In between the holidays, there are those few weeks where I tell myself that I have to be a well-behaved adult and eat healthier. After the Thanksgiving turkey and before the Christmas ham, I feel obligated to eat salads and cut back on the good stuff because I don’t want to gain TOO much weight between November and December. While I’ve been pretty disciplined about my daily carb intake, I generally have issues staying away from delicious fluffy carbs during the holiday season. The temptation to indulge in dishes like stuffing, mashed potatoes, coffee cakes, and pies are at an all-time high, and all the meanwhile, I still want to munch on my usual favorites like pizza. It’s a huge struggle to keep myself from overindulging during this time of year, but have no fear! If you’re struggling with this too, I’ve found a solution for one of these cravings: low carb pizza. Okay, I know what you’re thinking. “Jackie, no. Shut up about this low carb nonsense. Stop trying to ruin pizza.” It sounds weird, but I promise this will be a tasty substitute for the holiday season. Low carb pizza is actually a pretty decent pizza in general if you ever feel like having something a little lighter and not falling into a food coma after your meal.
This specific recipe I’m going to share is for breakfast pizza! I woke up one morning craving pizza for breakfast, but I also wanted to eat my usual bacon and eggs, so this recipe was born! While there are many different versions of a low carb pizza crust, I chose to use cauliflower crust for this pizza because it would fit best into my daily macros. I’m really into breakfast foods, so I wanted to use bacon, sausage, and eggs, and all together, they would be far too fatty and rich to combine with something like the super popular fathead dough. To maintain a good balance (because that was the whole goal here) for breakfast dish, I chose to use a cauliflower crust to make sure that my meal was low carb, high fat, but not too high in calories.
So what goes on a breakfast pizza, really? Basically everything you eat in a savory breakfast, but on a pizza crust! Typically topped with potatoes in some form (usually hash browns), bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, and tomatoes or peppers, my breakfast pizza included many of these classic ingredients with a saucy twist. I started with the cauliflower crust and wanted to add a sauce for my base, but the typical brushed-on extra virgin olive oil or butter both seemed too simple. After digging through the fridge, I found that I had a bunch of garlic chives sitting around that I needed to use before they perished, so I made a garlic chive pistou to add a garlicky kick to this pizza. After the pistou was spread onto the cauliflower crust, I added thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes (because who doesn’t love garlicky potatoes?!) and the rest of the regular breakfast-type toppings: bacon, sausage, onions (my breath was GREAT after this!), jalapeños, and a fresh egg. I picked these ingredients because I had them laying around in the fridge, but you can make this breakfast pizza with basically any breakfast food item you want. You really can’t go wrong when you’re eating these toppings atop a layer of melted cheese.
Notes for this recipe! First off, what the heck is a pistou? “Don’t you mean pesto, Jackie?” No, I mean pistou! A pistou is a French version of pesto that omits pine nuts! The pistou you’ll be making for this dish has garlic chives, a small clove of garlic, Italian parsley, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. The amount made in recipe ends up being about 1/4 cup, so you can store the leftovers in a glass jar. People say fresh homemade pesto generally keeps in the fridge for a week and a few months in the freezer. Something I’ve learned though is if you keep your pesto (or pistou, in this case) under a layer of olive oil (as in, cover the herbs completely submerged in oil) you can keep it in the fridge for quite some time. The idea is that the oil keeps the herbs from oxidizing and away from bacteria (because no air!), and thus keeps the pesto/pistou from going bad.
Slice your potatoes thinly! The pizza doesn’t cook for very long in the oven so if your potato slices are too thick, you’ll be eating raw potatoes. My slices were about 1/16″ thick.
If you don’t like runny eggs, you can add scrambled eggs instead.
Ideally, you are cooking this pizza on a cast iron griddle. If you don’t have one, a small lined sheet pan should also work! The original recipe for this crust is from Damn Delicious, and she uses a sheet pan in her recipe. I personally prefer cast iron skillets/griddles because they can hold a lot of heat, which in turn helps cook the crust to a nice crisp.
