Super-Healthy, Super-Easy Cauliflower-Base Pizza

Cauliflower is amazing. When I was growing up it was the veg of dread. We typically got over-boiled cauliflower that was pretty tasteless. Occasionally we got cauliflower cheese, which is lovely (see my halogen oven roast pork post for a dead easy recipe). So imagine my surprise when I hear that cauliflower is becoming trendy; when people are talking about cauliflower couscous, cauliflower rice and even cauliflower pizza.

I was certainly sceptical but I was very wrong. Cauliflower can be an amazing low calorie, super-healthy substitute for couscous, rice and, most surprisingly of all, pizza base. You have to give it a try, it is awesome.

This pizza recipe serves two people and is perfect for a low calorie day as each serving was only 300 calories.

And don’t worry if you are not a cauliflower fan; keep the base nice and thin it and the pizza will not actually taste of cauliflower.

Right, first the ingredients:

For the base
1 cauliflower, stripped of its leaves
1 large egg

For the sauce
400g tin if chopped tomatoes
Small handful of basil leaves chopped 
10 small green pitted olives chopped 
4 sundried tomatoes (most of the oil scraped off) chopped
A couple of cloves of garlic (or cheat and use a squirt of garlic puree like I did)
Ground black pepper

For the topping
125g ball of light mozzarella cubed
Small handful of basil leaves chopped

Now for the method:

I usually start by getting the sauce cooking. Put all of the ingredients except the black pepper in a saucepan and stir to mix. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 25 minutes stirring occasionally so that it does not stick to the pan or burn. It could not be easier. Just adjust the simmering time depending upon how wet or thick you like your sauce; the thicker it gets the more intense the flavour.

Whilst the sauce is simmering you can make the pizza base.

Break the cauliflower up into florets and blitz until it has a couscous-like consistency (see the photo below). You can use the stalks too.

Now break the egg into the blitzed cauliflower and mix thoroughly.

Place some baking parchment on your baking tray of choice and then spread your pizza base mix evenly across it. There are no rules regarding how thick the base is. The thicker it is the more cauliflower taste there will be in the final pizza.

Now cook the pizza base until slightly golden. I usually do it at 200degC in a fan oven for about 10 to 15 minutes (or 180degC in a halogen oven). The aim of this stage is principally to dry out and firm up the base but it also imparts a gentle nutty flavour.

Once ready take the base out of the oven. Now add black pepper to the sauce to taste (I add quite a bit personally to add a bit of heat).

Spread the sauce over your pizza base and top with the basil leaves and mozzarella cubes.

Now put back in the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes. Then, hey presto! A beautiful, super-tasty, super-healthy pizza.

Suggestions for modifying this recipe:

  • Let’s face it, this is a pizza so I don’t really need to tell you that you can modify it by using the topping of your choice. Just keep it low calorie if you are on a low day.
  • Even if you are not on a low day the base is lovely so you can just top it with your usual dirty topping so that you can enjoy your usual pizza taste sensation whilst consuming less calories and more veg.
  • The sauce is also infinitely modifiable. You can leave out the olives and sundried tomato for a really basic, even lower calorie sauce. You could add flavourings of your choice. Just keep them low calorie if you are on a low day. Herbs, spices and roasted peppers are good for this.
  • If you can’t eat tomatoes then try blitzing roasted red, yellow and orange bell peppers. Lovely.

Lose Weight the Dirty Diet Way

I found myself in a situation where I was heavier than I wanted to be but I could not motivate myself to do anything about it using any traditional diet or anything that had worked for me, albeit only ever temporarily, in the past. I had a number of issues…

  • My diet was pretty poor
  • I enjoy food and drink so damn much, I really believe it is one of life’s great pleasures
  • I was heavier than I had ever been and was beginning to look bigger than I was comfortable with
  • I have a job that requires long working hours and so I am usually tired all the time. I don’t know about you but when I am tired my will power to resist lovely dirty food and drink is almost non-existent

How was I meant to resolve all of these with a diet? I was at a bit of a loss for a while. All of the diets I was familiar with felt too rigid, too hard to maintain. I am a firm believer that you are much more likely to succeed with something like a diet if it is easy for you to do and, very importantly, easy to maintain in a manner that does not adversely impact the enjoyment of your life.

