
If you’re following a keto diet, it’s important to monitor your carbohydrate intake (to state the obvious). This is especially true if you decide to partake in a pizza escapade.
Nonetheless, let’s review a little about carbohydrate metabolism.
The digestion of carbohydrates begins orally via alpha-amylase. Then passes the stomach to the small intestine where the complex carbohydrates are cleaved apart into simple carbohydrates.
Once they are cleaved into simple sugars (monosaccharides), they’re absorbed into the bloodstream. They then require insulin to enter the cells.
This need requires insulin for the job. As I mention often, when insulin levels are elevated, we don’t burn fat very efficiently. Nor will you remain in a ketogenic state if you’re on that path.
And of course, if you’re just trying to keep your carbohydrates low to keep insulin levels down, this recipe should suit you well.
Interested in more information about how your low carb pizza will be processed “internally?” Check out Carbohydrate Metabolism: The Secret To The Success Of Slow Carb Diets And Snacks.
Fat metabolism basics (a quick review)
Let’s do a quick review of fat metabolism. When we consume fats, we need bile salts to make it possible to break them down in our “aqueous” environment. Most of the digestion of fats occurs in the small intestine.
The next phase of fat digestion is beyond the scope of this article. But what’s not used is very easily stored as adipose tissue.
So how do we burn what’s stored?
Well, stored fat is not metabolized from subcutaneous fat. Instead, it’s taken from intramuscular fat stores. Think of the marbling in the meat. Once used, this marbling is then replaced by subcutaneous adipose tissue (the fat under your skin).
Just remember, if your calories are in excess and they are fat calories, it’s super easy to store them as fat.
You can learn more about when we burn the most fat in my article How To Lose Fat: When Does Your Body Burn The Most Fat?
Don’t “half-ass” the pizza
What do I mean by “half-ass?” There’s no need to buy all kinds of fancy gluten-free, low carbohydrate flour replacements. Very few exist anyway. A cauliflower pizza crust still has a similar flavor and mouthfeel as a wheat crust. And it’s not overpriced.
Not being overpriced is an important key point!
Regardless, from my perspective, there’s nothing half-assed about this pizza recipe.
What are safe toppings to add?
There are not a lot of selections that will increase the carbohydrates for this recipe. Here’s a list of the basics that won’t spike the carbs:
- Mushrooms of any variety
- Ground beef
- Black olives
- Sun-dried tomatoes
What toppings to avoid? The only one I can think of is pineapple. Anything fruit or starchy topping should be wiped from your thoughts as a potential topping.
Some things to keep in mind
Just because this is a “low carb” pizza, doesn’t mean it can’t be stored as fat. Overindulging in anything contributes to weight gain. As far as “healthy food” goes, this is not lean meat and a vegetable. Or if you’re a vegetarian, it’s not quinoa, black beans, a vegetable, and vinaigrette.
But, if this pizza happens to be a break meal, then you’re way ahead of the curve. This is seriously good pizza without crossing too far over the line. And if you’re ketogenic, eating half of the pizza will not knock you out of ketosis.
Also, a good amount of carbs are in the form of fiber. And, yes this does make a difference in how it affects us.
So, technically we can call this a keto pizza if we don’t eat more than half the pizza. I say that loosely because most individuals on a ketogenic meal plan consume small amounts of other carbohydrates throughout the day.
Oy! I still have a hard time combining the phrase ketogenic pizza! Nonetheless, it’s possible.
Regardless, let’s say you want this for lunch. Or a meal close to lunch. And you incorporate a side of green veggies (broccoli and balsamic vinaigrette). If you have one-quarter of the pizza with your broccoli and two glasses of water, you’re going to be absolutely fine.
It’s easy to knock yourself out of ketosis if you’re making poor decisions. And you really don’t want to go in and out of ketosis. It negates the purpose of getting there in the first place.
Regardless, if you’re not feeding someone else and you take one-quarter of this for one of your meals, it will last four days. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t get tired of pizza!
So, there you have it. You can have your pizza and keto too!
Again, if you’re curious about trying a ketogenic diet, you can learn more about it in my article How To Get Into Ketosis Fast And Staying There [Safely].
Just understand, a keto diet is not for everyone. It’s difficult, but if you’re seriously trying to lose weight, there’s real efficacy to this method for weight loss.
If you were to eat a little more than half of this pizza, you would be at the peak of your daily carbohydrate consumption to stay in ketosis. In other words, you’re still safe eating half the pizza. Of course, that’s if it’s the only source of carbohydrates you eat all day!
It’s my hope that you use this low carb pizza crust recipe for a break meal. It’s still calorically dense, so eating the whole thing negates the fact that it’s low carb. It’s way healthier than eating a normal pizza, but still a break meal if you’re serious about your health.
Regardless, we have a lot of options of foods to enjoy. And when you’re “jonesing” for a pizza, this really hits the spot!
Can you buy low carb pizza crust?
Yes, most grocery stores carry several versions of low carb pizza crusts. In my experience, they’re not inexpensive.
Who sells low carb pizza crust?
Again, almost all large chain grocery stores carry some form of low carb pizza crust. But look closely, their idea of low carb may be different than yours.
References & Resources
Groff, JL et al. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism, St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company, 1995.
A.E. Jeukendrup, Modulation of carbohydrate and fat utilization by diet, exercise and environment, Biochemical Society TransactionsDec 01, 2003,31(6)1270-1273.