Speaking of crusts, cauliflower rice is key to this! I used fresh cauliflower for this but I’m sure frozen cauliflower would work fine as well. Cauliflower was on sale at my grocery store, so it just made more sense to purchase the fresh head of cauliflower. If you’re making the cauliflower rice yourself, you just need to roughly chop up the cauliflower into pieces and blitz it in the food processor until the cauliflower looks like “grains” of rice. When you make this crust, it’s important to get the cauliflower as dry as possible because that’s what allows the crust to stick together and start to crisp up.
Depending on how low carb you are, you may or may not want to omit the potatoes. I was able to add a small potato in since it was fairly small (58g), and that fit into my macros (total carbs from potato = 10.2g).
All right, ready to make some pizza? Let’s do it!
Low Carb Breakfast Pizza
- 1 1/4 cup cauliflower, riced (I actually measured this by weight, 300g)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 2 slices of bacon, roughly chopped
- 2 breakfast sausages, sliced
- 2 tbsp chive-parsley pistou (or a store-bought regular pesto)
- 1 small Yukon gold potato, thinly sliced (58g)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup garlic chive jack cheese, shredded (plain mozzarella works too!)
- 1-2 slices red onion, quartered
- 1/4 red jalapeño, sliced (optional)
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley (optional)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup garlic chives
- 1 small garlic clove
- 2 tbsp Italian parsley
- 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
- pinch of salt
- Let’s make the cauliflower crust first! Preheat your oven to 425F. If you’re at high altitude like me, bump it up to 450F. Place your riced cauliflower in a shallow microwave-safe bowl for about 2 minutes on high. Stir the cauliflower, then microwave it again for about 1-2 minutes. The cauliflower should be soft and slightly translucent (instead of the solid white they were before). If they’re not, microwave them at 30-second intervals until soft. Once the cauliflower is soft, let it sit for 4-5 minutes to cool down.
- Place the cooked cauliflower in a cheese cloth or clean dish towel. Wrap the cauliflower up and squeeze out as much water out as possible! If the water is too hot, let the cauliflower sit for another minute or 2 before trying again so you don’t scald your hands.OPTIONAL STEP: After squeezing out as much water as possible, you can make it even drier by placing the cauliflower in a skillet on medium heat and evaporate more liquid. This took me another 5-6 minutes until the riced cauliflower got very dry and none of the cauliflower granules stuck together. Make sure to stir continuously while drying out the cauliflower to prevent the cauliflower from burning.
- Place prepared cauliflower into a bowl and add the egg, mozzarella, parmesan cheese, and onion powder. Mix well to combine.
- Add the cauliflower mixture onto a 10.5″ oiled cast iron griddle pan and spread the mixture out evenly to cover the pan. Alternatively, you can add the cauliflower mix onto a lined quarter baking sheet (mine is 12×9). Place into the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until cauliflower crust is a golden brown.
- While the crust bakes, let’s work on that pistou! Roughly chop your garlic chives and Italian parsley and add that to a food processor with the garlic clove. Pulse the herbs 2-3 times until you have a rough chop on the herbs. Then, add the cheese and salt and run the processor. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until completely combined. Once you’ve finished the pistou, scrape it into an airtight glass jar and set aside.
- Once your crust is baked, it’s time to put on all toppings! Pull your golden crust out of the oven and spread on 2 tbsp of garlic chive pistou. Add the sliced potatoes next, then the shredded cheese, breakfast meats, onions, and jalapeño slices (if using). Add the raw egg right in the middle. Place the topped pizza back into the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until your cheese is bubbly.
- Take your pizza out of the oven and cut it into slices. The egg yolk should still be runny, so it’ll make a nice sauce for your pizza. Serve immediately and enjoy!
And that’s it! Let me know if you’ve tried this and what your favorite breakfast pizza toppings are!