My wife suggested the Fast Diet. I looked into it and thought that the general philosophy was okay but, for me, trying to only consume 500 calories two days a week was just going way to far. Furthermore, the level of control required on the other five days meant that it would feel like you were dieting all the time…too much, too hard. However it did inspire me to develop my own diet that used some of the principles of the Fast Diet but in a way that would work for me. I call it The Dirty Diet because it does not stop you enjoying lovely dirty food and drink and even having blow out days.

Now I am not trying to claim here that no effort at all is required and yet you will lose weight. You do have to commit but I found this diet easy, really easy. So I thought I would share it. Have a look at the diet principles below, give it a try and see what you think. I would love to know if it works for you.


There are two clear and distinct stages to The Dirty Diet; Losing Weight and Weight Maintenance.

Losing Weight

Losing weight is the shorter term part of the diet. It is the stage where you get down to your target weight. In essence, like every other successful diet on the planet, the key to this stage is to consume less calories than you burn. For me, it is impossible to lose weight any other way. The success (especially long term success) of all diets is heavily influenced by the method you have to employ to achieve the goal of burning more calories than you consume.

The principal benefit of The Dirty Diet is the ease of achieving this goal and the ease of getting your mind in the right place. It worked for me because it only ever felt like I was dieting for one day; on every single “dieting day” I always knew that I could eat normally tomorrow. For me that made the whole thing very easy. I only had to summon the my dieting will power for one day at a time. If I craved something lovely and dirty during a “dieting day” I knew I only had to wait until tomorrow until I could have it.

The very simple Losing Weight principles are:

  • 2 Low Days – you should have two days each week where you seriously restrict your calories – set your target as low as you think you can manage – I set a target of 1,000 calories – don’t change your target, keep it consistent
  • Dirty Days are Okay – enjoy your food and drink on the other five days – do not give yourself a hard time for enjoying a lovely dirty burger or even for having a blow out day (although not every day can be a blow out day of course)
  • Know How Many Calories You Consume – keep a detailed food / calorie diary – to make it easy I used a Fitbit; its smartphone app has a large database of foods and their calories
  • Know How Many Calories You Burn – again a Fitbit or similar is good for this, there are loads of free smartphone apps that will monitor steps and calories burned whilst doing exercise and whilst not
  • Balance Your Calories – it doesn’t matter what happens on any given day; the important thing to achieve here is for you to have burned more calories than you consume during each full week

It’s as simple as that!

For best results you should aim for the five non-low days  to have the same number of calories consumed as burned. I do not mean that every day should achieve this, rather you should consider the five days as a whole (i.e. the total calories consumed over the five non-low days and the total calories burned over these days). It is this principle that allows for dirty blow out days because you can always adjust.

If you can achieve calorie parity over the five non-low days then this will leave the 2 low days as the principal driving force behind the weight loss. However don’t give yourself a hard time if you don’t quite achieve calorie parity during the five non-low days; you will still lose weight if you burn more calories than you consume over the whole week.

How you achieve the balance is up to you; if you eat more you need to burn more . I often chose this option and burned more by walking the dogs and jogging on the spot to get my step count up.

Weight Maintenance

This is the long term aspect of The Dirty Diet. However, you should not really consider this stage as a diet; once you have lost your weight this stage should be a way of life.

The only real principle for this stage is to keep doing one or two low days per week in order to keep on top of your weight. Whether it is one or two depends upon how dirty the other days of the week are.

That is it. Easy right?

During this stage (which is just how I live my life now) I do two low days a week (target is still 1,000 calories in these days) because I like to eat and drink on the other days. I don’t even count calories consumed or burned anymore.

All I do is check my weight every few weeks. So far so good. However, if you find that you have been a little too dirty and your weight is creeping up again then no problem, simply go back to the Losing Weight stage for a while.

And remember…HOLIDAYS ARE OKAY. My advice is…do not try dieting on holiday, enjoy yourself and just tweak any weight gain back down using the Losing Weight stage for a few weeks.

I truly hope that this works for you. It has for me. I lost one stone in nine weeks and have been following the Weight Maintenance stage ever since. It really is easy.

In future posts I will share some of the recipes and strategies I used during both stages as well as reviewing some of the foods I have enjoyed eating.

I would love to know if The Dirty Diet has worked for you. I would also love to answer any of your queries re the diet.

Thanks for reading😀